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Madeline: Form of poetry.
Olly: that assumes that I have one
Madeline: You’re not a heathen.
Madeline: You are a heathen. I’m going to pretend you didn’t say that.
Olly: what’s wrong with a good limerick?
Madeline: “Good limerick” is a contradiction in terms.
Olly: what’s your favorite?
Olly: haikus are awful. they’re just less fun limericks
Madeline: You’ve been downgraded from heathen to heretic.
Madeline: OK. I should be asleep.
Olly: ok me too.
Thursday, 8:00 P.M.
Madeline: I wouldn’t have guessed that math was your favorite class.
Olly: why not?
Madeline: I don’t know. You climb buildings and leap over things. Most people are good with their bodies or their minds but not both.
Olly: is that a nice way of saying you think i’m dumb?
Madeline: No! I mean that … I don’t know what I mean.
Olly: you mean i’m too sexy to be good at it. that’s ok. i get that a lot
Madeline: . . .
Olly: it just takes practice like anything else. i was a mathlete two high schools ago i’ll have you know. got a probability and stats question? i’m your guy
Madeline: So sexy.
Olly: i sense insincerity
Madeline: :) So are you going to be a Mathlete at SFV High?
Olly: probably not
Olly: my dad made me quit. he wanted me to do something more manly like football
Madeline: You play football?
Olly: no. he made me quit the mathletes, but he couldn’t bully the coach into taking me midseason. he let it go eventually
Madeline: What if he brings it up again now?
Olly: i’m a little harder to bully now than i was 2 years ago
Olly: i’m meaner now. bigger too
Madeline: You don’t seem mean.
Olly: you don’t know me that well yet
Friday, 3:03 A.M.
Madeline: You’re awake again.
Madeline: I know you don’t want to talk about this.
Olly: and yet
Madeline: I saw what happened today. Is your mom ok?
Olly: she’s ok. it’s not the first time. it’s not the last time
Madeline: Oh, Olly.
Olly: please don’t oh olly me
Olly: tell me something, anything. tell me something funny
Madeline: OK. Why was the boy surprised to find celery growing out of his ears?
Madeline: Because he’d planted corn!
Olly: oh jesus. that is not a good joke
Madeline: Made you smile though.
Olly: yeah it did
Saturday, 8:01 P.M.
Olly: i guess i won’t get to meet you in person until school starts
Madeline: I don’t go to school.
Olly: you mean you don’t go to SF Valley High? where do you go?
Madeline: I mean I don’t go to regular school. I go online.
Madeline: I really can’t talk about this.
Olly: come on. you gotta give me something here
Madeline: I want us to be friends. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me.
Olly: just tell me. we’re still gonna be friends
Madeline: I’m sick.
Olly: how sick?
Madeline: Really sick. Can’t leave the house sick.
Olly: are you dying?
Madeline: Not right now, no.
Madeline: If I left the house, yes.
Olly: we’re still friends. i don’t feel sorry for you
Madeline: Thank you.
Olly: how does the school thing work?
Madeline: All my classes are over Skype. I have homework and quizzes and grades. Lots of people are homeschooled.
Olly: huh. cool
Olly: ever notice how a lot of the national spelling bee finalists are all homeschooled?
Madeline: I’ve never noticed that.
Olly: it’s a thing
Olly: i wish we could meet
Madeline: Me too.
Madeline: OK, I need to go now.
Olly: go then
Olly: you still there?
Olly: come to the window
Madeline: Now? I’m wearing my nightgown.
Olly: put on a robe. come to the window so that I can see you
Madeline: OK, I’ll be right there. Goodnight, Olly.
Olly: goodnight maddy
Astronaut Ice Cream
“Mr. Waterman’s on his way up,” Carla says from the doorway. I’m finally putting the finishing touches on my model for architecture class. I’ve had to cut short two nights of IMs with Olly to get it done. I don’t want my mom to get worried again. The assignment was to design an outdoor shopping/dining center in my favorite style. I chose art deco because the buildings look like they’re flying even though they’re standing still.
The centerpiece of the complex is a grassy outdoor seating area populated with oversized, oddly shaped chairs painted in bright zigzag patterns. I’ve already “planted” miniature plastic palm trees in the grass, and now I’m strategically placing miniature plastic people holding miniature plastic shopping bags to give it the “vigor of life,” as Mr. Waterman would say.
In two years of tutoring I’ve only met Mr. Waterman in person twice. Usually all of my tutoring, including architecture, takes place via Skype. My mom’s made a special exception this week. I think she’s still feeling badly about Kara and Olly’s visit from a couple of weeks ago. I told her she had nothing to feel bad about, but she insisted. Having a visitor is a big deal because they have to agree to a medical background check and a thorough physical. Also they have to be decontaminated, which is basically like getting a high-speed air bath for about an hour. It’s a pain to come see me.