I was eight and a half, and I was mad. I had just woken up, my sister and my mom were gone and now I had to go to school. They had left early, so as not to trigger my rage, but I wanted to be awake when they were getting ready, so I could protest and be Very Upset about being left out of Bring Your Daughter To Work Day. My sister was ten, so she could go. I was deemed too young. I was sulky the whole day.
I got home from school after 3pm and stormed around some more. My grandmother handed me the phone: “It’s mummy!” She tried to look excited. I was still upset at my mom because she couldn’t change company policy on bringing small children to work, but I decided to talk to her anyway.
“So,” I said casually, “what are you doing?”
“Just filing things. It’s boring,” she said.
“What are all the other kids doing?” I couldn’t help but ask.
“Not much. They’re just eating pizza.” Another pause. “And watching a movie.”
I could sense her hesitation, so I decided to push further. “What movie?”
A longer pause. “What are you doing?” she said quickly. “Do you have homework?”
“Mom! What movie?!” Now I was frantic.
She sighed, delivering the final blow. “Space Jam.”
I was broken. Torn. Devastated. Things would never be the same. How could she do this to me?
“Moooooooom!” My grandmother looked at me, startled by this outburst. “That’s not faaaaair! She doesn’t even LIKE basketball!” I was automatically mad at my sister for being ten, mad at my mom for refusing to change company policy, mad at my dad for allowing all of this to happen to me and mad at my grandparents for not stopping my parents from allowing this injustice to occur. I knew I was mad at God and Santa, too, but I couldn’t quite explain why.
By the time they got home, I had gone through the entire eight years of my life, trying to understand what I had done wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. I fell asleep questioning the very existence of human compassion and dissecting the concept of karma.
The next day at school, our class got to make peanut butter from scratch and I forgot all about Space Jam.
Two years later, I got to go to Bring Your Daughter To Work Day. I wore my best dress and we got to work at a desk and eat pizza. It was pretty cool, I guess.