Art of Escapism:
Mrs. Reynolds dips her sponge into the bucket and begins washing down the blackboard. I silently mouthed the words before they dissolved in soapy water. Numbers were the last to go as the date disappeared with a final wipe and time was erased forever. Today is Friday; the last period before March Break. Somehow, it felt like a fresh start, as if maybe this one simple act could re-set the universe, transforming me into somebody new.
My name draws muted response. Loud enough to be overheard. Quiet enough to be overlooked. I followed the direction of sound to the back of the classroom where a gaggle of eighth grade girls huddled together in menacing tableau.
“Where did you get that outfit? I absolutely love it! It reminds me of the jogging suit my grandma bought in Florida.”
The taste of bile burns the back of my throat. I pretend to ignore the hateful verbiage, as one-at-a-time, each girl took turns swinging the bat.
“Hey, Laura! What’s that on your face? Better buy some Oxy before you crack the mirror again.”
“Hey! Laura! What’s the name of your shampoo? Eau de grease? Your hair has that fresh from the sewer look.”
Every “Hey, Laura” drove me further away and deeper into an alternate reality.
A beautiful woman ascends the stage and accepts a golden statuette. Her face resembles mine in a flattering, if-I-were-a-movie-star kind of way. She steps up to the microphone and addresses the audience with her head held high and shoulders squared.
“First of all, I would like to thank the academy for this great honor. I am extremely humbled to be included in the company of such talented women. Meryl, Glenn, your work has inspired me throughout the years and I share this award with both of you,” she exclaims with regal excitement.
Suddenly an abrupt noise makes you jump, jarring your senses – the dismissal bell.
“Okay people, you are free to go. Bundle up and enjoy the break,” says Mrs. Reynolds.
I waited for the classroom to empty without turning around, even when a hand reached over my shoulder to deposit a crumpled piece of paper, just begging to be read. So I did, it was a score sheet ranking appearance from one to ten. Desolation creeps in as I scanned the page and saw underneath my name at the top of the page, a giant zero flanked the percent sign.
I close my eyes and willfully teleported back to the Oscars and the lovely lead actress: inhabiting her body, owning her confidence, strutting instead of cowering, apologizing to no one.
“I would also like to acknowledge all of the girls in my junior high school who paid extra special attention to me,” she said. “Thank you for teaching me to rise above the superficial and for giving me the gift of empathy. The motivation that you provided is the reason why I am standing here tonight instead of sitting next to you on the couch. You made me dream big and big dreams cannot be denied.”
Alison Ogilvie-Holme began writing in earnest over the past year, publishing micro fiction on such sites as Friday Flash Fiction, Detritus, 101 Words, 121 Words, and Ad Hoc Fiction. Her flash fiction has appeared in Spelk Fiction, Down in the Dirt, and Chronicle Stories. Alison is drawn to exploring characters who are perfectly flawed (much like herself). She lives in Canada with her husband and identical twin daughters.