Wednesday, June 10, 2020

It's Just That Age

Kaitlyn, who had just turned thirteen,
hated, in no particular order:
her mother;
her hair;
her best friend, Eileen,
who had betrayed her;
her crooked teeth;
the shape of her feet;
her history teacher;
Justin Smolensky
and all his friends;
and band practice.

when she’d slam
her bedroom door
and throw herself on her bed
and wish she had never been born,
strange things would start to happen.
She hadn’t lifted a finger that night,
but her full-length mirror cracked right in two.
Her mother accused her of lying
as she pled her innocence,
and she was grounded for a week.
The following week, her math textbook
spontaneously combusted, and she cried
because she’d totally get in trouble at school for it,
but Eileen found an old copy on Amazon to ship her,
so Kaitlyn forgave her.

Then that one time at school,
when Mr. Harris knew she didn’t know the answer,
but made her stand up and try to guess,
and she heard people start to giggle,
because it was supposed to be easy,
but she honestly didn’t know,
even though she had studied,
and it wasn’t fair,
and her hands started shaking,
and it was like a wave,
like a tsunami of this energy,
that built up somewhere in her belly
and rose up through her body
and just poured out of her,
straight at Mr. Harris,
and he collapsed then.
He fell right to the floor with a heart attack.
And Kaitlyn knew,
she knew,
that she had done it,
even though no one blamed her
because middle-aged teachers
sometimes have heart attacks,
and he survived, thank God,
and he returned to class a month later,
and she didn’t know if he knew,
but he never did that again,
picking on her, that is.
He never made eye contact with her again.

So Kaitlyn was a little scared of herself,
and even though she hated almost everyone,
she didn’t actually want to hurt anyone.
She begged her mother for homeschooling,
but her mother said,
“I don’t have time to mess with that,
and this is all just a phase anyway.
Things will get better in high school.”
She kissed her daughter absentmindedly
on the forehead before she left for work
and was almost immediately involved
in a car accident.
Just a fender-bender, though.
Nothing serious.

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