it was a long time ago that I was thirteen.
and when I was thirteen I came from far far away…from the island of borneo in fact…the third largest island in the world, I always have to insist to people who have no clue where it is. we flew on a big plane over a vast ocean, the pacific I’m sure, and hopscotched across the north american continent, from los angeles to new york, from toronto to vancouver…and oh, we were in hawaii, too. from vancouver we took a car ferry to victoria island, I mean vancouver island, and drove for miles and miles into dark woods and then we finally arrived at the lake where my new school was. it wasn’t very big and it had old buildings and new buildings that were painted white making them very bright and clean in the sunshine. the headmistress’ office was the first place we had to stop in. her name was miss brown and she came from england to make sure that we private school girls get a proper english education. she had a nice smile and bushy eyebrows and I was not afraid of her…maybe just a little. oh, and she drove a dark green mercedes that she parked beside the kitchen door. next I had to get fitted for the school uniform by mrs. march. she was very old and walked with a stoop and had very bad teeth, well, almost no teeth. she measured me up and down and round and round and looked at me sideways with her runny eyes. when she spoke, air slushed out with her words and she never smiled once (because of her teeth, I’m sure). my first night at my new school was in a dormitory room for four girls. the other new girl, luisa, was from mexico and she did not speak any english. she did not smile much either…I think she was wearing braces. she collected frogs (no, not real ones) and cried a lot because she really missed home. sometimes we would cry together, but after christmas break she did not return. the other two girls, tracy and linda, were one grade older and were not so new anymore. they knew a lot about boys because that was all they talked about. sometimes they would talk all night long, which kept luisa and me awake listening to their stupid stories. but I think I learned something The Architect of Conceit, by Lee Hutzulak Graphite on paper, 13”x16", Summer 2003
about canadian girls and their ways.