She had been strapped to the chair for hours. Sweat dripped from her forehead, and she fought with all she had not to wet herself where she sat.
What was supposed to be normal “testing” had turned into hours of interrogation, something that felt like eternity to the young girl of 8.
A man in a white coat sneered at her and glared through his thick glasses. He clicked his pen and started writing. She craned her neck to get a view of the clear sky outside.
Not a cloud in sight, a beautiful and warm June afternoon from what she could tell. How she wished she could go outside and play!
“What do you see, Jane?” The man in the coat asked. “What color do you see?”
She hesitated. They had been through this all day. She knew the right answer, but she couldn’t help telling him what she saw.
“I…I don’t know…”
He took a step forward and raised his voice. “Yes, you do,” he shouted. “What color is the sky, Jane? Tell me!”
Tears filled her eyes and fell, stinging her face as they washed over the cuts on her cheeks. Her voice quaked as she responded. “Blue.”
The man in the white coat slapped her hard across the face and continued shouting. “What’s the matter with you? Everyone knows that’s red! Everyone knows! Why do you have to be so stupid?”
“Davey,” the man said as he turned to a boy sitting in a chair about five feet away. “What color is the sky?”
Davey smiled and gave the young girl a triumphant look. “Red,” he said without hesitation.
“See! Even Davey knows what color the sky really is, and he’s younger than you!”
Jane broke down in tears.
“Enough,” the man thundered and unfastened her restraints. “Just get out of here and go home!”
She dropped to the floor as she wept. “I’m sorry! I’m just so sorry!”
The man in the coat refused to look her in the eyes.
“Please,” Jane said and sobbed. She grabbed the hem of his coat and looked up at him with pleading eyes. “I’ll do whatever you say! I was just kidding.
I know the sky is red! Please believe me! I just want to be normal!”
Finally he looked down at the weeping little girl. His eyes contained no compassion or sympathy. “You should have never been born. You were a mistake.
” He turned and left the room and motioned for Davey to follow him, leaving Jane alone, bruised worse in her heart than on her body.
She wept there for several minutes, broken-hearted, lost, lonely, and still convinced she was right.
A teacher from her second grade class had told her the truth once about the sky, something she knew all along.
“I’m sorry, Daddy,” she said through her tears. “I’ll do better tomorrow.”