Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Sub Notes: A Thousand Lashes

A little sixth grader raised her hand as I was walking around the classroom. She indicated the child in front of her. “Aren’t those the most amazing eyelashes you’ve ever seen?” I looked. Probably a sound came out of my mouth because I felt as if I’d been shoved backwards by the sheer wind force of those appendages.

They resided on a very masculine-looking little boy.

The boy blushed with the horror of his affliction. He looked down, and the lashes seemed to curtsy.

“He cuts them!” the little girl said. The agony, the envy, the indignation and the grief were painful in her voice.

“Nooo!” I grieved with her.

They were exquisite. They looked like an ad for mascara that is supposed to transform the eyes like magic. But these were ironically naked of trickery. They were real, and they were spectacular. They were glossy, sleek, raven-black, at least ¾ of an inch long. They were as uniform as the ridges on a feather, but they swooped upward in a unanimous arc that brought to mind the unfolding wings of a magnificent black swan.

When the boy looked down (with abject embarrassment at his deformity), I half expected him to lift off his chair a bit.

One thing I love about sixth graders is that they haven’t yet learned how to hide certain feelings. Yet they are old enough to try. So in those eyes—which I only caught a glimpse of when the protective wings lifted—I saw a simultaneous war of pride and shame.

“Wow, those are....” Fortunately I caught myself in time. “Those are very handsome,” I said.

 As I turned to walk away, the lashes took a modest bow.

High School Boy (while stroking fuzz on his upper lip): “Dude, when this mustache grows in all fat, I’ll look awesome.” 
High School Girl (overhearing): “Dude, when that mustache grows in fat, you’ll look like one of those porn guys.”


  1. He CUTS them? That is even more impressive than his peeper-plumage! I can't manage to trim my own bangs. Imagine being able to so skillfully wield scissors mere centimeters in front of your own eyeballs.

  2. Did you fall into them in order to find out they were real and spectactular?

  3. Most of my male students have those same lashes. I think I read somewhere that it goes back to primitive man, when the makes were the hunters and the women gatherers. They needed the long lashes for protection. I lose mine and find them dangling from a nostril now and then :)

  4. Wow! I wish that you could have taken a picture of them. He will use those to his advantage the older that he gets. Handsome eyelashes ... it doesn't get much better than that!

    Happy New Year, Tammy.

    Kathy M.

  5. Perhaps it hearkens back to basic biology, where males must attract females through their spectacular plumage, or should I say lashage?

    Critter Alley

  6. I love the entire story you told of those lashes... your descriptions. Beautiful, like those lashes.

  7. Boys always have better eyelashes. It's SO unfair!


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