“I don’t think I want to go to high school,” I finally confess to my mother as we sit at the kitchen table two nights before school starts. She’s in a pretty good mood, so it seems like the right time to bring it up.
My mother stubs out an L&M 100 in the hubcap-sized ashtray we keep in the kitchen. I make a note that it’s due to be emptied. She looks at me, exhaling the last pull of smoke almost away from me, but not really. “Excuse me, what did you say?”
- Michael Zadoorian, Beautiful Music
At school, I master the art of not being seen. Even though I’m not so tall and slightly wide, I’m very good at working my way through all the different kids in the hallways without making any contact. While I’m weaving through the halls, the other kids are only blurs to me — white blurs, black blurs (more every day), pretty blurs who see right through me, smart blurs who I work the hardest to avoid. I bend my body, weave and wiggle between them, like walking between raindrops, taking care to never touch or look at anyone. If I brush anyone at all, that’s a point against me in my head. Touching or being seen also makes me more vulnerable to the mean blurs who torment kids like me. That’s why it’s best to keep moving. The faster I walk, the less they see of me. I’m a bat, flying low through the halls, using my sonar to find the spaces between the other kids….
That people do bad things. They beat you up. They say horrible mean words to each other, even when there doesn’t seem to be much difference between them. That dads don’t wake up and moms stop taking care of you and start going crazy. That nothing is going to turn out like you think.