Roll Call: Anne

is the 14 year old girl who went away
to a new summer camp one year
and decided to change her name, to see
if the reason the other girls
at school and at previous camps
didn’t like her was because of her
weird name, if it somehow
made her act weird. her experiment kind of

she named herself after
Anne of Green Gables,
of course, and insisted on the
extra “e” as the only correct
spelling, even though her own
aunt is named Ann. (she felt guilty
about that, of course, but not
enough to refrain from doing it.)

when two of the older boys –
sixteen and eighteen, respectively,
frattish and jock-like, bros
before bro culture existed –
teased her and then said
they liked her
she was confused and
frightened and
assumed the worst, which was
that they didn’t really like her,
it was all a joke, a mean prank
to be revealed at a later date,
like Carrie winning
prom queen.

Anne wanted
nothing to do with them.
it was the shy boy, the geeky one,
the one who was her own age,
who talked to her for hours
that she was drawn to.
that first night when we
got there it was already dark
and all the kids
kind of lay in a big pile
by the campfire and Anne
was on this boy’s lap
and it was lovely and peaceful yet exciting but
the next morning when she had just
stumbled out of bed and sat
by the fire waiting for coffee,
so tired she couldn’t even
speak, he said hi to her and
she didn’t recognize him at first
in the daylight and accidentally
stared right through him
and didn’t answer. teenage
embarrassment and fragile
egos meant that first nice night
was competely canceled out by this.
she was too shy to apologize
or explain, and he probably thought she was
rejecting him for his looks
or lack thereof.

Anne truly, madly, deeply regrets
that one moment
to this day. she’s apologized
a million times since, to everyone
else in her life, just in case she is
doing it again, but nothing erases
that moral stain
from her character.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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