She sits alone in the Reading Center, feigning interest in a
thick paperback book. She shoves up her
glasses. Scratches at her knee. Listens to the girls around her.
The pretty girls, the girls with the flouncy dresses, the girls
who hand her empty envelopes to get around the rule: Party invitations distributed on school premises must be extended to
The teacher rings her silver bell. “Time to clean up, Third Grade.” The centers disperse. It’s recess time.
She places herself at the end of the line.
They seek her on the playground.
“Hey, Fatty.” Pretty Julia with yellow ribbons in her hair.
“Fatty, Fatty two by four.”
Amelia with the purple dress.
“Ugly.” Heidi. Red sparkles on her shoes.
And even Kim, with her bright green eyes, Kim, who used to
sit at her kitchen table and drink cocoa, legs swinging back and forth. “Four eyes.”
She is shoved to the ground.
The unyielding blacktop skins her knees and the palms of her hands. She rests there. She watches the sparkly shoes walk away.
The next morning, her knees are raw and ugly. They’re red and purple. They ooze anger, yellow and green.
She closes her eyes and pulls up the blue tights
to conceal her wounds.
She limps into the classroom. Her teacher puts down her silver bell. “What’s wrong, Maggie?”
“I think there is. Kim,
please accompany Maggie to the nurse’s office.”
The girls walk down the hall in silence. Kim leaves her at the door.
The nurse sends Maggie behind a screen; directs her to
remove her tights and sit in the little orange chair.
“Oh, my, look at that.
They’re infected.” The nurse dabs
at Maggie’s knees with a cotton ball. “You
really shouldn’t’ve covered those up.” She
sprays something on the wounds and smiles her perky smile. “All better now.”
Maggie pastes on a smile and walks away. But she is not all better.
Some wounds are invisible.
Some wounds just won’t weep.
Labels: Fiction, Trifecta Writing Challenge