Below is a piece of prose from Crossroads IV written by Isabella Ronchetti, a ninth grader at Renaissance School. Thank you Isabella for sharing your words with us.
parade of the playdough planets: a diary of untruths
she combs my hair with her hands, pulls back every strand again and again then pulls back the inexistent strands that only serve to give her an excuse for staying longer. her fingertips are cold on my scalp, cold like my room and the window and the whole goddamn night. i don’t have a favorite color today.
my room smells like playdough. i’d never used playdough until yesterday with my little cousin, tomorrow. we molded it into neon planets, formed saturn’s perfect rings. tomorrow asked me if those planets that live in the sky with the stars are made of playdough, too. i told him probably. he said he wants to cut open a planet one day and find out. i told him i’ll be waiting by the window, watching the sky for the day he’ll come knock on my glass. and i took the perfect little moon i’d made from his bright blue playdough home with me.
i’ve started keeping a diary in which nothing i write is true. wonder how long she’ll stay here, combing back invisible strands of my hair. wonder if she’s still crying and staring at the hair in my mettle trash can as if waiting for it to sprout roots. somehow this is reassuring to her, somehow she believes that if she stays and combs long enough, all the hair i pulled out will grow back. maybe she thinks that while she’s combingcombingcombing nothing can happen to me, that in this moment i am immune.
the curtains i neglected to draw are too still. i watch the grieving parade of the stars and planets outside and feel the vibration of each step they take, drums drumming and trumpets trumpeting. my head is heavier than it was when she started combing my hair is thinner. thoughts the same as always. i am immobile, think about tomorrow.
so many things need to be added to my diary of untruths.
combingcombingcombing, she’s guarding me until morning.
*Photograph: Gentry Jefferson