Crowds gather before the silver gate, surrounded on one side by a little jungle of bushes and a small brick wall on the other. Slowly, family progressions are lead by five, six or sometimes seven year olds to the scene; all dressed in superfine clothes, colourful or simple black-and-white. Bright faces compete with the sunshine enlightening the celebration from a cloudless sky, while eager relatives capture each moment with their flashing cameras or focus their camcorders relentlessly on the little ones.
I’m wearing beige trousers and a multicoloured shirt. Today, I got a lion-king backpack and a huge cornet of cardboard like everybody. It is bigger than I am. I am curious what I will find in there. The top shows yummy Haribos and a video. I also see a rubber and felt-tip pens, but there must be lots more hidden under that.
Suddenly, all the people start walking through the gateway. I look up to mummy; she smiles and pushes me forward. I stay close to her, because I can’t see where we are going. Then we enter a big door and inside are many rows with chairs. Daddy films me all the time and then someone takes my carnet and a nice woman brings me to the front, where other children with backpacks are already sitting.
There is also a stage. Some pupils start singing songs. I don’t really know what they are talking about, but I like the songs. I can even sing along sometimes. We all are laughing and shouting very loud and when they are finished, I clap as hard as I can. After that, somebody says hello on the stage and tells us that she is our teacher. Her name is Mrs. Kabbe and she is fat and has white hair and wears square glasses, but her old smile is very, very friendly. I like her.
Now I’m afraid. We shall all go to the microphone and say our names. I don’t wanna do that. Where’s mummy? The first new pupils next to me have already said their names. I don’t remember one of them. A boy with very short hair shouted into the micro and everybody laughs. I think his name was Paul. I don’t wanna have people laughing at me. Somebody calls my name. Mrs. Kabbe beckons me with her hand. She smiles widely, so I go to her and say my name on stage. But very quickly and then I hurry off again. My heart is still pounding.
After that, Mrs. Kabbe brings us to our classroom. All the people are watching us as we leave the gym. My mummy winks at me and daddy has his camcorder following us. I wonder where the room is. Is it big? There is a girl walking next to me. She also watches all the people. I think I saw her mummy. It is a huge woman; maybe she is a giant. Only the girl is not bigger than me; maybe she has a small daddy.
These people are all my fellow pupils. We will learn the alphabet and maths from Monday on together. I can’t wait. I want to learn so much. And then I can write and read. I want to know now how to write. Maybe Mrs. Kabbe will teach us writing today. I hope it doesn’t take too long, because me and my family are going to visit Phantasia-land today.
We all have to leave our shoes outside in the floor. The windows show our parents in the schoolyard. My auntie waves to greet me. Then we go inside, where three rows of tables watch the chalkboard. I go to the window and Mrs. Kabbe points at a seat next to a boy at the window. I hurry to the seat and say hello to my new friend. His name is Florian. He has black hair and his eyes are very small. Then we wait for all the others to take a seat. Mrs. Kabbe waits at the front, too. We don’t know what’s gonna happen. Mrs. Kabbe is smiling, so that makes me feel better. Still I jiggle with my legs; Florian hammers his fingers on the table.
Mrs. Kabbe started talking to us. I do not remember anything of what she told us. I think we were introduced to our after-school care leader, after which we got to know some interesting things. Much more striking was probably the event afterwards, Phantasia-land. Although I do not remember much, one memory burned into my consciousness and will certainly never disappear, like a scar clinging to my skin.
Scratching my back has been an issue for some weird reason, which made me go to my parents quite often, so they could relieve me from my discomfort. Well, apparently, they thought it was annoying, so they bought me this hand-imitation, a coloured stick with a white plastic hand at this theme park. I carried it around all day, pride as a foal. It would not have been me, if I had not taken the first chance, when we all took a short rest on a bench next to the sidewalk, to put the scratch-hand aside and letting myself be distracted by a series of events. Once I recognized it was gone, we searched the whole park for it, even at the bench; of course, it was long gone by then and I regret that till today. The only good think about that was that three or four years later, I got a replacement in form of a real Hawaiian cocktail stick, which I still have today. It got lost once or twice in my room, but weird as it is, it is the only precious thing that ever reappeared after it got lost.