My mother sent me to school with a note that I carried in my pocket but didn’t read. I knew it had something to do with the medicine that I was supposed to take before lunch. I felt everyday like I couldn’t swallow and that I might throw up. This happened each morning, right before lunch. At some point I started taking chewables with me, and I remember the flimsy plastic packaging and how thin it felt in my pocket. I’d chew up a tablet and wash it down with a low stream of cold water from the mouth of the drinking fountain, and then off to lunch I’d go. The tablets never helped. They tasted like rotten milk and left a terrible chalk coating on my tongue. I remember that first day I took my medicine, I was walking through the lunch line and I made it to the cafeteria window where they handed out meal trays. Two teachers were standing there, looking at a folded-up piece of paper. One of them was my teacher, and I remember her laughing until she turned around and saw me. Whatever the note my mother had written said, my teacher had shared it with another teacher, and they were laughing at the contents. I’m sure it described my upset stomach, maybe gas pains, and maybe asked her I could leave the classroom if I needed to use the restroom. When my teacher saw me, her smile disappeared in the laughter stopped. She was embarrassed for herself, not me. I can only imagine how she would feel now if she knew I remembered. I can only imagine what that note said. I wish I’d read it. I wish the anxiety wasn’t still here.
Before I go to bed, I take two pills. One for my blood, the other for my peace. Tiny, little white shapes. One a circle, the other and oval. I know not which does what, but when they run out, I dial the number on the bottle and refill the prescription. I listen to the automated voice, follow the prompts, punch in the prescription number, and in a few days they give me a brown-orange bottle at the drive-thru. I hand them a plastic square and then they hand it back. Tell me it’s all paid for. More peace, more health, for another month.