I sloshed back home with my purchase. Thankfully, my mother did not sniff the cologne. She merely commented on how lovely the little bottle was. She helped me find a box and wrap my gift. I went to my room, found a pencil and paper, and wrote the following poem:
Roses are red, Violets are blue,
Put this stuff on So we can stand you.
I did not sign it. I sealed it in an envelope and taped it to the gift.
Monday morning I left for school earlier than usual. When I arrived I went to my classroom. The door was open, but Miss Heacock was not in her room. Quickly and furtively I placed the gift under the Christmas tree. So far so good. By the time the school bell rang, Miss Heacock was playing Christmas carols on the phonograph, and more and more gifts were being placed under the tree. We became more excited about tomorrow's Christmas party as the day wore on. Miss Heacock carefully looked at each gift and checked off names in her roll book. On Tuesday our party was preceded by a semi-annual desk clean out. At last all of the papers had been removed, crayon boxes lined up neatly, and pencils sharpened and put away. I twas time for the party!
We drank punch from paper cups and ate cookies and candy canes, and then it was time to distribute gifts. AS we sat in our seats Miss Heacock selected a present from beneath the tree and called out, "Sandra." Sandra, somewhat embarrassed, walked to the front of the room and took her present back to her desk. She was unsure whether she should open it or not. "You may open it, Sandra," said Miss Heacock.
Several more presents were distributed before Miss Heacock called out, "Violet." Violet walked slowly to the front of the room. Miss Heacock extended her hand and delivered my gift. Violet, eyes glistening, walked back to her seat. I shifted in my seat so I could see her reaction. She placed the unopened gift on her desk and opened the envelope. Suddenly she began to quiver; a tear formed in the corner of her eye and ran down her cheek. Violet began to sob. She grabbed her present and ran from the room. Miss Heacock, reaching for a gift, did not see her go.
The enormity of what I had down sank home. Tears filled my eyes. There have been moments in my life when I wished I could back up ten minutes and correct errors I had made. This was on of those moments. I am sure my name was eventually called. I am sure I was given a gift. I remember nothing of this. I merely walled in guilt. Finally the party ended, and I walked home.
As Christmas vacation came to an end i began to realize I would have to face Violet when I went back to school. Even though I had not signed my name, I was certain she had figured out who had written that terrible poem. How could I face her? But like it or not, school began again. It began without Violet. Her seat was empty the next day and the next. Violet had moved.