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a peaceful protest

I was 16, and the thought of being forced to mention God as part of the pledge of allegiance was too hypocritical an act for me to play along with. Each day of high school began with this mundane recitation, as most people just stood with their hand jutting from a hip, the other dangling across their chest as they counted out the seconds until they could sit back down. They leaned against desks, and talked through it about what party and where it would be, if there would be a keg or a bonfire in the woods. I recited the words, omitting the "under God" part as a sort of half-baked protest. I was raised to flaunt my family's ramshackle atheism, as a choice of smug pride. We knew better, was the prevailing logic.

But one day, I could not stand and say any of it. It felt so rote, so hollow, so devoid of choice. There was no law that said I was required to say it. I knew this was my right, a form of free speech. My homeroom teacher was a legendary drinker, a trash-talking re…

The First Night

She went from room to room, peering in, clicking all of the light switches on the walls. She opened drawers, and flushed the toilet. She made a quiet, funny face to me.

"Pop, I found some sponges." She said, opening a lower closet door and pointing at them.

We left our bags in a pile in the middle of the the floor and went out for sushi. She sat next to me, propping one elbow on my arm. We toasted, speaking in low voices as we watched the glittering holiday lights reflected in the giant windows.

"Can I see the mermaid horse when we go outside?" She asked me.

We bought chocolates and water and toilet paper and went upstairs. I turned on The Chordettes, and we danced to Lollipop and A Girl's Work is Never Done. We danced like we were airplanes, running from room to room. I threw her into her air, watching our reflections in a tall set of mirrors. We danced for hours. We made a necklace from purple thread, with yellow beads shaped like stars. She squeezed out a bottle of glitter glue across them, and on a leftover piece of furniture we had made into a low desk.

I made her a bed from a little couch that had been in the kitchen for some reason. Spreading out the fresh set of cartoon sheets, she jumped on them. "This is MY bed." She said, and I nodded a big yes. A set of shelves decorated the walls, with sliding glass fronts on them. She filled one of them with her dolls, and slid the glass closed, making a sort of museum exhibit.

She found a tiny heart-shaped pillow in one of them. It said "I love you." She gave it to me, laughing. I gave it back to her.

Comments

Stefanya said…
you are a great pop.

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