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Bean

Bored during nap time, the narrator begins playing with a bean

It was nap time, and the lights were out. I was four years old, and in preschool. As always, I couldn’t sleep. I thought to myself: Why can’t the people who can’t sleep go into a separate room and play?

After a while I felt like I was in a box, and I had to move. As I slowly got up and turned around, I saw a box with beans. As I put my hand in the box, I thought of all the wonderful possibilities of things you could do with a bean. I was going to be the next queen, and I would tell my friends when nap time was over.

When I grabbed one bean out of the box, the bean was as smooth as my mom’s purse. I kept touching the bean, and then I started poking the bean against my skin. The bean seemed even smoother like that. The bean touched my ear. I kept sliding the bean inside my ear. Then, by accident, I let go of the bean.

The bean was inside my ear. I had a slight moment of panic, as if everything had depended on me but I had failed. Then I noticed I could probably take the bean out very easily. I had confidence now. I tried to get the bean out. But my fingers were too big to get it out. I kept on trying but the bean just went further in my ear until finally I gave up. I couldn’t get the bean out.

For the rest of the day, I tried to forget that I had a bean in my ear. Occasionally my ear would hurt; I knew it was the bean, and that it was still in my ear, but I was hoping it would come out on its own. Whenever I lost something, and I couldn’t find it, my parents always said to wait and let it appear. I hoped waiting was good in this situation. I thought it would be cool when the bean just popped out of my ear.

Once my dad came and picked me up, I was pretty sure he knew my ear hurt. My dad was trying to get me to say what was wrong. “Te duele algo?” Does anything hurt? His voice was a sweet voice, but I kept telling myself just to wait. The bean had to come out.

Then I said, as if nothing was happening, “No.”

The whole fifteen-minute car ride seemed like an hour. Then when we got home, I finally let go of the idea of waiting for the bean to fall out. It was like choosing a multiple-choice answer. I chose to tell my dad that my ear hurt, and only that my ear hurt. I didn’t tell him that I had put a bean in my ear at nap time.

I was about to throw a fit when I remembered, It is my fault and no one else’s that I have a bean in my ear.

That same day, we went to the doctor’s office to examine me. Finally, when it was my turn, the nurse checked my ear. She lifted her eyebrows as she said, “There is a bean in there.”

She hesitated, concern in her face. “You have to go to the foreign object removal clinic.”

What a long name, I thought. When we were done with the appointment, my dad got an appointment scheduled at the foreign object removal clinic. My ear was hurting, and more intensely. Soon they would get it out, I told myself.

Then the lady scheduling the appointment said, “Sorry, we can only get an appointment for Thursday.” I thought to myself, But today’s Tuesday.

“Is Thursday okay?”

My dad said, “Yes.”

My ear was hurting so bad. I needed the bean out of my ear, and soon. I didn’t want to imagine what would happen. I was about to throw a fit when I remembered, It is my fault and no one else’s that I have a bean in my ear.

Two days had passed—well, not two whole days—but it was Thursday, and today I was going to get the bean out of my ear. My dad and I were waiting until we got called. I could feel the cool breeze of the air conditioning and the clean air that was filtering through. I started getting nervous. I was realizing the bean was deep and it might hurt a lot when they took the bean out, but hopefully it would be quick.

I was lying down on the chair where they were going to get the bean out, and I really felt restless; I wanted to move, but there was something preventing me. I didn’t know what it was. I wasn’t very sure when they were going to take the bean out. It wasn’t very clear, but then I felt a second of so much pain, probably the worst pain I have ever experienced.

When we got out of the room, we saw a girl: not any girl, but a girl with a plant growing in her ear. The surgeons couldn’t take it out, and so she had to go to real plastic surgery.

Later my parents asked me how I’d gotten a bean in my ear. I said that my friends and I had been playing doctor and I was the patient. The bean was medicine they prescribed for my ear but then it got stuck.

I told my parents the truth when I was older.

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