THE BOY looked at me as though he might find something in my eyes. “Why don’t you ever talk?” he said.
I slumped down in my seat. My face reddened. I couldn’t say what I wanted to say — that I didn’t know what had gone wrong, but I’d been born with this broken shy part. That my mother said when I was a toddler and an adult spoke to me, I’d either hide behind my mom or pretend to fall asleep.
“I do talk,” I said, and immediately felt sleepy.
“You really don’t,” he said.
“I do,” I whispered. I wanted to say, “I may not talk, but I do write poetry about how brown your eyes are…” I was thirteen, at the beginning of years of not saying what I really wanted to say. His eyes were so brown. Like a muddy river, my soul…
“Whatever,” I said.
The next week he was dating someone else. One of those normal, talking girls.