Charles

I only knew Charles for two weeks
at a summer camp. I was nine, and
he was ten. He asked a lot of questions.

Questions are tricky. There is such a thing
as a bad one, and the people
who say otherwise are the best proof of it.

Charles asked me
on the ninth day of camp if boys
could love boys like boys
love girls.
I told Charles that he was being
gross and weird, and
that was the end of it.

I hadn’t been taught that answer.

Charles was quieter after that,
but I didn’t notice much at the time.

It’s been a while since I’d thought
about Charles, but I hope he would laugh
if he saw me now.

Boys vs. Girls

Eighth grade Global Civics class,
we were talking about gender.
I was in the chair in the corner.
The boys were being idiots,
and the girls were getting tired.
Adam said that boys were better,
and the rest of the boys agreed.
I was mostly quiet, but all the other
boys were talking. They thought
I was a boy, and I agreed.
I said: “it’s called human kind,
not huwoman kind.” Adam said,
“yeah! It’s called human kind,
not huwoman kind,”
and he gave me a fist bump.

I cried later that day in the bathroom,
and I wasn’t sure why.