“Eleanor, a Girl” by Zoe Stoller

Eleanor scribbled, she scrabbled, she scrobbled, she was a visionary, she was a hobo, she was a child, she couldn’t decide. She saw the world’s pinks and purples but ignored the greens and yellows. She was a warm person, a warm-blooded person, she poked the bracelets on her arm with that warmth, she poked the fat on her stomach with that warmth, she poked the errant hairs on her eyebrows with that warmth.

Eleanor was wearing an old Yankee baseball cap that glided on top of her curlicue corkscrew curls like a salmon swimming upstream, then downstream, then flopping on the side of the riverbank because it was tired as hell. She could hear anxiety clicking clacking clooking clucking against her thighs as the salmon slowly took its last breath and her hat settled silently into its nest.

Eleanor had experience in her school’s conga drumming club, so she manipulated her pair of scissors with an immaculate syncopated rhythm. The offbeat came AND went AND it SOUNded SO short AS she CUT anGLES in HER curls–

Eleanor scribbled scrabbled scrobbled on the hallway closet as she sprayed Victoria’s Secret perfume on her sweaty body. She was a visionary, she was a hobo, she choked on perfume.

Eleanor’s curlicue corkscrew curls mumbled amongst themselves as she dipped her salmon- colored crayon in and out of the closet door’s grooves, feeling the syncopated BUMP BUMP vibrate in her shoulder.

Eleanor was a leftie.

Eleanor was a prodigy.

Eleanor would stare out the window and try to change the weather or try to knock down the buildings with her amber laser eyes but then she realized she was tired as hell.

Eleanor legally changed her name to Jill, then changed it back to Eleanor, then resigned herself to an average school, met a pristine man, had some curly-haired kids, and saw the world a little more clearly.

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