I’m crouching on the forest floor studying a rock while Rachel tells the other kids that my nose is too big and my mouth is too big and my waist is too big, or I’m pretending to study a rock, really I’m looking at the rock and wishing I was the kind of person who picks up a rock and smashes it into a tiny, exactly the right size nose, someone who bloodies blonde hair, but I’m the kind of person who looks at a rock really hard, so hard that when Mr. Kieler calls for the class to gather at the redwood grove I miss it, and when I look up the whole class is gone and I walk from the rock the way I think they went but no one’s there so I go back to the rock again and again until there’s a starburst of footprints in the dirt starting from the rock and that’s when I hear, far away, too far away, the sound of the school bus, and I already ate my granola bar and I don’t have any water and on the bus they’re all singing On Top Of Spaghetti, on the bus there’s an empty seat in the back but I always sit there by myself, so there’s no one to see that I’m gone, no one to say, turn this bus around.
Sage Tyrtle‘s stories have been featured on NPR, CBC, and PBS. She is a Moth GrandSLAM winner. When she was five she wanted to be a princess until her dad explained that princesses live in a dystopian patriarchy, so she switched to being a writer instead. Find her on Twitter (@sagetyrtle).