Filler Paper


She did not write it down.  She wrote everything down in that little journal with the boy on the cover holding a chocolate chip cookie with the title “My favorite Things.”  The journal was a gift from her sister-in-law, because if it had actually been from her brother, it would not have been at all.  It would have been a five dollar bill in a card that read, “I don’t know what to get a young lady.”   And she probably would have taken that five dollar bill and gone to Fay’s on a Friday evening with her mother and bought a journal.  So she could write everything down.

She went to Fay’s on a Friday evening with her mother, because while she was smart and had a few friends, those friends did not really do much on a Friday night.  So Fay’s it was.  Just to get out, to avoid boredom, though she was seldom bored, really, because she could always write.  Or read.

Where just a year or so earlier she read “The Incredible Journey” bought through her school’s Weekly Reader pamphlet.  And at the end, the animals running toward home made her cry.  The first time a book made her cry.  And it was like a first orgasm, because she didn’t know it was coming, but there it was and what a surprise.  Astonished, she would walk to the kitchen to report to her mother that she had cried and this was the most wonderful, amazing book she ever read.

But there they were at Fay’s on a Friday night.  It was difficult, you know, when you did not have pierced ears to find cute clip-on earrings that didn’t look like an old lady would wear them.  Fay’s had a jewelry counter with jewelry on clearance.  Her mother liked things on clearance.

Maybe she should just go to Rosenbaum’s some other Friday night and get her ears pierced.  Other girls had done it.  Those other girls were sporting little fourteen karat gold “starter” earrings in what had been perfectly beautiful untouched earlobes.  It seemed to be like starting your period, getting your ears pierced came at just a little different time for each girl.

But there was her mother standing at the clearance jewelry counter at Fay’s, so she ambled to the notebook aisle.  Wide-ruled looseleaf filler paper seemed so much more practical than fourteen karat gold starter earrings, which, once she finally did get her ears pierced a few months later, would cause such a bloody, pus-filled infection a month’s worth of peroxide could barely contain the conflagration.  She should have stuck to filler paper.

In the car, in the Fay’s parking lot, in the dark, her mother would pull out of her purse a pair of little pink flower clip-on earrings.  They were cute and not like something an old lady would wear.  Her mother did not pay for these.  They had no price tag.  Her mother was indignant.  But you can’t just take them.  Guilt kind of hung there in the car, in the Fay’s parking lot, in the dark.  Guilt was, at the very least, the gift held in her hand that took the form of cute pink flower clip-ons that an old lady wouldn’t wear.  So while her mother stayed in the car, she walked back to Fay’s, straight to the clearance jewelry and put back the cute pink flower clip-on earrings that did not look like an old lady would wear them.  Then back out to the car, in the Fay’s parking lot, in the dark.

“Don’t tell your father,” her mother said.

She did not.
And she did not write it down.



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