When you're new, you're soft--pink, rosy, fresh out of the eraser womb, ready for anything You smell like fear, or comfort, I'm not sure which. Like rubber, like sand, like a photography dark room. Like air conditioning and the resulting goosebumps. Like my time is running out and I only have half of the answers bubbled in; like the stories I've been daydreaming about while ignoring the math problems on the test.
Like my elementary-school cafeteria, where I sat with my back to the entry door (the one connected to the wall I felt once with my lips, just to see what it felt like, because I had gloves on my hands and they had textured palms and I knew someone would make fun of me as I heard the kid talking--"ew, she's kissing the wall!"--but he didn't understand it; my hands were cold) and tried to fill in the bubbles at the beginning of the test. I always felt dishonest picking just one of Hispanic or White--both seemed wrong, and I wanted to make a note on the side saying that I was both, but also neither. But another part of the directions said not to write outside of the bubbles. That wasn't how the test worked. You did what they told you to do:
Put your name in the boxes provided, and if they didn't have enough boxes, then too bad, you only got part of your name. Part of your name, part of your identity, an incomplete representation of who you were. Fill in the most-correct bubble, it said, but I could have justified multiple bubbles for various reasons, but they didn't care about that. And then there was that bullshit of "C) A and B; D) A but not B; E) none of the above; F) all of the above"--are you kidding? Sometimes there were two good answers, but they wanted the best answer. What was the best, anyway? The one "most people" would accept as correct, or the one that I could justify was being correct?
I got tired of trying to guess what they wanted, year after year, test after test, Pink Pearl new every time. Now I pick the answers that make sense to me.
You, Pink Pearl on my desk, are a year old now. When you're old--your edges rubbed off, your flaky surface hard, your lettering faded--you start to smell like the room around you. You don't lure me in with promises of newness. But even with your gray sheen, your softened corners and bruised edges, you're still capable of erasing. Together, we create and edit until what we sculpt feels just right to us.
PART OF THIS COMPLETE BREAKFAST
Blog not recommended for sober consumption.