In the Clouds

April 18, 2008
I’ve always lived on a little street with a simple name that everyone spells wrong because it’s missing a letter. But there’s nothing interesting about my house. It’s really average. It’s not big or small. And the only ones that live here are me and my parents and my cat. No one can spell our last name either, but I don’t think anyone cares. I’m boring.
I know only a couple people in my neighborhood, and they live on the other side. One time my teacher told me to describe my neighbors, and I said, I don’t know them.
And she said, none of them?
And I said, yeah.
It would be more fitting to say I’ve always lived in the clouds.

& T-shirts

Even in first grade, the other kids dressed like they weren’t little any longer.
If you look in all the yearbooks, I’m always the only girl with a bow in my hair. I’m the only one wearing a jumper over a turtleneck shirt. And if you could see my bottom half, you’d see my white stockings and mary janes.
I wore jeans once and felt like I couldn’t move my legs.
I don’t want to shop at Limited Too, I tell my mother whenever she offers me more grown up clothes. Those are too plain, too boring. I want to look nicer than that. I don’t want to look like everyone else, I say, because I don’t like them.
And still, every time I look through the yearbooks, I feel like a freak. And I say, Why didn’t you just make me dress like everyone else in the first place, Mommy?
Because, Laura, you refused to.
If I had fit in from the start, maybe I wouldn’t hate them all so much. Maybe, somehow, I wouldn’t hate every little thing they do. Maybe jeans would seem comfortable, even.
But those are a lot of maybes.
I’m going to dress like a little girl for the rest of my life. You can keep your stiff jeans and wrinkled t-shirts.

Stick Girls

I am an ugly girl. I am the one no one wants to look at. My dirty blonde hair sticks out on the ends and I have crooked Hermione teeth and thick black glasses.
I could’ve fit in if I were one of the stick girls. The populars. My friends call them the wanna-bes, but I don’t know why, because they don’t wanna be. They already are.
But I never had a chance because you don’t become a stick girl, you’re born one. When a new girl comes, I can look at her or listen to her talk and I know she’s going to be one of them.

I call them the stick girls because they all have the same stick-straight hair and skinny stick bodies while I have these awkward hips I’m too young for. They all have the same voice that’s kind of a high-pitched drone, and when they read out loud in class, they giggle when they get to words they can’t understand. And their friends all giggle with them. And I don’t know why they think it’s cute that they’re stupid. And I also don’t know why they get better grades than I do when they’re so stupid.
I wish I were born one of them so badly.

Electric Socket Boy
& Me

I’m not as bad as you are, I say.
Yes, you are, he insists. Your name gets written on the board every day.
But you got sent to the principal, I argue. He stuck a paper clip in the electric socket, that’s why.
But that’s not getting checks, he says. You get in trouble more often.
He’s right, I guess. And it’s a bigger deal because I’m a girl. The other girls do what they’re told.
But I don’t make trouble on purpose. I can’t sit still. Teachers think I have ADD but my mom knows better. I always lose my pencils. My desk is like a black hole and it sucks up all my papers. If I ever find them again, they’re completely shredded. And I get my name on the board and two checks almost every day. I’d stop if it weren’t my personality.

Brittany, her name is on the board too, but there is only one check.
In the gym that day, I stepped on her vocabulary book. And she grabbed my skirt and pulled it down in front of everyone.
So I told the teacher, and now her name’s on the board underneath mine, and I have more checks than she does.
In my teacher’s book, I have more checks than everyone, including electric socket boy.
But I’ve never pantsed anyone.

The Guidance Lady

I always end up in the guidance office. Like today. I’m here because a boy scribbled all over my paper. He ruined it. I wrote neatly on that paper, and I never write neatly. It was really nice, and now it’s ruined.
It doesn’t matter, my teacher said.
And that’s why I’m here.
And the guidance lady is telling me the same exact thing. She’s telling me that I need to breathe. And I’m already breathing. And she’s telling me to count to ten. And I’m asking her how that will fix my paper. And she’s just saying to relax.
Relax, Laura. It’s just a paper. It doesn’t matter.
He scribbled on my paper, he scribbled on my paper....He. Scribbled. On. My. Paper.

And she just says, Maybe we can tape a post-it note to your desk to remind you to breathe and count to ten when these things happen.


I’m going to tell you a little secret. I’m not from planet Earth.
My ship was called the Star Shiner Two. It crashed on one of Neptune’s moons and that’s how I ended up here. Every year on my birthday, there’s a meteor shower. On August eleventh. It’s called the Leonids. And I go outside at four in the morning to wish on the eighth shooting star that I can go back to my home planet. It’s called Cellseyannah, and it’s in the galaxy of Andromeda. On my planet, I was really pretty. I had long blue and green hair with sparkles in it. The water was chocolate and had sparkles in it too. I also had magical powers. And I spoke another language. I have a notebook where I write some of the words I can remember.
I’m going to tell you another little secret. I could’ve fit in if I never told anyone all that.

Extra Credit

I’ve never gotten lower than an A-, my friend says.
She’s making me feel so stupid because I have gotten lower than an A-. I don’t do my work.
I’m trying to read all the books in the classroom. I don’t have time to do my work. When I actually do it, I do a bad job because I do it quickly. All I want to do is read. But no one cares. They care that my grades aren’t as good as they should be because I don’t care. And she doesn’t need to know about my bad grades because she’ll tell her mother how stupid I am.
The teachers beg me to hand in projects and sometimes I won’t even if I’ve done them. And she begs the teachers to give her extra projects.
And I wonder why she needs extra credit if she always gets straight As.
But I don’t like to think anyone is a liar. I like to think everyone is honest because I am.
So she still makes me feel stupid. I go back to my books and I don’t think about it any more.

I Can
Write Things

I can write things. I am a boring girl, but I can write things. I don’t care what happens to me or anyone. I can use anything. That’s why I’m always smiling. Nothing is bad. Everything can be written down.

You can look at my life and pick out no huge events. But in my head, I’m not boring. In my head, multicolored thoughts swirl like one of those giant rainbow lollipops. Sticky and sugary and useless. I can lick and lick and lick and they’ll still be there for a very long time. Long-lasting flavor.
The little moments are more defining than the big ones. Every little thing counts. And the big picture doesn’t. At least not to me. Because all I have are a few disjointed memories.
But I can still use them.
I’m no longer the person I was, but I haven’t left her. Bits of her are gluing me together. It matters.
It’s not as boring as you think it is. I can make it interesting. I am going to write you a story. A story about a girl named Laura, and it would be fitting to say she lived in the clouds....

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