To the Girl Who Sits in the Back of Math Class

To the Girl Who Sits in the Back of Math Class

Dear girl who sits
in the closest chair to the wall
in the very back row of math class,

I think I know why you sit back there every day
without deigning to smile or say hello to anyone.

I bet you’re afraid
of what people would say if they found out
that you like to sing. They would probably
ask you to sing for them. Then the boy you like
would laugh and think you’re stupid.

I bet you’re afraid that they wouldn’t like the fact
that you are probably smarter than each and every one of them
put together.

I bet you’re afraid that you’d get a best friend
who only liked you because you were out-going and witty
that one day,
and she thought that you’d make a good addition to her posse.

I bet you’re afraid that you’d start going to parties
where all the boys look like Ken dolls and all the girls like Barbies.
And at those parties the people would start drinking out of scary,
brown paper bags that were crumpled in the shape of a bottle.

I bet you’re afraid that you’d start to like the flavor that came out
of those bottle-shaped bags, and you’d start paying your allowance
to the Barbies
to bring you some for lunch.

I bet you’re afraid that you’d be caught by your mom
too late to be saved from the tipsy state you began to acquire.

I bet you’re afraid that once you try
to stop that you’d find it was quite impossible,
and you’d start to go behind your family’s back once again
to get some more of that bagged-up bottle of eternal heaven.

I bet you’re afraid once you finally stopped, your newfound
Barbie friends
would leave you, and you’d lose any chance of being popular again.

I bet you’re afraid that you’d have to go back and sit
in the closest chair to the wall
in the very last row of math class again.

So, to save yourself the trouble, I recommend that you
stay in that chair.

Not only is it the best chair comfort-wise in the entire room,
but you can also inspect the entire class from there.

I bet you’d see that girl in the third row
with a brown paper bag in her backpack,
lamely hidden by a loose-leaf piece of paper with random numbers
scribbled across as though she didn’t even know how to fake math anymore.
When you see her, smile.

Smile and remember that
the chair closest to the wall
in the very last row of math class
saved you from the horrible fate
that she so very sadly stumbled into.

From the girl who sits in the third row
with the brown paper bag in her backpack
(the girl who used to sit
in the chair closest to the wall
in the very last row of math class)

by Madison Waaler, age 15
2015 Silver Key
BASIS Scottsdale, Scottsdale

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