11/29/2012 10:48 am ET

I'm Tired Of Thinking About Boys

One of my first memories from school has little to do with actual learning. I can’t picture my second grade teacher’s face, or remember a single project we worked on, but I remember the boy who sat across from me at my group table as though he were standing in front of me right now. David. He had brown hair and deep-set eyes and always looked a little too angry for a seven-year-old. And I remember arguing, him picking on me and teasing me in front of the whole class. I remember one time, in particular, when I got so angry at his teasing that I stood up and yelled at him loud enough that the teacher stopped the class to put me in a time out. I remember him saying that I wasn’t even a girl, that I was loud and ugly and weird. I remember my teacher calming me down, telling me that he was only doing this because he liked me most of all, deep down. I remember his theoretical admiration of me not quite lessening the sting of his infantile cruelty.

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