Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Textbook Definition

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Textbook definition, where do I find you now as I look into his unfeeling eyes, depths of ash and desecration? Is he schizophrenic? Seasonally depressed? Ought I scan his brain with an EEG for anomalies to explain my broken heart?

Tell me, will I find his astro sign and life story if I search his name in the index? Give me a roadmap to his heart, or if that be too difficult, explain to me why he doesn’t cry and only makes me do so.

My old friend with your worn spine and friendly g’s that wave at me from below…you’ve given biology and chemistry and the psychology of dare I say, life itself. I don’t mean to offend you, for my lessons have nearly always been very informational. But no formula and no example or anecdote from your waxy pages will lead me closer to closure.

For that I need Donne and Shakespeare, who may attempt to locate my heart and his in their cryptic, beautiful language. They wrote poetry and not textbooks, though I read the first from the latter today, while sidenotes and Cliffsnotes and footnotes tell me patiently, condescendingly what I ought to decipher or feel by the placement of their commas and the capitalizations of their words. A flower is not a flower, but a symbol of faith or repentance or a cheating heart; the lack of a symbol of death.

Likewise, the man—my man—is not a man, but mankind itself, who is horrible and kind and wicked all in one day, can be in one glance—one, little glance. And it is harder to label this man than to call a plant a gymnosperm or to calculate specific heat, perhaps of his blood, or mine, which boils because indefinitely no textbook will ever tell me why I love him, or if I do not.

This is left to me, tiny punitive girl who has written no textbooks or even a decent short story in a while. The secrets of this man are left to me, because Darwin and Newton and Aristotle have conquered their respective fields
and now there is only the hardest lesson of all to learn and teach.

There will never be a day where I may roam the public library and find a textbook on how to conquer man and the darkness of his heart, where I can plumb the roots of his nature and finally decide whether he deserves salvation or not.

Until there is such a thing, I will stay at my school desk from nine to three and peruse my friends, the textbooks, blue and green and red. It is all very simple. Step 1 to Step 4, follow as directed. Verbatim. Memorize. “Critical thinking” does not help me outside the classroom, I am afraid. There, I can only feel the walls blindly with my fingers, and walk where I think the light is.



Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback