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like we are Hamlet's own girlfriend

Braidie:  [remembering when she was 12]

We are all going to see Hamlet for the field trip, at a theatre in town.  It's not the real Hamlet, it's a phony version for kids.

We head over the Lion's Gate and the ocean shrinks and glitters. You can see where we live, lying out there in the straits, all wrapped up in the mist, it looks uninhabited,  prehistoric.  Adrienne is whispering something to Sofie. Adrienne leans into Sofie so that Sofie is all squished up against the side.  Sofie's face turns grey.

Sofie pushes the window on the bus, it fans out from the bottom, she hoists herself up, her head is out.  Sofie is going to jump out the window.  The ocean is hundreds of feet below.

I shut my eyes.  And Sofie is falling, cannonballing over the side of the bridge, her clothes parachute around her, a gigantic flower.  I open my eyes.  Sofie hasn't gone over the side of anything.  Her bum is stuck in the window of the bus.

Amber and Adrienne and me and Jackie -- we laugh so hard we nearly puke. The bus driver is grabbing Sofie by the sweater, he pulls her in. What the hell do you think you're doing? Nothing, Sofie says, just fooling around.

Sofie isn't allowed to see the play.  We watch Ophelia load herself up with flowers and sail off to meet her maker.  We make big burp noises except when Hamlet's around.  Hamlet's cute.

When Hamlet gets going on one of his long speeches we go OH OH OH OH like we are Hamlet's own girlfriend.  We get all weird and all breathing heavy.

Then this lady usher comes and tells us we have to be quiet.  She's a total bitch.

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from :Joan MacLeod, The Shape of a Girl   //   Talonbooks, Canada

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