Sunday, April 14, 2013

“Girls' Games” by Anne Norman

“Batgirl,” Sigourney snickered. “She looks like a bat and she's always hanging upside-down on the monkey bars.  She's eight.  Way too old to do that.”  Sigourney scowled leaned towards Simone for confirmation.  Expected and received, complete with matching scowl.
            “Yeah, batgirl." Simone nodded. "When we were eight, we knew how to behave.  And we sure don't look like that!”
            A few more girls joined the watchers, wanting to belong without being individuals.  Faceless mockers.
            The batgirl continued to swing by her legs from the monkey bars, seemingly oblivious.  Her large ears seemed even larger upside-down, with the sunlight shining through them.  How could she not hear what was being said, with ears that size?
            One of the girls sniffed derisively.  “How can she not care?  Look at her.”
            “It's not because she thinks her brother will watch out for her, that's for sure.  He's always in trouble and she doesn't even talk much to him anyway.”
            Another girl inched forward to stand beside Sigourney, gathering courage from nearness to the leader. “Maybe he doesn't understand bat language.”          
             A teacher appeared around the corner of the schoolyard and the girls shifted position, their group seeming suddenly fascinated by a game of hopscotch being played near them.  The teacher moved slowly past, like a large fish drifting in the water, and order resumed.  All eyes returned to the climbing area.
       Where was she?  Sigouney and Simone looked at each other in careful surprise.  Batgirl.  Where was she?
            A loud yell approached like a physical force.  After that, the physical force itself, in the shape of a small, large-eared girl hurling herself at the girls.  She was like a bowling ball hurtling down the lane towards the pins.  Wobbly pins, in fact, which were pushed aside with ease by the speed and trajectory of the ball.
            Several of the girls staggered and one fell to the ground, which brought the teacher hurrying back, her brow crinkled with annoyance.
            “What's going on here?” she demanded.
            “Jeannie pushed us for no reason.”  Simone looked petulant as she turned her pretty, heart-shaped face upwards to meet the teacher's glare.  Sensing an absence of sympathy, she pushed out her lower lip and her eyes filled with tears.  “For no reason,” she repeated woefully.
            The teacher sighed and turned to the small tousled girl at the centre of the turmoil.
            “Jeannie,” she asked, “Did you do this?”   
            Batgirl looked around her.  “Yes. They were making fun of me.”
            Before the teacher could say a word and before the girls could react to this blatant display of honesty, Batgirl twirled like a ballerina and skipped away, untouched, unrepentant, unafraid.  She went back to the playground.

Anne Norman has been a freelance writer for many years, contributing to magazines in Canada, the U.S. and the U.K.  She is a stickler for correct grammar usage (yes, boring to most but necessary and often sadly lacking) and has a great love of the English language as a thing of true beauty.  Please avoid mangling it, she asks fervently. She co-authored two Avalon Romances – Rock Solid and Fast Focus – which are available on Amazon here. Currently, she is working feverishly on a Fantasy novel.  When the fever is too high, she takes a nap.

See Brian Henry's schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Orillia, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.


  1. I heard Anne read this piece at Brian's workshop about "How to Get Published" with Kelly Armstrong. She is the real deal, a great writer. I like this pieced a lot.

  2. This is exactly what I am teaching in a girls' creative writing class. Thank you so much for posting this specific scene. You saved me a lot of research time. Excellent. Thank you.
    Gila Green