• Maggie Levine

ArtWrite 8/20: Charly Palmer

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

Even though Kayla was so tiny and flat-chested that it was easy to imagine her with a doll in her arms, she carried herself with the self-possession of a worldly adult. Joely loved watching her eyes behind her little glasses when she dug into a math problem, narrowing then igniting when she’d solved it. She practically glowed with intelligence.

Every year Joley had one or two hard-working-by-the book girls who followed instructions to the letter. Girls who never took any risks for fear of getting a bad grade, who flipped their assignments over the second she returned them to get to the mark at the bottom.

Not Kayla.

When Jo passed back homework, Kayla would start at the top of the page and slowly work her way down, nodding her head as she feasted on Jo’s efforts from the night before: circled punctuation errors, the suggestions­ for greater clarity or development, encouraging words followed by exclamation marks squeezed into the margin. Once Kayla finished, she’d go back and read the comments again, unprompted, while the kids around her shoved their papers into their backpacks or didn’t notice them drifting to the floor as they got up from their seats. An hour of work wasted.

--Maggie Levine


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