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names have power

i.

Samantha thinks of himself as Sammy and screams at pretty purple dresses.

Rob prefers to be called Robert, because it sounds more grown up. All his classmates laugh at him. Inside his backpack is his briefcase. Inside his briefcase is his lunch — peanut butter and jelly, a Capri-Sun juice pouch, and a note from his mother saying “Good luck in 1st grade.”

Z doesn’t have a name. All she has is an initial. Her teachers say she has an attitude problems, mainly because she refuses to look anyone in the eye.

ii.

Samantha is approached by a falling leaf while a tree trunk digs into his back. He watches the other boys wrestle and race. He used to try to join them, but they always laughed. “What are you doing? You’re a girl!” He has given up, instead staring at them with unblinking blue eyes.

“You’re so pretty Samantha,” the leaf whispers.

Samantha sighs.

“I don’t want to be pretty.”

Rob is approached by a piece of paper as he slurps his juice pouch. The paper lands itself on his knee. There are undecipherable scribbles and numbers. He laughs. This couldn’t be his handwriting, could it? Rob ignores the business stamp of a local accounting office in the corner.

“Why don’t you fill out the rest of the form Rob?” the paper asks.

“Will do.”

Z isn’t approached by anything or anyone. She just closes her eyes and dreams of faces and names, holding them close to her. Her teachers say she has a disability, that she obviously doesn’t connect to others well.

iii.

Sammy’s faster than the other boys for a month’s worth of recess, but then his heart falters in the middle of a race, unable to keep up. Sammy is buried in a pretty purple dress anyway.

Robert swallows another bit of his quiche, sliding his glasses down to the tip of his noses. He still cannot see anything. he writes in a few numbers, then realizes that this will be the 10th paper this week he will hand to to his boss blank. Robert is shocked by this fact. Robert is still shocked 2 years later: shocked at the grey of the sky and the cold of a re-purposed refrigerator box.

Z holds Sammy and Robert in her mind and sighs. She swallows their given names; they travel to her stomach. She carries their true names wrapped around her fingers, in order to remember them forever. Z walks away, laughing as her teachers scream for her to come back. Z doesn’t.



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LeighFreyre said...
Apr. 19, 2013 at 10:36 am:
okay, it is hard for me to express how wonderful this piece makes you. I have been wanting to write something exactly like this for years, but you executed it way better than i ever would have been able to. you literally inspire me. reading your stuff makes me want to try and be a better writer. I love everything about you, ur name, ur description of yourself thinhg, and all of your stuff is just so so so fantastic. I am obessed!!!!!!!!!
 
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