‘Ashley is a circumference’ scrawled in chalk we giggled, i wondered who was bold enough to taunt him; also how typical, how yokel our 45 pupil school on the edge of nothing clearly, the wag had no idea what he or she was writing. Turning it over in my mind now Is Ashley a circumference? Describing what circle? Ah, at last I see the dada brilliance of it! Ashley is a circumference. It could serve as oblique swearword - the circle implied, for what is funnier to grade six boys than that impulsive irreverent bodily gate, putt-putting and muttering unbidden commentary ungovernable? But say it were instead a declaration of some young heart that her (or his) love could be full circle, as described by Ashley. If I had written it, in the moment I’d have been sure that I meant the first, for he was already front and centre in the bully ranks, a role it must be admitted now, in which while others grunted, he at least had the grace to swashbuckle. Rich, conceited, handsome Ashley everyone agreed, lovely little Dorothy, the birdish blonde highschool sweetheart, mate for life, was far too good for him the circumference of ‘everyone’ in this instance, that set of all nerds such that Ashley made us targets. But now I think of the Winks convenience store and gas station where last I saw Ashley; both of us buying some small thing, or gassing up well in our thirties, my life flown I was there visiting my mom, he from anything I’d heard, probably running the farm now with Dorothy. ‘Hi,’ he said, like a longlost friend ‘How are you?’ he said like a neighbour, veteran of this specific war to grow up and become real. ‘It’s good,’ he said ‘to see you,’ blowing away the chalk. We’re not a people for apologies, it’s the tilt of a head, the understood circumferences of our tiny world.
Today’s prompt, ‘circumference,’ took me back to childhood, and contemplating the human geometries.