“I have eyes in the back of my head,” my kindergarten teacher warned us as we walked single file behind her, an assortment of little ducks, to the water fountain.
I took this literally. Where are the eyes? I wondered, squinting to study the head I did not yet know I needed glasses to see clearly. I assumed the vantage point for this second set of eyes must be less than ideal, obscured by the short bob haircut stopping just above the nape of her neck. Unless these eyes could see through the hair? I closed mine then, double checking that I would not suddenly realize I had access to an extra pair myself. Nope. So do all grown ups have eyes in the backs of their heads, or was this something specifically developed when one becomes a kindergarten teacher? It couldn’t be that only this kindergarten teacher had them, could it?
I pondered these great mysteries while waiting my turn to take a drink. When it came, I stuck my face into the horseshoe-shaped stream and sipped. A nagging doubt entered my brain and started tickling it with the kind of feather that all doubts carry with them. I swatted at the feather but the doubt smiled and danced to the other side of my head to continue its pestering.
What if she doesn’t have eyes in the back of her head? What if she’s lying? Grown ups lie sometimes. Would she?
I turned my gaze surreptitiously in her direction and found that her back was to me, looking off towards the playground and away from her class, right hand acting as a visor against the sun. Then, I took a huge gulp, bulging cheeks, did a quick about-face before I could think better of it, and spit a surprisingly generous amount of water on the little girl standing behind me in line.
Her face, dripping, stared at me in wide-eyed shock.
I glanced again towards the teacher and (ah hah!) she did not immediately whip around in outrage. Until of course the sopping girl started to cry and the entire line of little ducks erupted into chaos, tattling on me in shrill unison for my, um, episode.
The teacher snarled. I got in an immense amount of trouble. My mother was called. I said sorry to the girl, and I meant it.
But then I knew for sure. There were no eyes in the back of that head.