I have never been so ashamed in my life as that day in the fourth grade in primary school. I was one of the smartest and most hard-working schoolchildren in my group back then. My primary schoolteacher was a very prim and serious middle-aged short lady with strict eyes behind her shaded glasses. Her name was Ms. Lara and she would always wear those horrible spinster tweed suits. She sometimes seemed unfair to less bright children but she respected me and always set me as an example for those who were not so capable in reading and memorizing material as I was.
I remember very well it was a lunch break and it was coming to the close so most children were scampering about the classroom and making incredible amount of noise. It was a late autumn afternoon and the classroom was already heated. It smelt of canteen meat chops and that heavy odor that a lot of schoolchildren make while running around in a small place. I was not a very active child, so I spent the breaks at my desk revising something for a class or just reading a book. I was sitting at the desk right in front of the teachers table. I think I wanted to wipe the blackboard because Ms. Lara would often get angry if it was dirty. I came up to the blackboard but saw that the sponge was not there. I looked around and saw it on Ms. Laras table. The bell rang I rushed back to the table to take the sponge. When I was reaching for it I hastily hooked on to Ms. Laras glasses with my sleeve and the next thing I saw were the glasses lying on the floor completely cracked. My heart sank and I was just standing there for several seconds bug-eyed and sweating buckets until I pulled myself together and quickly picked the glasses up and put them in the same spot where they had been lying before. I looked around furtively but no one seemed to have noticed what had happened. I sat back at my desk and my heart was standing still at the very thought about what was going to happen next. I was imagining myself burning in hell, my parents called out to school and all the school wallpaper titles shouting An excellent pupil turns out to be a shameless glasses breaker. I knew that Ms. Lara would come in, see the cracked glassed and immediately understand it was me who had done it, since I was red-faced and shaking all over. My guilt must have been so obvious that I thought I would not even have to confess.
When Ms. Lara came in and saw what happened to her only pair of glasses, she did get mad. Just not to the extent I imagined it. She almost hit the roof. She was screaming and raging so hard that her saliva got in my face. When she roared furiously: Who did it? I just clung to my chair sides until my fingers whitened. I was repeating to myself that I should stand up and confess but my knees felt so weak and I seemed to be in a kind of speechless stupor. My body was sitting there but my mind got swept away with panic.
All of my classmates must have been frightened too. Nobody was saying anything just one girl, Angela, a notorious sneak, said that she saw me picking the glasses up. I thought my crime was revealed but it never even occurred to Ms. Lara that I could have done something so disgusting. She just asked me if the glasses had already been broken when I picked them up. I could only mutter Yes and wished the earth would swallow me up.
For some reason Ms Lara suspected Angela of the crime, as she was the only pupil who had something to say about the accident. Although Angela denied having touched the glasses at all, Ms. Lara stuck to her suspicion. I never had the courage to confess, it seemed too late. I planned to buy a new pair of glasses for Ms. Lara and just put onto her table but soon understood that this would hardly be possible as I neither had enough pocket money nor knew the type of glasses the teacher needed.
I do not know why nobody suspected me of breaking them. It was so obvious especially after Angela said she saw me picking them up and I did not deny it. Probably it was because I had always been an excellent pupil both in studies and in discipline. It was cowardly and week-spirited on my part and the memory of this will always bother me. I suppose this incident greatly affected my present acute need in honesty in everything. It is unbearably painful for me to tell lies and when it happens I suffer a lot. Now I prefer to suffer from the consequences of sometimes unnecessary truth rather than tell a convenient lie and live with it.
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