Dispatch 064

Free write for a book idea

People have been calling me Charlie ever since I realized that parent-given names are a formality. They in no way dictate what you ask to be called. The name on my passport and birth certificate and other such necessary documents is Violet Ann Straiden. Turns out it was a pretty ridiculous name to pick for me, seeing as my eyes are also violet. And only pets should have names that describe their physical traits. I suppose my parents had probably picked out the name before I was born and so were left in an odd situation when I popped out with purple eyes. I'm glad they have accepted that Charlie just makes more sense.

I like the way Charlie sounds and also that it is somewhat gender neutral, because, although I am happy to be a female, I don't want anyone to think I can't choose to attain masculine-associated skills if I want to. Like dunking a basketball. I can't right now because I've only reached about 75% of my height potential, but I can one day if I want to. Charlie also makes me sound playful, which I can be. But sometimes I get so bogged down in seriousness that it's nice to hear someone call me Charlie and remember to "chill out", like my sister says. 

I'm 11. It's an excellent age because it's a prime number AND also the first successive number with three syllables AND my lucky number. I'm going to be sad when I turn 12 because 12 is kind of a bummer number. My dad says I'm "11 going on 60" because I like to spend time with old people, like my neighbor Edgar and his labrador Titus, who are 67 and 81 respectively (in human years). Edgar and I get along well because he doesn't mind if I come over to pet Titus and don't say much at all. I have a lot of thoughts in my head but mostly I don't like to say them out loud. A lot of people don't get them or don't want to. I can have a normal, pleasant conversation, but I have to quiet my brain to do so.

I always wear my hair in a long braid down my back. I've learned to do it myself because mom and dad are busy in the morning. This way, I never have to decide on a hairdo and my hair is out of my face, making it easier to do things. I don't understand why other girls in my class are always changing their hair. Seems like a lot of work. 

Enough about me. My sister Nadia is 3 years older and never wears her hair in a braid. She rides her skateboard a lot at the skatepark down the road, which I think is cool, but doesn't appeal to me. I have a low risk tolerance, and anyway, most of my afternoons are spent running and reading. Nadia doesn't like to run or read. I sometimes think Nadia might like to replace me with a different kind of sister, but I can't do anything about that.

My dad runs a lot. He says "running runs in the family", which he laughs at because he uses both meanings of run. He owns a store that sells all the things you might need to go running - shoes, little shorts, various containers to hold water. Mom says he wanted to be a professional runner but he got hurt, which I think is a good thing because fame goes to people's heads and I like my Pop how he is.

Just today, I started Middle School. I was excited because in Middle School they let you take classes that are above your grade level. I'm super bored with math, so I was interested to see what geometry would be like. Geometry was my first class of my first day. The teacher's name is Steve Marshall, but we call him Mr. Marshall because this isn't elementary school any more. Mr. Marshall wears wire rim glasses and a polo shirt, like a stock photo math teacher would. He seems kind in the way like he might teach the class even if he wasn't paid to do so. I sat in the third column of desks in the very back row, because I could see the whole room from there. I don't like when people are sitting behind me and get to see what I'm doing. The desks we have in middle school are two person desks. No one sat next to me, which was nice because I got to spread out my school stuff.

One of my favorite days of the year is when we get to go school supplies shopping. My dad always takes me. And we have a list. I like how new erasers smell and how perfect they are, how untouched. We always have to get new erasers even if I haven't used up the ones from the year before. Has anyone in the history of the universe ever really used up an entire eraser? I mean, what would you even do with it when it got to be the size of a pea?

I run around the store and dad follows with the basket, and we pick out new folders, notebooks, and mechanical pencils. This year I even got to get a new calculator especially for advanced math.

Mr. Marshall showed us how to used the calculators today. We started to learn about different kinds of triangles and then we used our calculators to find out the lengths of the sides. One thing I especially love about math is that it is made up of so many patterns. Once you learn a pattern, you can apply it to roughly infinity number of problems. It makes the world feel more clear, like there are things that are definitely and wholly true 100% of the time.

My best friend Rowan lives in Florida. We met when she was visiting Denver with her Aunt. We were both at a book signing for our favorite other Morgan Thieron, who writes the Dragongirl series (it's way cooler than it sounds). I've wanted to meet her pretty much since the minute I read her first book, because I think we have similar minds. So mom took me to the signing. It turns out she didn't really have time to talk, but Rowan and her Aunt sure did. We talked about all the books and I told her how I'm reading them a third time because I don't want to miss any details. She's only read them twice, but she said that was enough. My mom got Rowan's Mom's email and when we went home, I made sure she sent her a message so I could give Rowan some more book recommendations. Ever since then, my mom will write emails (on my behalf) to Rowan, every night. Then she prints out Rowan's responses so I can read them. I keep them in a folder in my bookcase that is getting quite full. Maybe one day when I have a cell phone, Rowan and I can text each other.

Rowan is pretty much my only friend. There are some girls from when I used to play soccer who sometimes invite me over. I don't really want to go, but I do anyway. I think it's nice to give my mom a break. Sadie and Tricia are the main two. We actually do a lot of things together, but it's usually our parents organizing everything and we just kind of go along with it. We had lunch today at school, but it was interesting because neither of them paid attention when I tried to tell them about how I was teaching my dog to play dead. They were kind of looking around at everyone else. But I told the story anyway because it is an interesting story and I wanted to hear it. And at the end of the story I took Tricia's cookie from her lunch because she wasn't looking. The bell rang and she didn't seem to notice it was gone.

Rowan is 12 but also in 6th grade. She started school three days ago so she's already told me all about her first days. Her classes are really similar to mine, except she is starting French this year and isn't in a very hard math class. I told her that she has to teach me some of the French words she learns so I can have a head start for next year.