To this day, I sleep with one eye open

I attended Saipan Preschool and Daycare, an institution run by my aunt and uncle and held in a building adjacent to their home. Though my aunt and uncle were/are very loving, sweet people, the teachers were not. It was the Saipan version of Annie, only we weren�t waiting to be adopted by bald billionaires. What I remember most is naptime and the sight of small bodies on the floor like sticks.

A woman walked around the room with a thin pointer stick and tapped (sometimes whacked) our bottoms, announcing in a monotonous voice, �Sleep! Sleep! Sleep!� I don’t know what parenting method dictates beating a child to sleep, but that and the worst lullaby have remained in the African regions of my brain.

I envied those kids who actually did sleep and envied more those children whose parents picked them up early. I stared out the mesh screened windows willing each passing car to be my escape home.

I don’t remember how my father or mother arrived, but I imagine that when they appeared, I rocketed myself into their arms, each and every time.

(Tangent: The woman’s daughter once ate a yellow crayon. I remember how she held her daughter�s mouth in her hand to pry it open and there were yellow bits of wax stuck to her tongue and lodged between her teeth. I have seen [and consumed] many a strange food, but sometimes I wonder what made that little girl look at a crayola crayon and think, “Yum!”)

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