Unchecked Ordinary

By Rebecca Arnold

PROMPT — No one noticed ...

No one noticed...


that six-year-old redhead with the freckles who stood behind her mother’s leg. Smart enough, Cute enough, Not-one-paper-out-of-order enough. Alphabet, check Numbers, check Singing, check Drawing, check Bottle of worry tears stopped up, check?

…Until she puked. I barely remember before each puking episode, but I definitely remember after. The custodian with his can of kitty litter stuff admonishing me to aim for the toilet. Teacher’s rolling eyes. Looking at my Velcro. The gym teacher yelled. I never liked yelling. Beyond that, I have no idea why he induced puking every school day before gym. Perhaps the screaming, shoe squeaking, ball bouncing, kid hollering reminded me of the chaos at home: sometimes loud, but mostly the quiet simmer of oil. Nothing quite right, though there weren’t even words for not right. I couldn’t puke there, in that place of ENOUGH, TOO MUCH, UNCHECKED ORDINARY.

Rebecca Arnold is a certified life and leadership coach, mother, wife, attorney by training, and writer. Her work has been published in Literary Mama and Bright Magazine. Rebecca writes from Kennebunkport, Maine.