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"Dropping" by Christine Stoddard

"Dropping" by Christine Stoddard

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Published by Christine Stoddard
A short story about a nervous, over-achieving high school student's experience during her first art gallery internship. Learn more about Christine and her creative projects at www.christinestoddard.com.
A short story about a nervous, over-achieving high school student's experience during her first art gallery internship. Learn more about Christine and her creative projects at www.christinestoddard.com.

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Published by: Christine Stoddard on Oct 14, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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12/07/2009

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"Dropping"By Christine StoddardMy supervisor, Florence, charged straight at me, gripping a tub full of green coloredpencils. I could've smelled the stale sweat on her from two feet away even if I didn'thave her greasy, foggy eyeglasses to tip me off. Her forehead crumpled like a wad ofold paper. Wrinkles so prominent that they appeared drawn-on framed her thin lips. Herover-sized black sweater and her strategically gelled curls made her look like a spitefulbull. And no ordinary bull, either, but a rabid one who was mistakenly entered into
la corrida 
, anyway. I somehow observed all of these details despite the speed at whichshe ran at me; I perceived her actions in slow motion."This is you, Allie!" she shouted.Florence snapped out of her elegant gait. Then she darted straight across the gallery'sfloor, tangling her legs in her fervent scurrying. Panting, she jerked back and forth. Thecolored pencils jumped around in the tub with each of her movements. Periodically, shetouched her hair. A few times, she pushed up her glasses so they would return to thebridge of her nose. She breathed through her ugly mouth. Overall, she looked small,frazzled, and vulnerable, like I should take her into my hand and stroke her to calm herdown. Maybe then her heavy breathing and repulsive twitching would end. Her behaviordetracted so much from the bright collages then on display that it wasn't until I walkedthrough the place a week later that I even noticed what they depicted: kangaroos on jackhammers in Sydney construction sites. Florence's imitation of a nervous, awkwardsixteen-year-old girl interning at an art gallery for the first time probably only lasted aminute...if you weren't the object of mockery.I stared at Florence for an eternity, finally recognizing my own reflection. I studied heranxiousness and knew that I experienced that same anxiousness every second of mysuburban teenage existence. The words of a boy I once loved--"You take yourself tooseriously"--echoed in my mind. I gazed down at my bitten nails and frayed jeans. Bittennails are always a sign of nervous energy, but frayed jeans, not necessarily so. I hadnever thought before that the reason my jeans frayed so soon after I bought them wasbecause I always shuffled. I always shuffled because I was always in a hurry. I wasalways in a hurry because I always felt rushed, like I could never escape the pressure tobe on time and perform perfectly.Florence suddenly came to a halt and jolted the tub so that all of the colored pencilsflew into the air. They came plummeting down. When they all hit the floor, they soundedlike a rainstick.Then she exclaimed, "Relax, Allie!" She threw out her arms and held them in the air for

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