They were alphabetized by the names of students. Girls first, then boys. The teacher found them spilling out my desk. No, I wasn’t going to throw them out. Isn’t it reasonable? Of course, we need to keep track of how many times the prettiest girl in class fumbles a word. Why? Because though she may be the prettiest girl, I’m at least literate.
The names of the boys in class, ranked by ear size, then re-ranked by order of importance on the play ground. Billy: large, but plays basketball. Evan: large, but plays soccer. Aeryk: medium, does karate (not well). Christopher: small, plays the tuba (not a sport).
License plates. Faces of gas station attendants in order of attractiveness. List of Little Debbie snacks consumed in a day. Miles. States. Times Dino farted in his kennel in the backseat of the mini-van. Weather (as we entered Indiana, in all caps: SNOW).
Number of times and manners in which Stephen Burkhart asks me out (each time, I refuse). Names of girls who call me a dyke ranked by how Amish they appear. Number of buggies that pass my house in a day, time marked by page number of the book I was reading. How many times my dad and my mom cuss (at each other).
Places where I am hit with a soccer ball. Names of teammates that speak badly about me when they think I can’t hear. Dates which I ask for a sewing machine. Reasons why I need a sewing machine. First boyfriend and days that I avoid his lips. Places I hide from said boyfriend (#1). Schools we lose swim meets to.
(I am too awkward and I avoid photographs…ie, didn’t have time to scan the humbling brace-faced yearbook pic)
Boyfriend’s(#2) various band names. Times I feel uncomfortable in a crowd of “scene kids.” Ways to possibly reinvent myself. Times and ways my sister makes me feel inferior (I never tell her).
Places where I am photographed for the yearbook. Times and places I hear my name around the school. Scale of how popular I feel from day to day. Names of boys that ask me out. Ways I refuse. Dances I go to. Partners I dance with. Names of boys who want to kiss me. Names of boys I let kiss me. Various ensembles ranked in order of appeal to female peers, re-ranked in order of sex appeal. Schools where I win races for the swim team. Schools where I get a red card on the soccer field.
Locations of Colleges I apply for ranked by appearance, re-ranked by location to boyfriend (#3). Times and places boyfriend says ‘I love you.’ Number of cat-calls from audiences during first lead role in high-school play ranked in order of importance (friends being 1, boyfriend being 5, people I don’t know being 10). Places I study for academic teams ranked from quietest of loudest. Dates where I feel guilty for quitting sports. Times my mother and father fight, or mention divorce ranked in order of fear I feel. Dates and length of time I cry on the phone to boyfriend. Countdown to graduation. Dates and times I want to kill boyfriend for ‘breaking my heart’. Dates and times I consider punching out ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend. Dates and times I am thankful not to be getting married. Countdown to college.