he was one of those dick-faced kids in shades of bright polyester salmon who seemed to always be laughing or looking at me. an ambiguous-named, feminine-famed all-school american douchebag in those quality leather sandals in the wintertime and golf-green shorts.
ta give you some background i'm about as far away on the social scale from him as one can get. you know how all the little groups overlap and flap together, pushed around in the wet sand like wave-rivulets blending little facets of stones together until it makes a dune? well our groups---they didn't even touch. i mean you could go from pop-jock to lacrosse to dipper to weed-dealer to hipster to artsy kid to photographer to theatre kid and MAYBE just MAYBE make a weak little chain like one o em shitty-ass jump rings that connect dollar-store lockets. but anyway the point i'm trying to make is we sit on opposite sides of the room and let sociology take its toll.
of course murphy's law works in that i never know anyone. is it that i'm too far off or too much there? i never know. can't be smart in school i'm a nerd, can't be smart in life i'm a prude. can't be dumb because my specific levels of hotness and craziness are not in the correct implements of measuring. so i do what i do. i draw and i write poems in the margins and generally people leave me well enough alone.
kinda like people can smell it on me, they know i'm a writer and an artist and a vegetarian and like pirahnas they've got this queer ability to sense i like cats and being alone. when we're in groups we all size each other up and decide on our methods of survival and likelihood to find a match and like magic they all search out the eyes under the sweep of hiding-hair. so i doodle some halfass mitosis diagram or a president's head or holden's hat; whatever.
so back to the dick. we were playing this game with drawing i guess so i drew first---a clown. i gave him a big rubber nose and kidney-bean feet and popcorn stitching on his jacket and it was a sad damn excuse even for a clown. a bad excuse, even for a caricature of a person. but dick just looked at me and goes 'wow, that's so much better than i could ever do.' and outside i went aw shucks but inside i breathed i know.
so it continues on like this for weeks. months and no one knows my name. not even mrs. teacher who though i continuously ace her tests calls me sarah. the class is literally just a fishbowl filled with jocks who'd rather be mackin out or texting or sports, even though they're pretty much doing all those already. i sit in a corner and doodle self-righteously. sometimes i spout words about nietzche and marx and they are technically correct (though who even knows how much of history is even correct anymore and how much is a story).
we get a stupid assignment to draw the life cycle of a person. of course mine is fuckin hilarious. filled with dry wit and cynicism on death because what are you supposed to draw? a little sarcasm sprinkled over the truth sucks all the fat away, leaving something that's still true but sounds fake. it makes people feel comfortable in their uncomfortableness, in their awkward skins. i get eleven points out of the ten given and look over to dick, sitting in his khaki beach shorts.
mrs. teacher knows dick's name.
'dick, you should show the class your art.'
i am expecting stick-figures. and maybe that's why we all suck so much and judge so hard---because stick-figures is all that we expect.
'he's such a great artist.'
and things i did not know showed on his paper---careful lines in sharpie and orange and green and purple. not a thing i would have done. something careful and beautiful and unlike the things i have seen.
we never want to find people fleshed out that we already wrote stories for in ink.