The homework for my cousin’s son’s class was: ‘Draw five sea creatures’
My cousin showed it to me across the dining table with an expression on her face I couldn’t read. Her son was sitting in a chair next to her with only his head showing above the table. She got up, tightened her wrapper around her waist and went into the room.
She came back with a blank sheet of paper and a pen and started to write an angry letter to the teacher. She said, “Can you believe this nonsense? The boy is just three, he cannot name five sea creatures, you want him to draw them. That is how they just pack useless homework and give.”
She ranted about the standard of education, then expanded the complaint to include the decline of the country.
I took the workbook.
I drew a generic fish. I drew an octopus.
I drew a crab, then debated whether it was a sea creature since I only ever see them on the shore scurrying from the waves.
I erased the crab and scribbled a sea horse from memory.
I drew a dolphin (big fish with pointy head) and a whale (much bigger fish with flat head).
I reviewed the drawings, shook my head. The boy was looking at me with expectant eyes.
I got fresh paper and made a list of animals I could use instead.
– Squid (octopus with skinny legs and pointy head?)
– Lobster (too complicated)
– Shrimp (small lobster, just as complicated)
– Sea horse –> sea lion (Does this count as sea creature?)
– Sea anemone (what is this even?)
– Sea section (har-har, no. -_- Punfound.)
– Calamari (??)
I crumpled the paper. The boy was still staring. I stood up, picked up my bag. I said, “It’s getting late, I’m going home.”
My cousin looked at the clock, “But it’s just six.”
I didn’t look at her. I said, “I live far.”
In the middle of the night, I woke up to pee and texted her: “Turtle!”
She didn’t reply until the afternoon. “The teacher gave him four over ten on that assignment. He was crying. Thank you, uncle.”