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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

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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