The Metamorphosis of Evaline Jackson
by Kathy Hoyle
When Evaline Jackson saunters into class after summer break, with brand new braids and cling-cling shorts – breast-buds pouting – we swallow down envy like clotted cream.
She flips her long, sun-kissed legs onto the desk and chips at her lilac glitter nails with fine white teeth.
The boys pop-pop in bubble gum bursts.
When Evaline Jackson sighs and rolls her eyes at them, we roll our eyes too.
When Evaline Jackson snips her tube top even shorter, with scissors stolen from art class, and glints her arms with beaded bangles, and steals mocha eyeliner from her mother’s make-up bag and paints curving cat-slants across her lids, we cut and glint and steal and paint too.
When Evaline Jackson eats fries down at Skittle Town Bowl on Fridays, we beg for chore money and cut and glint and steal our way down there. We order fries and roll our eyes too, and watch the boys pop-pop.
When Evaline Jackson says, gotta go, and slinks out to the parking lot, and the boys catch her scent and follow, fox tails flaring, we pull down our too-short tube tops and look anywhere but at the middle-aged fat-gut guys who smash the skittles and high-five each other and side-eye our long legs in cling-cling shorts.
When Evaline Jackson’s seat is empty Monday morning, we stretch our sweaters way down over our knees. We spit glitter polish from our teeth, stuff beaded bangles into rucksack pockets and crush the heels of our palms hard against our wiped-clean eyes to keep them from rolling.