day 17: persist.

“I have brushed my teeth./ This day and I are even.”    ― Vera Pavlova

You were absent that day.

You were absent that day there was a filmstrip on how to get through all this.

You were absent that day they taught about blood, bodies, growth spurts and persistence.

You were absent that day they explained how to survive an internalized attack.

You missed out on a presentation on safe oxygen intake.

You never learned how to properly handle life.

You often forget to wash your hands because no one advised you on this.

You haven’t owned a hairbrush in over a decade. You have more knots on your head than historical dates memorized and there was that time you were kissed and they could not remove their finger from your tangle.

You only look both ways when crossing a street if there is something that catches your attention both ways. You forget about stop signs and traffic lights because, again, you were absent that day.

You were absent that day they talked about appetite reduction and strength training and the appropriate presentation of genders. You’ve experimented with dresses and hair barrettes. You still do not know how to wear lipstick. Must I remind you, you were absent that day.

You were absent that day they handed out invitations. And your address was never correctly marked and they misspelled your name.

You were told it was epic. You were told that filmstrip addressed every topic you always wondered about. There was no Internet back then; you could not google the answers.

The next day everyone was quoting it. You were absent; have you forgotten? So you stood, silently cradling the wall with your hips and curved spine. You tried to memorize the summaries but everyone spoke too softly to be remembered.

You had stomach flu or a test the next day, one of which caused you to be absent.

The one and only day you remain home during school hours is the one and only day they taught it.

There was no make-up day to watch it.

Some say that filmstrip no longer exists.

Some tease that it never did and that day you were absent was nothing special; you are just looking for a reason to understand not knowing.