When I was 12 we lived in Germany for a year.
I attended a German all-boy's school.
One day a boy brought a stink bomb to class.
It was a little glass vial with a thin membrane.
He showed it off when the teacher left the room.
He dared me to activate it.
When the teacher came back he was livid.
Everyone betrayed me.
The next day I decided to skip school.
I found my sister sitting by a fountain.
I was glad to see her.
Why aren't you in school? I asked.
She asked, Why aren't you in school?
We spent the day walking around town.
We walked into the Kaufhaus and bought an umbrella.
We rode the escalators all the way up and down.
We bought ourselves brÖtchens and milk.
We bought stamps in the stamp store.
Nobody asked where our parents were.
We were no one's responsibility.
We spoke a little German.
Hello and Excuse me, feeling grown up.
We never went back to school.
Our schools thought we had returned to America.
Everyday, for months, we met at the fountain.
Our family eventually returned to America.
We told our parents years later.
My father said, I had no idea you were unhappy.