My Auntie Lyd used to buy the best presents.

She always knew what I loved. One year, I don’t remember if it was for Christmas or my birthday, but her and Uncle Kel bought me an art set.  It was incredible, especially to a 12 year old me who loved anything crafty.

Upon releasing the small snap along the side, the black plastic case opened up like a book.  Held within its plastic molding was an exciting rainbow of art supplies. A watercolour palette with bubblegum colours and a long row of pencil crayons taking you through every shade and tint.  There were pastels, crayons, and a huge section of markers.  A small clear ruler. A good white eraser. A pencil sharpener and little pair of scissors. I adored it.

Someone else in my class must have known that I did too.  Kids can be so mean.

I was in grade 7.  My teacher was Mr. Ahrens.  We sat in long rows facing the chalkboard; a Canadian flag and a picture of the Queen hung above the classroom door on the right.  My desk was in the middle of the room. I remember pulling my art set from my desk to work on a project. Upon opening it, I found that someone had poured thick, white glue all over the inside.  My precious art materials were ruined.

I remember quietly closing the case and slipping it back into the belly of my desk.  I didn’t want to draw attention or react in any way. I wasn’t sure who was sitting nearby, looking for the reaction they wanted.  I didn’t cry, not there anyways.

My Auntie Lyd used to buy the best presents.