Fragments of a Girl
Chevy Chase, MD
Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School
For some reason you thought I was afraid of lightning, and there was a girl inside of me that went along with it, because I liked the way your eyes crinkled when you smiled, the way your hands seemed at once mighty and nimble, your lips a separate daydream. What I really feared was that you’d only stick around to see what my hands and lips could do. At school there are girls with long billowing hair, their heads held higher than my hopes. I bet boys don’t think they’re afraid of things. I bet they stick around.
I've wrestled with this before, but now I come to believe that I am fixed precariously between vulnerability and impenetrability—the girl I should be and the girl I want to be, all spread out on the branches of frustration over the girl that I am.
In late June I’m the girl clutching the sloping handlebars of a turquoise bike on one-lane roads beside New England waters. At night the sun dips beyond our eyes, casting halos of hued vibrance, but it’s not enough for me. It’s not enough for the girl whose mind is hosting you at her dinner party.
The girl inside of me tries hard not to be the girl that I am. She nods and laughs and watches your shows, lets it slip that you haven’t asked about her middle name or her first dog. Fears that she doesn’t measure up to the other girls who’ve already watched the shows. Do you know their middle names?
Then there are the girls at the party. Am I the girl at the party? Do the girls at the party get the chance to tell you their middle names? Do they take the chance?
The girl that I am thinks often of the girl my mother was. Did she have the billowing hair? The lips and hands? Did she tell him her middle name? Was she impenetrable?
What you didn’t take the time to learn is that I am everything at once. I am the girl in the blurry pictures, the girl at the party, the one with billowing hair. I am impenetrable, vulnerable, my middle name is Goodwin, and my first dog was named Carter. I am the girl who cries a lot and doesn’t know why. I am the girl on the bike and the girl in the hallway, the girl in the basement and the girl by the window. The girl with high hopes and the girl who dreams of forever. Your departure struck me with the particular notion that the girl that I am shouldn’t have been known by you. And now when I see lightning, I think maybe I am a little scared. Scared of the girl inside me who agreed with you in such a fleeting haze.
"Fragments of a Girl" is a whimsical, approachable piece of prose that features beautifully crafted imagery and motifs and speaks to insecurity and relationships in a refreshing way. Potent and empowering.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Anna Roberson is seventeen and a member of the Class of 2020 at Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School in Bethesda, Maryland. She works on her school’s literary magazine, Chips, and takes workshops at Writopia Lab DC. When she’s not writing, Anna can be found drinking coffee, babysitting, or driving around to Frank Ocean.