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Thursday, February 23, 2006


by Rochelle Ratner

All she ever wanted was for the boys to love her. To maybe
ask her out some Saturday night. But all they did was
tease. She skipped the school cafeteria most days,
preferring hunger to their insults, just as she learned from
fourth grade on (when she started "developing") not to use
the restrooms. She found seats at the back of every
classroom, slouching, hoping she wouldn't be called on. Not
that she wouldn't know the answers – she always knew
everything, which might have been part of the problem.
She just couldn't play dumb. And when the first boy who
ran his fingers through her just-washed hair, fondled then
slept with her, got her pregnant, there was no way anyone
could convince her to give it up. It was a boy, she just knew
it would be a boy. And he would love her. And her son's
high school friends would give her all the physical
attention she'd been so desperate for when she was their
age. All she ever wanted was to fit in, to feel like one of the
cool group, to be like the other girls, for the boys to love her.

Rochelle Ratner's books include two novels: Bobby's Girl (Coffee House Press, 1986) and The Lion's Share (Coffee House Press, 1991) and sixteen poetry books, including House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003) and Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, October 2005). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage: