Charlie’s the new kid in the class and boy, does he stand out. It’s not that he’s funky lookin’ with a crooked smile or poofy hair. Nah. He looks pretty normal. It’s just that he’s new, and we never had a new kid before. I live in a small town, ya see, one that you can’t even find on the maps. Try, I dare you! Look up “Daisyville, Tennessee” and nothin’ will pop up. So when you go through middle school knowing who ya cheat off of, who ya avoid, and who ya befriend, and then some new kid shows up with only a month of 8th grade left, what are ya supposed to think of him? And he don’t talk like us either. He talks all fancy cuz he’s from Connecticut. He just sits in the back of the classroom reading all these books with real small print so we don’t talk to him and he don’t try to talk to us. But today was different. Cuz while Mr. Smith was writing some dumb Shakespeare lines on the chalkboard and blabbin’ his mouth about comparing a chick to a summa’s day, Charlie stood up and threw the sharpest paper airplane at his head. Hit him right smack dead on his bald spot. And I’ll tell ya, Charlie wasn’t the new kid anymore. He was a god.
My Grandpa Eugene was the greatest paper airplane maker in the world. He traveled to London, China, and even Australia showing people how to master the art of paper airplanes. He was going to teach me how to make a folded piece of freedom this Tuesday. Grandpa Eugene was going to fly down to our new house from Japan, but not all planes are as sturdy as his paper airplanes. The principal called me down; the sound of “ooooos” from my classmates followed me as the secretary brought me into his office. I should’ve known something was wrong when he called me “son” and offered me a piece of caramel. The principal said I could go home early if I wanted to, but what would I do back at the house? I would just end up sitting in front of the glass cabinet that held some of Grandpa’s greatest work, and think about how we would never need to expand the showcase; that those are all the paper airplanes Grandpa Eugene would ever make. I walked back into English class and Mr. Smith was teaching us Sonnet 18, but I learned that last year. So instead of listening, I folded last night’s homework, mimicking Grandpa’s motions. There is a certain feeling that takes over your body when you are finally able to fly the perfect paper airplane. I don’t know if I could even explain it in words; Grandpa Eugene probably could. You feel it in your fingertips and surprisingly also in your left big toe. I released it and wow. I was aiming for the trash but hey, I’ll have time to work on my craft during detention.
Nobody thought a tree could fly, but look at me go. I’m soaring.
Livvy Krakower is a high school senior from New Jersey. She has been previously published in Jewish Women of Words, The Writers Circle Journal, and others.