snapshots (middle school)

my mother has taken me to the house of a friend of hers who works in a hair salon
maybe she doesn’t maybe she’s on leave maybe she was fired
i don’t really know
i get a haircut that’s supposed to be from a professional
at a cut rate
because it’s in her house
and she’s not supposed to be doing it there
and … i don’t know
i’m too young to be trusted to understand
i hate haircuts because the next school day
i’m going to be mocked
every single time

i threw up in class in middle school because
something i ate in the cafeteria didn’t quite work out
but maybe it was really just
the existential dread
of being in school
of being at home
of being different
of not understanding how the world kept just spinning around me
so the teacher was just teaching
and i had my text book open
i think it was math
and i just vomited all over the book
the desk
other students freaking out
and in my memory the teacher was mad
because the book was new

one floor below where i would throw up sometime later
in english class
i’m sweating for no reason
i’m shaking for no reason
and the girl who the week before had decided we were dating
the girl in the fuzzy sweater who wasn’t very good in english
the girl who probably just wanted to cheat off of me
because there’s no way a girl like that would want to be serious
about a weirdo like me
that girl is telling me to go tell the teacher i’m sick
just stand up
just go to the teacher
like it’s that easy
like every muscle in my body isn’t frozen
like i’m not in total shutdown
drifting into muteness
so she breaks up with me with a dramatic flair
and before too long
my sweats go away

my two best friends at the time are brothers who live
in a house on my way to school
i don’t notice at the time but one of them
shares his name with my uncle don
their house smells like a kennel
because of the big dog that’s always kept inside
and they have to change their clothes
every day
as soon as they get home
because they have school clothes
and home clothes
because their family is poor
the three of us are hanging out
and there’s a boy we know with two girls we know
and the three of us think he’s gay
but boys weren’t allowed to be gay
in that era
so we call the girls he’s with his girlfriends
and he get so mad
he’s yelling
he’s breaking down
but he looks like davy jones

i don’t want to go home today
the last bell of the day has rung
i’m in science class
i’m sitting in my chair behind the two-person table
black top, brown legs
you know the type
and all i can see is my home
with corpses hanging out all of the windows
and i don’t want to go home
so a friend offers to walk me home
but only after i’m calm enough
and even though he lives in another direction

i wish i knew whatever happened to
the boy who looked like davy jones
or the girl in the fuzzy sweater
i can’t even remember their names

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