Pink Polka-dots

By Evelyn Anders, TIWP Student

It’s second period, I’m sitting next to Grayson Turner and cursing out Amanda in my head. She had promised to buy me Subway over our hectic call last night if I did one thing in return. Combined with snickers and giggles, she demanded I wear my old, pink polka-dotted onesie, and despite my protests and groans, here I was, having underestimated the humility caused by this outfit.

I sat quiet in my chair, the leg cuffs of my onesie up to my knees, tired of listening to my algebra teacher.  I feel a tap against my polka-dotted back. I turn to my right. 

Grayson had turned in his chair to face me, spinning a purple pen in his hand, and smiling like he always does, making his brown eyes even cuter. “What?” I spit out in fear I had been staring. His eyes sparkle with wit as he leans in: “No need to dress so fancy on a school day.” 

My stomach drops, but I force my eyes to roll. He better not think this was my choice. “Look-“ I start. He interrupts me with a snicker, “I’m just playing with you. The outfit is questionable, but I was mostly wondering if you were going to the food bank this Saturday.” 

I scoff and shake my head. “Uh yeah I think I’m signed up for this Saturday. What about you?” He looks away for a second still flipping the purple pen, most likely thinking up something snarky. “I’m signed up for this Saturday too, might have to switch though…” he trails off with a grin. 

I roll my eyes for what feels like the fifth time. Sometimes his dirty blonde hair, auburn eyes, and sly smile aren’t enough to make up for his obnoxious comments. 

This past year Amanda has told me about too many incidents of kids criticizing my looks or personality and now jokes hit harder than they should. I try to convince myself Grayson is just joking around, but he ignored me all of last year after the rumor of me liking him spread from ear to ear, making his remarks seem less playful.

The sound of zippers fill the room, and with no response from me, Grayson’s eyes fall into regret. “I didn’t mean it . . . I was-“ his excuse drowned in the footsteps of kids leaving as I left too, trying hard to only focus on my future Subway sandwich. 

**********

I crinkle up the green and yellow wrapping paper, having finished my sandwich. Amanda was still talking as I tried forming the paper into a ball. “The onesie isn’t that bad,” she said for the tenth time. She continued as I chucked the paper towards the trash bins. “And considering the price of the sandwich you just devoured, it was very worth it,” The ball lands into the compost. “-despite what Mason, or whatever his name is, says about your onesie.” 

Before I can correct her, a teacher yells at me: “PAPER ISN’T COMPOSTABLE.” Amanda giggles as I shamefully walk to my misplaced Subway wrapper. I peer into the green bin and snatch the first wad of paper my eyes land on. Before I angrily chuck it into the blue bin next to me, the lack of green and yellow confuses me. This isn’t my wrapper.

I unfold the paper and find myself staring at some of sort of note. Scribbled letters fill the small paper. My curiosity gets the best of me as I bring the paper closer to my eyes.

stuck 

in my blue chair

opportunity and mystery

questions and feelings

sit at my left

lost in another world

alike me

i cover my unexpected emotions

with jokes,

remarks

maybe i went too far

regrets mutate

flirtations 

those weren’t my 

intentions

explanations 

spill out, 

but you tune

me out

with my 

heart aching

you’re gone

pink polka-dots 

and all

My heart hitches as I stare back at the purple poetry.

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