By Laura Moquin
My classmates couldn't believe I had missed the keg party last
Friday. "Last Friday I had an operation," was my reply. "I was
totally waiting for you to show up on crutches," I can still
remember the keg party hostess saying.
Everything was slipping away... missing a week of school left
me frustrated and confused. The boy I liked had moved on to
someone else. The cast was so huge and the metal bars inside my
toes throbbed. I was in pain, on medication, but kept a smile on
my face. I joked about my misfortune and counted the days until
I wouldn't be on crutches.
The worst part was that no one knew what actually happened.
My teachers, principle, class mates all assumed that I broke my
leg. It makes complete sense if one of your 16 year old students
shows up on Monday in a cast that you assume she broke her leg
and move on.
It felt different than when I had my fifth grade left foot
tendon transfer operation, where my eighteen other classmates
all knew there was something wrong with me. In high school, I
didn't have my mom telling my teachers exactly what was wrong.
This time, I didn't need my mom telling everyone my business.
When she asked if I spoke to my teachers, I lied. I almost told
a guidance counselor once, but I felt the tears building up in
my eyes and didn't want anyone at my high school to think that
Perfect Laura could cry. The Student Council President of her
class shouldn't be in the guidance office crying.
When asked directly I would explain that I had corrective
surgery on a foot problem, but as I mentioned earlier, most
people moved forward on their assumption. Truthfully, I reveled
in the fact that they all thought of me as normal enough to just
break my leg playing sports over the weekend.
I had so many flimsy cards stacked up that one was bound to
The first was my grades. I couldn't concentrate on school
anymore. I was simply so tired. The medication made me sleepy; I
put all my energy into getting through the day with a smile on
my face. My grades went down to B's and, I got a note about the
possibility of losing my full scholarship to my private school.
I needed to get my grades up. I was desperate. I tried but my
brain felt like a brick wall that repelled new information.
Perfect Laura, who could remember an entire chapter of text now
simply couldn't retain.