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Zippers This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

The zipper has never worked on this backpack.
It sticks at one fifth of its length and refuses pointblank to proceed any further. I noticed, walking from the store with purchase in hand and a receipt in the other. Yet it was only the smallest pocket after all what did a little thing like that matter anyway?
The recalled thoughts ring with a bitter undertone due to my current frustration. My stubborn response to the pocket’s inability to close had ended weeks ago in resignation but that didn’t stop me from yanking on it now.
I wish zippers could be held accountable. I wish anyone could be held accountable. Unfortunately, I must admit that if playing the blame game, I’m certainly the prime suspect and not because I’m acting the scapegoat. Regardless, I’m a victim of circumstances if you account for the fact that my own property, my most beloved cell phone, was stolen by prying fingers. Naturally, the most valued possessions had found their way to the least secure of all pockets and some anonymous student had guessed all this on their own. If I am lucky, it is only because they had not the greed, or perhaps the opportunity, to arrest the other three items residing there.
I can be glad that they did not snatch the keys to my 1991 Toyota Camry named Earl. He’s a year older than myself and for some reason people are always impressed by that. It’s silly if you think about it because I have yet to meet anyone who has reacted the same to my own seventeen years. Then of course, there is the school ID with last year’s yearbook picture, that I somehow managed to look three years younger in. Not that the ID does anything to define me beyond first and last name, but it’s a vital means of freedom in that I need it to pass the building’s security guards during lunch. Finally, there is a pen. While it may resemble an ordinary pen with its white Bic tube and brilliant blue cap, any to think so would be grossly mistaken. The end is just slightly marred with bite marks, the result of hours spent pondering what to say when speech consists of too few words. When that fails, there are always illustrations to doodle on scrap pages and finalize in art class. This pen is my self-expression.

I give the zipper another tug. Perhaps there is more in the pocket than just those. Right now it’s carrying my frustration, but I don’t usually bring that to school. I like to leave it on my bedside table, between the sleep inducing lotion and glass of ice water, to pick up and examine when I have time. I don’t see why they didn’t steal that. Most days, the pocket carries knowledge: the vocabulary for the upcoming French test or who the eighteenth president of the United States was or why differentiability does not parallel with continuity. Like cookies in a computer, every lesson is stored and categorized and maybe referred back to at some later date. Maybe that’s the reason the zipper won’t close. I’ve been cramming all the extra space with something far more substantial than matter. What does it matter that they took my cell phone? I have a better way to use that space.

The zipper has never worked on my backpack. But then again, maybe it’s better to keep those things out in the open anyway. It’s not as though they’ll be stolen.




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