In elementary school, administration required my mom to send a handwritten note to excuse me from class
My mom always wrote in cursive
so I could not read the letter.
I felt like a grown up
when I deciphered her messages.
As if her calligraphy hid something much obscener than “Please dismiss Ashlyn at 1:15 for the dentist.”
My eagerness to do “grown up things”
was misplaced. I know, now.
I miss the days when “b”
was for “banana”
and not something
your classmates call you
behind your back.
I learned to write cursive in second grade–the last year the Board of Education
mandated teachers to include cursive in their curriculum.
mandate: verb; require something to be done
I wonder when I learned that word.
In class, with my sharpened #2 pencils with pristine pink erasers, I was ready to write.
I learned cursive quickly.
I struggled with my "Z’s" and "Q’s"
and the lowercase letter "b"
I habitually wrote my “b” as a lowercase “l”
With a benign growth off the right side.
Practice makes habit, Not perfect.
Ten years since I was first introduced to cursive.
I have learned
The brontosaurus never existed.
Benjamin Franklin, however extraordinary, was not a president.
Strong chemical bases conduct electricity and
typically contain a hydroxyl group–the letters OH.
Saying “I love you” does not require her to say “I love you” back.
The letters on my transcript matter more than my personal character.
I have yet to master that lowercase “b.”
But I could not find words I would spell with “b” even if
I knew how to use the letter.
I didn't need the "b" to say "I'm sorry"
yet “I’m sorry” didn't stop my best friend
from not being the best anymore.
I miss when my biggest concern was learning how to write the alphabet in cursive
“b” is no longer for banana. “b” is broken, betrayed.
And “b” is for barbeque,
and, no, I did not get invited to that party
yes, I spend my Friday nights at home.
"b" is for bed–
as in I have cried more than I have slept in the past two days
as in who am I? and
what have I become?
"b" is for backbone,
as in my spine is permanently bent from hauling my Bio books
as in I have been hunched over my desk all night long
as in, I won’t defend you when that boy claims you are the letter
that I could never quite perfect in cursive
B is for a 3.0gpa,
as in you’re not getting into that college
as in you won’t amount to anything
as in you’re just a little bit above average.
What’s wrong with our school system?
Where should I begin?