If I knew Them

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Her voice reminds me of something. It isn’t one of those voices that makes you want to scratch something, those voices that are too sweet and soft, kind of wretched. No hers cracks sometimes, and she’ll swallow, and then keep talking. She has small fingers and little nails that are painted, usually on Tuesdays. I watch her read. She has a funny face when she reads; I laugh when I look over and see her inclined hard, she will look up and ask me why I smile. I don’t tell her because I never laugh and I don’t want her to think she makes me laugh. She ate a poppy muffin sometime this morning. I can smell it. I wonder where the muffin went, because it doesn’t look like she swallowed it, her shirt is tightened around nothing.
I touch her stomach with just one finger. She looks at me. I laugh again, now she knows that she made me laugh. She asks me why I touched her. I tell her just because I needed something to do. I did need something to do. I could have thought of something else, but I picked this because t made her look at me. She breathes and the little lump I prodded rises like steam, and then deflates again; the pregnant bubble disappearing on each exhale of poppy air. I can picture the yellow muffin now, with little black flecks like rotting teeth broken off into snow. Her skirt is short and I can see her skin through the little holes in her tights. It is white and it hurts my eyes a little when I stare. I don’t stare, because then she’ll know she makes me stare. I wouldn’t like for her to know that she makes me stare.
She listens to music, and her foot taps without touching anything, I want to hear what she hears so that I can tap along with her. When she is finished with the song, she looks at me. I watch her do this.
“What time is it?” I can’t tell her because I don’t know. I wish I did. I never know the time. She looks over me to the girls across the seats. “What time is it?” They don’t know. I wish I did. So that I could tell her.
She fiddles with her shirt, she looks at her buttons, they are popped open at the top. I wish I knew that too. That space between her neck and her little toe. She asks the girl across the room weather the time is ten or eight thirty, they don’t know, and I can’t tell her either. She pushes the sleeves up on her white shirt; I can see all of the hills on her arms. I wish I knew them. I touch her hair and she doesn’t notice, because I do it secretly, when her head is on the desk.
Her name is Annie, and she knows mine, so there is no point in saying it because that as what my name was made for, just for her to know. She writes it on her paper. Her A is pretty and its sort of curved like its dripping. This wasn’t created for me to know. Her name wasn’t written to stay in my mind. I wish it were, because then I could say it as many times as I needed too. I usually don’t say her name, because then I remember that she exists, and I get nervous. And I mess things up. The bottom of the paper stays blank, with just that name on it and I think she is only breathing in. I can’t get any of her in the air because she isn’t exhaling poppy.
I think she has fainted in her chair with her head down again. She had, and I wake her up. She is glad that I did. I am glad she saw my face when she came back to life. Maybe my face is new to her now, maybe she won’t think of me the same way she usually does anymore. When she touches my fingers and says thanks for the good day I wish I were a god so that I could really take credit for what she thanks me for. I wish she would thank me for something else; she doesn’t. So I have to take credit for a day I didn’t create. She slips her watch into her back pack and I want to get it out and tell her the time. I know that the little clock doesn’t work.





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