I lied. I do remember my 5th grade teacher’s name. Mrs. Medillo. She said in my school year book that I was her “busy bee reader.” I kept track of all the books I read on index cards. I had a stack of them. I didn’t know how to score the books I read more than once. It seemed a miracle that because of redistricting I was able to spend 5th grade back at my old school Driscoll, except by this time my friends had moved on. We were different on a scale that only a tween would understand. I was desperate to read a friend, a book that loved me for who I was—somewhat nerdy, existential, an optimistic fatalist.
I could actually see Jo staring into the depth of her grief when she opened Beth’s hope chest, where the mementos of her short life were stored. Even today, my throat catches every time I read this passage. I am Jo, the writer, smudging the outside of my finger as my hand rushes over fresh ink on the page.
Secretly I nurture a secret power.