dear kristen.

dear kristen,

you ate your school supplies. you were totally the ralph wiggum of our class. everyone i've ever talked to has a story about some dumb kid in his class who ate crayons, and forever, you will be that dumb kid to me. but you were sweet. and i really liked your voice. i think that you had some problem with your vocal cords, and it made your voice all raspy and cool. i really would've liked to hear you sing "bette davis eyes." but who knows, maybe your voice was just a result of all that fucking glue finally solidifying in your throat.

i mean, i was tempted. we all had those flavor-scented markers in our art supply boxes. i sniffed and sniffed, and i was tempted to lick, but jesus christ, i never actually did it. you did not discriminate, though. erasers, crayons, glue sticks. you ate it all up. usually it was one of the other girls in class who would rat you out. i'm sure i caught you once or twice and didn't say anything to the teacher. i probably sat there thinking, god. this girl loves to eat some nasty awful shit. i was both intrigued and appalled.

but the other girls, no, they weren't as free-spirited and experimental as you. those close-minded prudes ratted you out every single time. i can even see jenny n. raising her little hand, colorful braclets dangling down her forearm. "ms. crawley! kristen's eating crayons. again." this would elicit some strong reactions from the class. "eww!" "gross!" "kristen, that's disgusting!" and you would just sit there, blushing, mouth full of wax, trying not to draw attention to yourself.

once, in the first grade, you left class early. vicky, the school secretary, called you on the intercom: "kristen, your mom is here to pick you up." ms. rice said, "all right, kristen. pack up your stuff." your little half-black friend, ashley, wanted to know where you were going. "we're gonna see a movie," you said. a few of us giggled. even us six year-olds knew enough that we could only leave class for horrible things like doctor's and dentist's appointments. not you, though. you were different. ms. rice piped up. "kristen, just so you know, for next time, going to the movies isn't an excuse to leave class." "okay," you said. and then you left.

you left our class in the second or third grade. i'm not sure exactly when, and i'm not sure what became of you. that was the thing about that school. one kid would leave, and nobody would know anything about where he or she went. eventually, we would all leave, and no one would give a shit. some community, huh? i like to think that you ended up an artist, and that you are now puking up decades-old wax on canvas, making brilliant art somewhere in the sunny hills of southern california.

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