There was a board of gold stars next to each name in my kindergarten classroom. I got the star for the finger painting and for the public service when I helped Carlin get her bag to the top cubby. I got the star for being punctual and the star for reading a story to the class. I grew that year and as I did my shoes seemed smaller. I never could get the star for double knotting my laces. And I would try and I would practice, but I never did get the technique.
My teacher would do it for me. Right before recess, I would do the cross, the take-it-behind, the loop, the bunny ears, pull through, and then I’d freeze.
“This part’s the easiest,” she’d say and I’d say that no, that I saw what needed to happen but I just couldn’t get there.
And I would try and I would practice and again because by the end of the year, my shoes had gotten tighter, and I’d walk into that open field across the lot at recess, and I wouldn’t feel the sun on my face, nor see the shadow behind me. I wouldn’t see the grass in waves in the wind, nor feel my arms stretched out wide into the expanse.
All I had were shoes too tight around me and a knot I couldn’t get out.
And I try and I practice.