Outside the Bay

Young Adam came into the nurse’s office.
“I don’t feel right,” he said. “I think I swallowed a girl.”
The nurse looked at Adam.
He was small and pale, and thin, a rounded thinness.
His face was patient with suffering.
He had a narrow mouth.
The nurse put her hand on his forehead.
They were both cool and dry.
“You don’t have a fever,” she said, “I don’t think.”
Adam shook his head and looked at her feet.
“What class are you from, kiddo?”
Adam mumbled something.
“I’m sorry?”
“Mrs. Kimele’s. She’s out in the portables?”
She wrote the name on her clipboard, neat and precise.
“How do you feel? Does your stomach hurt?”
“Do you have a headache?”
“Anything hurt?”
“Do you feel urfy?”
The nurse sighed and sat down across from young Adam.
He looked up at her, quick as a flash, then turned the top of his head to her again.
“What’s wrong, kiddo?”
Adam mumbled, “I told you. I think I swallowed a girl.”
“But your stomach doesn’t hurt?”
He raised his head enough to glare at her.
Good! thought the nurse.
“No.” He bit off the words. “I don’t feel sick. I feel wrong.”