Thursday, February 26, 2009


In third grade, Tyler rode his bike to the houses of the girls in the neighborhood, to deliver notes that said DO YOU LIKE ME YES OR NO. I was upstairs when he came by. My mom yelled for me to come down, but I refused. Tyler had a tail of hair that went all down his back. I think he lived near the traintracks.

The next day, we girls stood around in the schoolyard with our notes, and snickered when we saw him get off his bike.

Later that afternoon, Tyler cut the skin between his thumb and forefinger with a pair of scissors underneath his desk. Then he held up his bloody hand, astonished, victorious, like he couldn't imagine how that had happened, but wasn't it remarkable. Mrs. Novak freaked out and sent him to the nurse's office. She didn't ask anyone to go with him. She told us he had forgotten to take his ADD medication, but I knew the truth.


Tortilla ex Machina said...

Leigh – I love this poetry of a story. Have you considered writing a book with titles from the last 23 years (I am not sure exactly how old you are, forgive me) for example: 1994 / 1995 / 1996 with a single short beautiful entry for each page? I hate the word 'chapbook' but when I say that it would make a wonderful short book, you know what I mean.


Leigh Stein said...

Thanks, that's not a bad idea. Why do you hate the word chapbook? I'm 24, you were close.

Eric Z. said...

When I was in third grade, I cut myself in that very same place. In my case, though, it was from trying to carve my name into a wood block alongside the names of my fellow Webolos. Lots of blood. It didn't leave me wondering whether people liked me, but it did make me wonder if I could be trusted with a knife.

Tortilla ex Machina said...

Please do it – I think it would be inspired. Sometimes I find that if I have an organizing principle for a project (even if it is something like the name of a year for each chapter) it seems to be much easier.

I adore short books. I don't know what my problem with the word 'chapbook' is – I also hate 'vanity press' - I think all presses are vanity presses, don't you?

I don't know if you know this work ("Jokes Made in Heaven About Babies'), but it is one of my favorites, ever. Written by Lucy Thomas, but I believe that is actually Dave Eggers. It's wonderful to read -