Reading

By , Colombo, Sri Lanka
“I can’t read.” I whispered. I begged. “Don’t make me. Please.”
My older sister, who is older than me but younger than my mother, screeched. “Shut up!” Her hair swishes around her face when she does that. (When she screeches.) It’s shoulder length and fuzzy like the filling inside a couch. It’s also layered. Even though, not long ago my sister’s hair used to be the thickest and most tangled up in my family tree. We called it a crow’s nest. A crow’s nest is the nest of a crow. I doubt I ever saw a nest of a crow, but back in my country, the telephone (and television) wires were black with wires. Black with crows, I mean.
I was born in my country. It was the “Pearl of the Indian Ocean”. It still is. Except for the trees the waterfalls the fields and the people who drank tea and laughed on the middle on the street and said “is-weet”, the war would have made it look like an overcooked hot-dog. An overcooked hot- dog and not a pearl.
A hot-dog… don’t you think they’re needless trouble? I mean, what if a poor immigrant went to the Humane society and asked for a hot dog?
The EMC (the newspaper that’s free) says that the Humane society is very humane. I wonder, do they take in stray elephants?
Elephants are the best! To think- they are such huge vegetarians! My friend recently reformed to a vegetarian. My friend wears square glasses with maroon and bronze tips.
My math teacher loves squares. And rectangles. He sees them in fairy tales, Holocaust stories, cubes, bald heads, bicycles, skeletons, squares…
Did Adolf Hitler ever know how the Holocaust would turn out? Maybe he lost track of it too. Who should I be sorry for, Adolf Hitler or the little boy sent to the gas chamber to find his mother? Should we be sorry? Don’t you wonder, how we turned out to be so enormously amazingly lucky?

Luck is a strange thing. Hair too. You know, there is a possibility, as some book I read long ago said, that there are infinitesimal sumo wrestlers at each of our hairs, standing on top of the skull, who take so much trouble to pull them down, because they are so infinitesimal, when we grow up- my grandmother’s hair, for instance, clearly grew into her head as the years passed.

From grade 6, when the English teachers assessed me, they said; “This student’s sentences length is such that by the time reading one sentence is finished- you shall need a dozen blood hounds, the FBI and a doctor to recover the meaning in the phrase. Needs immediate improvement, for my sake.”
Well…not really. They didn’t say that. My two best friends and me are expert exaggerators. Our theory is that we exaggerate so much because our personalities are so extremely boring. Not that we’re insulting each other by that theory or anything. See… there’s the evidence!
A usual, respected-by-the-clan 13-year- old would by now be talking about black skater shoes and the content in PG-17 music. (That is, of course, if something called “PG-17 music exists.”)
But still, what’s the point of black skater shoes and “PG-17”music and being emo and saying swear words and wearing extremely baggy clothes- just to be cool? The way I see it, they just feed other bigger problems.

A boy in my class wore very baggy pants. In gym we were all worried that they would fall down when he’s shooting the net. I tried to not look at him in gym.
Gym class was always our second period. Exhausted from French class, and dripping with coolness, most of the girls didn’t play. Instead they were cheerleaders and teased the players and quietly talked of gossip. On times when my friends and me weren’t playing, which was many times, and we were too empty of something to talk about, which wasn’t many times, we eavesdropped. Here’s what I gathered. : She’s going out with him, he dumped her, She is emo, He cut His wrists, He has weed, She’s going to egg some high schooler’s house, the new music is so cool…
So much news, all so common.
Shocking news is especially common. Michael Jackson dead (can you believe it?) 100 civilians dead 1000 deported 100 missing 100 soldiers bombed a woman raped every 17 seconds a child dying of AIDS per five seconds babies killed in mother’s arms holocausts of the 21’st century. Can you believe that? How could adults just be so STUPID?
But most of us are probably even stupider- we just keep saying STUPID stupidly. So how about if we press the ‘word’ button this millisecond and write a letter to a politician, saying we want to learn about global issues in the school curriculum. (Did you press the button?) Plus- how could it be so hard with this idolized computer that probably knows us more than we know ourselves. Scary!
Horror movies are horrific. I have had the misfortune of watching two. Well… maybe not exactly “misfortune”; they keep you from having to watch ants massacring the last sliver of sugar in the planet, and there would be no more money for any more sugar and your sugar-addicted self fells like massacring the ant. (Forgive me for the blabber) Anyways, what was I talking about? Oh yes. Horror movies. The horror movies I have watched are “The forgotten” and the second one… I don’t even want to say its name. Hint- it starts with “g” and ends with “e” and has six letters. (Got it?) If you are scared of dead pale women with long black hair and a croak and a killer mind, do not watch. Even if you aren’t scared-don’t watch it. The ------ is brutal. I for one now can’t even go on the elevator for 45 seconds now.
Aaaaaaaaaah! I love movies. My sister loves movies. She loves mascara (not allowed) lip stick (sometimes allowed) straightners (disapproved). She loves books.
That was the reason why she was screeching.

“Please don’t screech-” I begged. “I need my eardrums for the movies.”
“READ THIS TRANSLATED VERSION OF FYODOR DOSTOVESKY’S GREAT CLASSICAL MASTERPIECE. NOW! THEN ADVANCE TO”WINNIE THE POOH”!”
“I can’t read.” I whispered. I begged. “Don’t make me. Please.”
My older sister, who is older than me but younger than my mother, screeched. “Shut up!”





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