“Do you want to dance?”

I presented in AP English on a Wednesday. I also buried my dog on a Wednesday. She’s wrapped up in a white blanket, buried in the soon to be garden near the Playhouse. We’re going to plant some Dutch tulips my Dad brought back from the Netherlands, and a seed that the clinic gave us.

I went first. I used a library book from middle school called: “Investigating Earth: It’s About Time” I painted the cover of it black, flicked a paint brush dipped in white paint over it to make tiny, perfect, “stars” drew an Earth and a girl sitting on crossed leg on it, with her head turned away. I named it NOT ANOTHER EXISTENTIAL CRISIS. Each page was a painting based on a lesson that we did in class, and writing to go along with it. I only read the “Books I’ve been exposed to”, “How I see”, and “Shattered World/ Sticky Note Kindness”. The last one was a drawing of a girl holding Earth balloons. I kinda had a huge space thing going on. The last Earth balloon was crumbling and I had sticky notes that friends had wrote with things like: The world is a better place with you in. Writing is my dream, I hope you find yours. Rip off the goddamn band aid! Seize the opportunity! Ava drew a cat and Alex drew a seal with a Stay peachy!. I read out loud what I had written to the class:

Sticky Notes/ Fractured World

Every couple of years my tiny and utterly ordinary world comes to a screeching halt as meteorites of tragedy smack onto it’s surface. The first major meteor was my parent’s divorce, the second was my grandma’s death, the third was my first dog passing a year later, and the last one was my second dog’s heart failure. I was struck, to say the least. You spend so much time building your ideal world only to have it completely ripped from your clutches yet again. You’re the one left behind to pick up all the shattered, broken, and bloody parts and expected to rebuild love, trust, and joy, as if it’s that easy. Sometimes, I just don’t want to. I want to seethe in all the hurt that lays buried beneath the surface, covered by band-aid’s that are only too easy to rip. I’m tired of having to be the one who smiles when I have no reason to, who constantly is playing mediator, who tries to fix the unfixable. It’s so much easier to be angry. In between this sense of overwhelming hopelessness that no, it won’t ever be better, and why do I keep trying when it’s the same result?, a shooting star streaks flames of color over my heart. There was a tall stranger who handed me a dollar coin and walked away when I was six. There were friends who sent me surprise candy-grams and flowers on my fourteenth birthday when I asked for nothing. There was a boy who told me that he thought I looked beautiful that one day over the summer I was fifteen. There was the Hawaiian native who pressed a perfect half of a white flower into my palm in June. There were sticky notes that were written with love, written to me. Those things that seem so little, but how very big they were to me.

**I’d like to add that I didn’t mean for the last line to rhyme.

When I was done, I slid back into my seat while people clapped. William went, presenting a drawing he’d done of the mountains, Tyler went showing a game he’d created, Charlie showed his photography, and Lorien held up a box he’d made the day before. When he was showing pictures on his phone of the process I saw the date and time: Yesterday at 5:30. I hope Beltran didn’t see that, we had 8 weeks to “Create Something”.

We had ten minutes left in class so Beltran played her two step music as Megan and I chattered. I was still shaking from presenting. Then Nick appeared at my desk. I haven’t talked to him since the 7th grade. We used to have PE together and every Wednesday we had the Cougar Run. He used to mess around with me. One day he tried to run with me, but I took off and he chased me. He had a dollar coin in his hand. I stared at it, completely taken back.

Him: “Is this yours? I found it under your chair”.(No way.)

Me: *still starting at it* “Um no.”

Him: “Are you sure? Do you want it?”

Me: “Yeah, no”.

Him: “Do you wanna dance?”

Me: *still looking at the coin* *still shaky* “No, thats okay.”

Him: “No?” “You sure?”

“Yeah.”

I felt a little bad afterwards. Megan and Lorien were two stepping. A few other people were. I just can’t really dance at all. Also I have really sweaty hands. But it was still sweet of Nick Landon to do that, even though I know it wasn’t like that.

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