Monday, 12 January 2009
The girl who knew everything
There was once a girl who knew that she was 2920 days old on the day of her eighth birthday. She blew out the eight sticks of wax layered around string piercing the top of her $5.99 chocolate cake which was not suitable for vegans and was made in a factory which could not be guaranteed free from traces of nuts. She was wearing her best pink silk dress, woven in a factory in India which employed girls younger than her, then shipped to china to be cut and stitched in a giant workshop which was very hot before being packaged in cardboard, recyclable in the green bins, with hundreds of other pink silk dresses and sent to England where her mother had bought it for $29.99 and gave it to her a month ago to wear to her mother’s brother’s son’s union before God and those gathered here today, to his fiancé, who was fat.
The little girl was very bored. The other children in her class were amazed to learn about photosynthesis, the simple process of turning light and carbon dioxide into food and oxygen within the leaves of every plant on earth, as though it hadn’t been going on since the beginning of time. She was unpopular because she always got everything right, and never asked questions because she always understood. Even childish things, guessing the weight of the bag of sugar, or how many sweets were in the jar held no mystery or excitement for her, since they were really based on the relatively simple mathematics of volume, which was length times by height times by width. Roller coasters were physics and momentum, candy floss caused diabetes, laughter caused wrinkles when you were older and your skin began to lose its elasticity, the signs of which could be reversed by daily use of Olay Regenerist, which was overpriced.
One day there was a new boy in her class who the other children, who would end up as doctors and plumbers and benefit frauds and who would have sex and then children and then get old and then die, did not want to play with. He was put with her on the table for “exceptional” children, which was the school’s politically correct way of saying children who didn’t fit and who were probably not in the right place. He did things that other boys did, like use the hardened growths of dead tissue on the tips of his fingers to excavate mucus from the growth of cartilage in the centre of his face and put it in his oral cavity for it to be digested and eventually expelled from the other end, but he also did things that were different. He drew pictures that weren’t of him and his dad playing football, but instead of complicated forms which seemed to have no meaning. He muttered to himself occasionally, or made jumps in conversation or logic which she couldn’t immediately follow. She began to look forward to going to school. She felt surprised and confused for the first time in her life. She learned to love the feeling of guessing, searching and not knowing. She got things wrong.
She followed him around, hanging off his every nonsensical word, occasionally writing them down in her notebook, a gift from her father before he couldn’t handle it any more and ran off with a cliché named Lola. The teachers said he wasn’t well. People occasionally looked sad or went quiet or whispered as he walked past, and she knew why. She knew everything about what was clinically wrong with him, but she didn’t care. She experienced mystery for the first time in her life, and she was rapturous.
This one's a little more romantic than my other stories. I wrote it very quickly during a really boring seminar, and haven't really edited it that much. Tell me what you think. I might make it longer, depending on if you think it works as an idea or not.