Bubble Girl

There are second-graders touring the library today, and my first thought is how cute they are; they’re just a few months older than my niece, and it makes me happy to see kids her age. There’s a little girl scratching another girl’s back, almost maternally, which kills me. One little blonde girl is holding her teacher’s hand.

Then I remember, suddenly, what I can’t see from the outside—that these sweet-looking children have their own hierarchy, a social structure that probably makes some of them dread going to school. I remember what elementary school was like for me, and I realize that although I can’t tell who is who, some of these kids are bullies; some are taking their place as the “cool” ones; and some of these adorable, tiny children have already learned how arbitrarily cruel people are.

I started this post a while ago and left it sitting as a draft, and now I can’t remember why I named it “Bubble Girl.” Maybe I was thinking that I need a bubble, only to keep out feelings instead of germs.



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