Her mother has long since given up on the girl who dyes her hair with purple Kool-Aid and listens to Sublime too loud while memorizing quadratic equations with the aid of a TI-83+. And after that she’ll open her required reading and be so struck by the tragedy of Annabel Lee that she’ll take a fat Sharpie and copy it, stanza for stanza, onto the wall above her bed. She’ll do it methodically, in the kind of flourished cursive she used to save for autographs. Permanent marker helps her break the habit of dotting her i’s with little locket-shaped hearts and ending every sentence with a star, the way she did in fourth grade. And she’ll start trying to remember that time, when her hair was strawberry blond and she listened to pretty-boy power pop. But…her fingers are stained purple from hair dye and Sublime is stuck in her head.
So she crosses the room where her calculator still blinks ax2+bx+c=0, and tries to look alive. There’s more graffiti on her walls. Way in a corner she had written, not too long ago: When great Satan’s gone, the whore of Babylon…she just can’t sustain the pressure where it’s placed. She caves.
She looks down at her purple fingers stained darker where the marker had missed. She tries to remember the tune of that song she’d written on the wall just a few weeks ago. She hums a few bars, but all that comes to mind is “Rivers Of Babylon.” Sublime, still.
And she thinks, forget it, never mind, it wasn’t that good a song anyway. And she switches off her calculator and closes Edgar Allan Poe and crawls into bed, her hair staining the pillow purple.