Spring Sing [Grade 5]
You are sixty feet tall and on the top row of the choir risers and your head keeps bumping the spotlights onstage. They are blinding your eyes. You are the only girl back here; the others are in the front, porcelain and dainty, so small that the boys keep them in their pockets. There is no pocket big enough for you. You smooth
down your jumper and suck in your tummy but still when you adjust your shoulders boys are sent flying. You can’t help it; Mrs. Wasserman says that singers have to stand up straight. But you can hear Dan Boehnen grumbling as he climbs back on the risers. Fat Bitch, he whispers to Tom Coney, loud enough so you can hear. The tips of your giant ears turn red as Mrs. Wasserman clicks her pencil on the music stand, a signal that the concert is beginning.
Earlier that day, when you were getting ready, you stacked fifteen mirrors on top of each other and tried on all your cotton dresses and hated the way you looked in every single one. Even with two sports bras smashing them down your boobs looked too big. They’re the size of boulders, and weigh as much. Eventually you gave up on the dresses and put on a baggy t-shirt and a crocheted vest that your grandma gave you. You thought maybe it looked cool, maybe a little different, but when you got to school all the girls were wearing polka-dot dresses with red scrunchies in their hair, and you forgot about wanting to be different and instead just felt ashamed.
You do not wear red scrunchies because Kelly told you on the tetherball court that red makes your zits look bigger. But you try not to think about your zits because now Mrs. Wasserman is playing “Mr. Sandman” on the piano. You are singing – you love to sing – but your voice is too loud and low and so you try to be quieter. You hunch your shoulders, which will help you sing quieter, and also might shave off a few feet from your enormous frame. Tom Pederson is the next tallest kid in class and he’s only five-three. How big you must look compared to him. Moms and dads are taking video in the audience but your dad is at work and your mom doesn’t like to take pictures of you because once she said that she had a boyfriend by the time she was eleven and that unless you lost a few pounds you probably never would.
Everyone claps when you finishing “Mr. Sandman” but you know, somehow, that they are not clapping for you. Your tummy rumbles and it shakes the floor as you take your bow; Dan falls off the risers and flips you the bird. You want to tell him it’s not your fault. You are hungry because you’ve only eaten celery all day; you are hungry because no one cares if you eat celery all day; you are hungry because for the rest of your life you will be expected to eat celery all day, and you know that at some point it will ruin you.
When the concert is over, after your mother drives you back home, you carefully pour white chocolate chips into an ice cream bowl and take a bag of Gardettos down to the basement. You watch the episode of Full House that you taped on the VCR, and you tell yourself that someday you will look like Stephanie Tanner, and someday you will have a dog named Comet, and someday you will have three dads that love you, including one that is as cute as Uncle Jesse. You melt white chocolate chips on your tongue and hunt for the garlic chips in the Gardettos and you think to yourself as you lick your fingers, Well at least, well at least, well at least I have this.