Picture Day

Picture Day (January 2019, Round 3, Day 3)

Wisdom was ten. Her arms and legs were too long for her, and her hair was “always a fright” according to her grandfather (though he said it with love and a twinkle in his eye so she liked both the phrase and her hair), probably because of all the curls and it’s propensity to reach up rather than down at any given moment. She preferred books over people and she ate all her vegetables first at meals. Wisdom was a typical child, and a witness.

When she woke up that day her biggest concern was the circled words on the calendar that hung above her desk. She’d been watching those words get closer and closer as she marked off each day (a habit she picked up after reading a story about a stranded adventurer). “Picture Day” was, finally, today. 

She sat in bed with the covers pulled up to her armpits and thought. The problem with Picture Day wasn’t posing for the photo. Wisdom liked getting dressed up in her own way. You wouldn’t find her in a frilly dress or with her hair done just so on any day much less Picture Day. Wisdom had, since kindegarten, dressed as her favorite author (or one of them – it was simply too hard to pick just ONE author when there were so many good books out there) of the moment. She hadn’t wanted strangers to come into her classroom and take her picture back when she was little. The tears and howls she’d expended the Friday before that first Picture Day had shook the neighborhood. It wasn’t until her mother showed her that there was a picture – a posed picture – of an author on the back of one of her grown-up books that Wisdom relented…on one condition – that SHE be allowed to dress like an author.

The tradition was born and Picture Day was saved. Wisdom planned for Picture Day like the other children (their parents, really) planned for Halloween. She would decide who she was going to emulate and then work with her mother, father, and grandfather (mostly her grandfather since he was around after school) to gather or make the pieces needed to create her look. Picture Day itself was like a holiday – a sacred holiday – to Wisdom.

Picture Day as a ten year old was setting up to be different than it used to be. Wisdom didn’t feel very different and didn’t understand why her friends (were they really her friends?) had decided to start teasing her about her plans. Last week had been rough, and the jeering words of Ellery and Heidi still bounced around her head. She’d only ocnfided in her grandfather, and only then because he asked why she wasn’t smiling over their final preparations on Sunday. 

“Chin up, Wisdom,” he’d said. “You’re a smart enough girl to carry your name, and you’re smart enough to let the words of small people roll right off your back.”

Thinking about her grandfather’s words helped her throw off the covers. It was Picture Day, after all, and she wasn’t going to miss it.

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