Prompt: I was wrongly accused of…
It was a regular day of school, I was minding my own business cracking on with my maths workbook or whatever. I was probably daydreaming away happily. I did that a lot. I still do.
My teacher is Mr W. and I’m around 7-8 years old.
All of us were a little scared of Mr W. He was the only male teacher at the school and to a seven year old he was an intimidating, bearded giant. He had a deep, booming voice and a habit of calling kids “sledge” when they did something dumb. I got called “sledge” a lot.
Anyway, I’m minding my own business when there’s a commotion in the class. The source is L.
I do not like L. She is an unbelievably girlie-girl who at this point still believes in fairies (and would clap her hands if someone said they didn’t).
When we played cricket in the yard and she was at the crease all the fielders would close in to about five feet away. We do not get on at all, I’m a typical boy and we have nothing in common. We also bicker a bit, and call each other names. If I knew the word at the time I’d have said she was my nemesis.
I look over and see L. has found a notes on the floor. Mr W. wanders over, wondering what new foolishness we tiny morons have come up with and takes the notes.
They are not nice notes.
They’re not terrible, but are nasty in a seven year old way. The only one I remember bore the legend:
“Sir is snobby”
I, like the rest of the class sit with puzzlement. Who wrote it? Who was stupid enough to leave it there?
Mr W asks who wrote it, meeting with silence.
Someone speaks up. I think it was L. but my memory on this is hazy.
It doesn’t matter.
What matters is someone is about to stitch me up.
“It looks like Chris Page’s writing, sir.”
Instantly around thirty pairs of eyes are on me, and my cheeks are beetroot red. Mr W. asks if I did it.
I say no. This is the truth.
He does the teacher move of pointing out that lying is wrong.
I say that I wasn’t lying. I wasn’t.
I have to stay in at break and Mr W. called in another teacher, probably to share the infantile hate he got as it was probably quite funny to him. The teacher is Mrs G. who is even more terrifying than Mr W. and even years later as a teen when I saw her in town I would be filled with dread.
They compare the note to my work, like a low budget CSI and there is some similarity. My handwriting
was is terrible so anyone who could do a reasonable impression of a drunk spider falling in ink and staggering over a page would be fairly close.
By this point I’m in tears. I’m seven years old and I’m missing playtime.
I cried when I got rows quite often at this age. I think as a mix of fear and discomfort, which led to tears. But this was different. I wasn’t crying because I was in trouble. In fact I was crying because of something I couldn’t articulate then.
It was so unfair, I was innocent and should have been out on the yard pretending to be the Ultimate Warrior or a Ghostbuster. I couldn’t protest my innocence with any clarity or logic.
I wish I could. I wish I could have said, “Yeah, it looks kinda like my writing, but not close enough to be conclusive. You’ve got nothing, W., there is definitely reasonable doubt here and I should go free!”
Mr W. has probably forgotten all about it, but if he does occasionally remember it I bet he still thinks it was me.
But it wasn’t! I didn’t say you were snobby!
It would be about seven years until I found out the truth. I don’t mean I spent seven years going over and over it like a JFK conspiracy nut, it just came up many years later.
I’m in comprehensive, and talking to L. Our feud is over- we’re in different classes and she’s stopped believing in fairies. We’re laughing and talking about primary and how it was ages ago and how much more grown up we are now.
And then L. drops a truth bomb of devastating power.
She wrote it!
She was the one who said Sir was snobby!
She’d deliberately made it look scruffy and like my writing.
I’d been framed.
I laughed, but inside I was burning. I wanted to drag her to Mr W. and get my pardon.
I may know who really did it, but I still feel the sting of being wrongly accused.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.