Lily got a 4.0 grade point average her first trimester in middle school, Student of the Month award, two certificates, did a pirouette as she announced it, shook her hips, raised one foot over her head in a yoga pose where it looks like you’re bending the leg back like a bow (which I used to be able to do)—but Charlotte only looked on in mild disgust, went back to her dinner: and through all our clapping and acknowledgement we tried to bring her into the fold and recognize her too, but she saw right through it.
I wrote more in my head, which is best done lying on one’s side gripping a pillow, when the outside has gone gray and charmless and there’s nothing left to do but reconcile your sad, pathetic self, that apple core gummed down to its brown, mushy remains, that wasn’t very sweet from the start.
I imagined it’s like figure skating (writing in your head): perfect in form, all that twirling and fanning of the ice, but when you go back to it, all that’s left on the surface is scratches.
Lily’s principal sent an email about something that happened at school that sounded bad, but got polished up with key messages and talking points: Lily explained over second period lunch two boys got in a fight, one punched the other and broke his nose: and when the janitor tried to break it up that same boy punched him and went off running, and another teacher tried to grab him but couldn’t, and only pulled his shirt off, and there was blood everywhere and the boy got suspended for a month: and Dawn and I looked at each other, both of us thinking the same thing, worried what might happen when he comes back.
And though Lily was sick she insisted on going to the sixth grade dance so we dropped her and two friends off, watched them as we pulled away, our world cleft off from theirs: but then an hour later got a call asking if we could pick them back up, they were feeling “awkward,” which I thought funny and ironic: how could they feel otherwise? They’re like creatures from a wildlife program gathering in some ritual on a meadow or beach that none of them understand anything about but instinct draws them back in thousands blinking, fumbling over themselves, only their hormones and friends to guide them.
Charlotte stayed back at my mother-in-law Beth’s to help her finish her protest signs, and now Beth, Dawn and Lily are assembling to get on a charter bus into the city to meet at Judkins Park and march along an unannounced route to the Seattle Center, Lily’s first protest march, which she’s told other kids about at school, and they all say it sounds cool, but they’re worried about violence from what they saw on the news, and Dawn said you can’t live like that, in fear.
My new phone is so fast I can delete emails like popping balloons, they just vaporize, but I’m in the habit of checking it for work messages and acting on them as soon as they come in regardless of the time or day, and at last, in 2017, I’ve embraced mobility and what it means for work: but there are no borders anymore, you have to create your own, all the walls are fake.