In this piece, Bianca—who is now interning for Bomb Magazine—writes about her first professional rejection as a writer. My heart cries for her, my young protégé!
In fourth grade I got dumped at recess. We had been dating about three months, and from what I could tell — what with my nine years of shrewd emotional experience — we had pretty decent chemistry. We made each other laugh, we weren’t terrified to speak the way my sixth grade boyfriend and I would be, and in the third week of our love affair, we were the sparkplug of an epic grade-wide water fight. It made us infamous. When Language Arts resumed afterwards, a teacher aid ushered me to Mrs. O’Toole’s office (seriously, that was our nurse’s name) to borrow clothes because my diminutive nipples were visible through my white tank top. I probably loved it. I know Rich did. That was his name, Rich Damato. The nice Catholic Italian in an all-Jew neighborhood.
He ended it in the middle of the soccer field, my girlfriends and his buddies congregated on the sidelines, awaiting my ignominy. I exited stage left with a bowed head and watery eyes, nurturing rejection like the quintessential drama queen I was back then. Even though part of me was truly pained, most of me relished in the attention pity affords — a quality I’ve worked to rid myself of over the years.
By Bianca Ozeri
We met as children. With our backs to one another. And we spoke generically, like adults, of the heat, and the drunken homeless men, and how sweet the candy would taste if only we had a nickel. It would be weeks till he found the change to buy me a piece, and years that we perched ourselves on that corner, like rare birds, waiting for age to catch up to consciousness.
We drank pop that we clutched at the bottleneck and clanked together at the bases. Toasting because that’s what we ought to do. Right? We quickened a childhood by loving to soon; pocked our shoulders, claiming indifference to a sun we thought could never hurt.