Characterization

When I was a girl, I kept my proud collection of marbles and glass pebbles in a silk drawstring bag. The bag itself was nothing special, but I liked the way the fabric glistened silver-blue beneath the light. The charcoal grey ribbon at the opening had amber beads at each end.

Which, to me, was a testament to my refined taste.

The marbles made the satchel heavy like a bag of gold coins. Plastic and cardboard Pogs joined the cold glass in the palm sized shelter in the back pocket of my Wrangler jeans. The jeans were worn out by an anonymous someone before me, and the fraying waistband bore the signature stretch fit of children’s clothes.

For the most part, if I’m honest, I didn’t like to play with other kids. I found them violent, loud and mean-spirited. Or exclusionary. I preferred to be around them in a classroom setting, where we all faced forward with our knees in line with our heads, and we all raised our hands to speak.

I liked to take my shoes off when I was walking home from the bus, and feel the asphalt under my pink padded feet. I would cut through my neighbor’s quartz gravelled yard and challenge myself not to make a sound as the jags and slivers sizzled in my tender pale arches. I would take icy showers to feel my ribcage splinter to the outside of my skin and then abruptly switch over the heat and listen closely as my spine crinkled and whimpered like rusty chains under a rubber blanket.

I would dump the marbles, pebbles and Pogs on my bedroom floor when I got home. Count the marbles, stack the Pogs, read the funnies through the flat bottomed glass pebbles. I would organize the marbles by size and color and then flick the heaviest one at the line up, which sent them careening over the edge of my desk to their death in a black plastic bucket full of water.

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