August 28, 2020:

After the first year, my mother gave permission for me to withdraw.

She saw the change in me. Radical change. Where before the gifted program I'd loved school, now I was "sick" two or three days a week. She invented the wrong explanation — she thought I was hypochondriac when in truth I was lying. It makes no practical difference to her decision. The program which the authorities had promised her would be good for me had caused me unmistakable harm. She felt for me, she realized she'd made a mistake by forcing me to go, and bless her heart, she said so.

This time she left the decision to me. Perhaps she'd realized I'd been right to resist, and now surmised correctly I'd make a better decision than she. Good call. I chose to stay. I remember her being quite shocked by that. But I also remember her understanding my explanation. Which is to her credit.

I stayed because leaving would have been a defeat. I'd have carried it with me the rest of my life. I couldn't cut it there, with the smart kids. So I chose to remain two more years, until the end of grammar school, knowing plenty well it would be horrible, and I'd be miserable, and I'd continue lying my way out of it two or three days per week. But then I'd end the ordeal knowing that in my stubborn way I'd won a victory. And I knew that outcome would be better for me.

I did, though — importantly — explicitly — surround my little purgatory with a firm time box. I'd grit it out through sixth grade matriculation. That was the end. I was not continuing the program into middle school. Out and done, no matter what pressure comes. My mother agreed. That was the decision, and later for three years of junior high I told the authorities and the strangely affected gifted program teacher with her beret and small cigars to go collectively fuck themselves. Not in those words, naturally, although I'm sure the implication was clear.