Distorted vanilla noises. Caesarian cease sensational lips lisp lease. breathe. Epitome blasphemy amphetamine anonymous anemone ominous nimbus cologne. Breathe. Economy caramel laurel laud author arthur whorl wound round word roar worm window women worship swish silver shale. Sorbet. Illinois, ousting jasper jasmine goethite chai. Nominee none see eight; breathe.
Sulfur-yellow feather fallout.

Students bumped into each other’s backpacks, and I tried not to listen too closely to the honors students, who would brag about the hours of sleep they lost over calculus, as they shrugged off another book assignment. I tried not to hear that they bullshitted another paper.

Why is your notebook on your head? Xinhui asked.

I thought maybe, if I put my book on my head, my ideas will get back into my brain via osmosis. I lied. We all knew that’s not how osmosis worked.

They laughed. I should try doing that, too. Zoe put her binder of science and math onto her head, so that it crushed the blonde flyaway hairs.

Zoe was planning to go to MIT. Xinhui wasn’t sure what she wanted to do but leaned toward a science major of some kind. They both ended up at Cornell.

I didn’t tell them that the idea of English as a lesser subject was growing in my head. And I certainly didn’t want to tell them that, because English was my best subject, I saw myself as lesser than them. Than all the students excelling in the subjects where I struggled. I didn’t want them to know that I thought myself a failure.


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