A Bouquet of Freshly Sharpened Pencils

Her crisp navy tunic ends just past her knees, the school’s crest embroidered on her chest. Knee socks were contemplated but in this oppressive heat we settled on ankle socks, frilled at the edges and still in the wrapping from Marks and Spencer. The headband, with a modest bow on one side,is  placed carefully in her hair. The buttons on her brand new white shirt are done up to the top, because no matter what you tell her she “just likes it that way.”

The teacher called me during lunch to tell me how her first day was going. Independent, making a new friend (whose name, which is incredibly hasidic when she is most definitely not, makes me giggle), excited for her math and science class, proud owner of a new school agenda. A fresh start off an awful previous year, and the teacher sounded like she gets it. I’m emotional, thinking about the opportunities she has in front of her.

She also signed up to the “Orienteering Club”, where I assume all manner of mud will promenade into my home on a weekly basis.

And across the ocean, boys sitting in a class for hours at a time, no English, no science, no math, never get that experience. They’ll never see the mud traipsed through my hallway, never glow with excitement after discovering how volcanoes erupt. The cycle of learning and marriage and babies and constraints repeats, ledor vador.

I’m angry, and I’m sad, and I’m happy and I’m excited. I don’t know what to do with it, but screaming hasn’t yet helped.


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