It is human nature to disobey. Refusing to follow orders is treason, but refusing to follow one’s ideology is treason all the same. The measure of a man is not whether he is disloyal, but to whom.
“Stop stalling and eat your zucchini.”
Oh, Mama. If only you knew why I can’t.
“What would you like to drink, sweetie?”
“I’m sorry, honey, which one?”
“We have apple or cranberry.”
The lunch lady hands me a cranberry juice box and I step aside. There is no straw attached to the box, only a pair of cardboard scars. Before I can say anything she has moved on to the next child.
I open a new pack of crayons. Twenty-four of them, arranged in an elegant spectrum and molded into perfect parallel points. I hesitate for a moment before shaking them out of their complacency into a disarrayed rolling pile on my desk. You don’t use the crayons because you want to destroy them. You use the crayons because you are a colorer. After all, if you love and respect them, it is no sin to use them. Or is it more?
“For show and tell, I brought this packet of cigarettes. Funny how anyone can ascribe such value to a material thing. Me and the boys used to trade these all the time for money, rations, chocolate too. They were a currency, a currency of security and consistency. These little bastards got me into the front lines of the battle and they kept me there.”
I empty the contents of the cardboard box and crush them into the linoleum tiles with the heel of my light-up Sketchers.
“War is hell.”