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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Melanie #41

I was the smartest girl, from Kindergarten through second grade, at my small school, where we wore dresses every day. I read more, did math better, wrote well. I was the smartest girl except for one, my enemy.

Her name was Melanie. She was also more polite and reasonable than me. She was blond, soft-spoken, with freckles, and seemed rich at the time. Her family was a paragon of gentle whiteness.

I went to a slumber party at her big, clean house. She had a huge trampoline, and we took turns jumping in the middle until our moms came to pick us up.

She could sing in French and knew how to weave baskets. “I can weave baskets too,” I said, because it seemed self-explanatory.

After second grade, I went to a new school. But one day, in sixth grade, there was a special event, and we met, just the two of us, in a hallway.

She recognized me, and I didn’t recognize her. She said, “Don’t you remember me? I’m Melanie.”

She wore thick glasses and was no longer thin. Her skin seemed stretched tight on her body, and she had acne. She was so kind to me--gentle and good. “How are you?” she asked, despite the way I had been so mean to her those years ago and called her Mel’s Diner.

I was shocked. I swallowed all my jealousy, and we spoke warmly. We were adults for a moment.

Who knows where she is now, but she’s probably still better than me, which is fine.

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