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The Indian Giver This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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If we were seven years old, I'd be
sticking sticky fingers, all covered in grape jelly, into your left ear
pulling at your plaited pigtails
blaming you for the things I
pilfer. I'd be
making you cry,
denying that I, Tommy Strayer, have the biggest baby crush
on you, Mandy Bright.

And if we were twelve, you'd be a
sixth-grade nothing,
reading too many books and dreaming of living underwater
with an anemone named Nora as your best friend and pet. Or maybe you'd call it Squish.
It wouldn't matter either way, I'd still laugh at you and push you around on
playgrounds and class field trips. You'd still cry angry tears and I,
Tommy Strayer, wouldn't tell anyone that I like your funny-colored
eyes and knobby knees.

If we were high school freshmen, I'd be
breaking your heart at the start of the Semester from Hell
for a girl named Carla who everybody says is prettier and
A Lot More Normal than you.
But we're at the edge of youth, seventeen and
afraid of things like growing up and saying what we mean. So I
make fun of your frizzy hair and scuffed up shoes, the way your nose
turns alcoholic red from the cold.
I, Thomas Strayer, don't say anything I mean and
you, Amanda Bright, roll your eyes as I call you
Mandy when I ask for last night's Latin homework. Shoulders tense, eyes glaring, you
rigidly remind me that “It's. Amanda.” I mock your tone and tell you that
“I. Don't care.” But what I'm really saying is

You ought to be loved. Someone
ought to love
you I
ought to. But
I, Thomas Strayer, am just an Indian giver,
giving you my heart,
taking it back again.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Aayut This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 17, 2011 at 4:47 am

This is beautiful...

I can almost picturise it..


Beanie said...
Sept. 16, 2010 at 10:39 am

As kids, we're usually pretending to be something, even when we're hurting someone.

As we mature, we reflect on what we could've done better. The past has a clinging chill that may never leave us.

Overall, I liked the characterization as Thomas looked back and regretted bullying Amanda.

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