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I always wondered how one single arm could squeeze in so many freckles. Whenever she wore those collared tank tops with buttons running straight down the middle, I couldn’t help but stare at her arms. It was almost like a thin membrane of light brown covered her skin, occasionally opening up ivory windows in the spaces between freckles. Those were the arms that flailed through the air as she directed our 3rd grade play Frindle, the soft underbelly of her bicep jiggling slightly as she pointed to the spot where Tino was supposed to be a few seconds ago. Those were the arms that thoughtfully stapled extra lined paper in between each journal entry, so that I could write freely without having to cram my extra thoughts into the corners and sides of the page. Those were the arms that rested on her hips at acute angles as she repeatedly told Connor to sit down and stop goofing around. But even when her voice marched sternly, the smirk dancing in her eyes told us that she still cared.

It confused me that the crowded constellation of freckles seemed to disappear right at the curve of her salmon tank top, as if it were some impenetrable force field. On the other side of that nylon barrier stood her neck and then her heart-shaped face, both completely blemishless. Even her eyebrows showed no trace of rebellion or abnormality. There were no skewed hairs sneaking off towards her temples, or nuzzling together in the middle of her forehead. In fact, there were barely any hairs at all. The half circles above her eyes looked more like they had been drawn on with a colored pencil. Back then I dismissed the thought as a silly observation rather than a potential reality. If someone ever had pencil drawn on their face, it would surely have been an accident.

Sometimes these wormy lines would squiggle up and down, vibrating almost, as she let out one of her signature husky chuckles. It was a rare occasion for her budding smirk to bloom in to a full flowering laugh, but in such an instance, nothing was left hidden. Millions of valleys would appear on her face, slightly curved around each side of her extended mouth like layered parentheses. Her eyes would close shut, leaving only two crumpled flesh-blankets below each brow. And she would bellow and huff and wheeze until every last ounce of laughter hidden in her lungs was freed from confinement, and left to float and bob around the classroom.





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