WANTING TO BE WHO WE'RE NOT
 

Creative Nonfiction by Queer Writers
Edited by Jim Tushinski and Jim Van Buskirk
Now available from Harrington Park Press

 
 
 

PRIMARY WISHES (excerpt)

by Larry Connolly

Agnes Antoniso sits next to me and cries all through class because she wants to be at home and Sister Mary Joseph scolds her to STOP THAT YOUNG LADY YOU'RE IN FIRST GRADE NOW and OUR LORD NEVER CRIED and LOOK AT THAT BOY SITTING NEXT TO YOU HE'S NOT CRYING IS HE? Then, because I'm that boy, I throw up my lunch, which had been chicken noodle soup from a thermos. All the noodles are swimming on top of my desk and Agnes' desk, too, and now she is really screaming and Sister Mary Joseph is screaming, but I am fascinated by the sight of all those noodles because this is the first time I realize what I eat is waiting in my stomach just like the wolf's stomach in Peter and the Wolf.

I wish I lived alone in the forest. Life would be much better.

*


Broadway Babies' volunteers clearly have an inside road into Sister Mary Frank's affections because whenever someone puts up their hand to volunteer for a particular section of our Second Grade talent show she smiles and says GOOD BOY or GOOD GIRL, depending, and laughs and clasps her hands to her heart because she has a class with so much talent for everything. So I raise my hand for every section and she laughs and clasps her hands about me and is very overjoyed because she DIDN'T REALIZE YOU SANG! and she DIDN'T REALIZE YOU DANCED! and YOU'RE A STORY TELLER AS WELL? and YOU'RE GOING TO DRAW SOMETHING ON THE BOARD FOR US, TOO? I really like the attention Sister is giving me and how my classmates are finding more things to talk with me about. It's too bad the Broadway Babies day comes and I'm so scared that I just stand in front of the class in silence and won't make a sound and won't look down from the ceiling. ALL RIGHT THEN WE'LL JUST LET YOU STAND UP HERE IN FRONT UNTIL YOU DO THE THINGS YOU VOLUNTEERED FOR, WE CAN SIT HERE IN SILENCE UNTIL YOU SHOW US YOUR TALENT, NO RECESS NO LUNCH NO DISMISSAL UNTIL YOU DEMONSTRATE YOUR TALENT.

I wish I had the talent to make myself invisible.