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Thursday, January 24, 2013


by Andrea Marcusa

Image source: Mansfield News Journal

The most pointless thing of all was how he wasn’t allowed to have his name stitched on his school knapsack – strangers can steal a child that way.  So were those vaccinations against diphtheria, meningitis, polio and the morning vitamin he hated – a chewable pink bear.  Or that car seat he was made to sit in on rides to school, even though most of his friends no longer had to use one, so futile. But there was something about his name – he’d taught himself to write it all by himself when he was two. Wanted everyone to use his full name. Not a nickname, not a shortened version. A good strong one for a boy.  Greek, after an apostle, after a king, and his grandfather in Alaska.  But that morning in the classroom with them all scattered around--there was no way to tell--no trace of it anywhere on him. But inside the neck of his too big, long-sleeved striped jersey, a strange, gloved hand peeled back the collar where he was found limp and face down, and that’s when they spotted it -- in black markered script. Dear child, in those first minutes, even your name was gone, displaced by the one on a hand-me-down from your brother, now a fourth grader in a classroom on the other end of the school, where he was crouched trembling, hiding in the closet.

Andrea Marcusa's  work has appeared in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Ontario Review, The Antigonish Review, Copper Nickel, NewSouth, and other publications. Her work appeared in the essay collection, In the Fullness of Time (Simon and Schuster). She was a finalist in the Ontario Review’s 2007 fiction competition and winner of the Antigonish Review 2008 Fiction competition. She divides her time between literary writing and working in the areas of health care and sustainable agriculture.  She lives in New York City with her husband, two sons and pet cockatiel, Turko.