“On the night before she started high school, Katelyn set the book on the grill. A scrape. A flash of orange. A whiff of sulfur. The corner caught, and the edges of the pages glowed. Aunt Ninny had given her the diary for her thirteenth birthday, saying with a wink, ‘A girl needs a place for her secrets.'”
As a mom, I know that back-to-school shopping gets expensive. When my kids were in elementary school, I spent around $50 per kid for school supplies. The amount went up when they hit middle school and had multiple teachers asking for stuff. When it was time for high school, there were things like large capacity flash drives and engineering-grade calculators that jacked my totals above the triple-digit watermark. Multiply that by three kids, and add in the uniforms and backpacks and other things my progeny deemed necessary, and it made me clutch my pearls at the checkout.
As a teacher, though, I am unapologetic about my supply list.
This CNF piece led to a longer piece of flash fiction that I’m currently looking for a home for. I seem to write a lot about mothers and daughters, inspired by my own gorgeous, funny, sweet, smart girl, and my own relationship with my mom.
This piece comes from a bad, scary place. My teacher brothers and sisters in America will likely find it all too familiar, unfortunately. It begins with a term with which you may not be familiar: a “hard corner” is the place you hide where an active shooter cannot see you from the hallway door or window. Some schools even encourage (or mandate) that their teachers mark the hard corner areas on the floors of their classroom.