by Allison Marbry
Four days before it happened, she came into class wearing one of those fish-bowl helmets they had on diver suits. The glass globe crushed her shoulders, and if she craned her head too far in any direction, there would have been a wobble, then a fall, a shatter. Her teachers knelt down to her level, asked her questions in a soft, reproachful voice. She wouldn't talk about it.
That girl, who we took to calling "Scuba Girl" for lack of a better name, was an absolute field day. We'd take the water bottles at lunch and balance them on top of our heads, faking her signature hunch, or stick our arms out really far, stomping around like we were in an old diving suit. It brought us together as a community, really, and, by the end of that day, every one of us stood up individually and believed that we had become as hilarious and ingenious as we were ever going to be.
Three days before it happened, the teachers got aggressive with their big questions about Scuba Girl, none of which we had thought about. Did her parents send her to school with it on? Could she breathe? Was it technically a hat (which was against school policy)? Scuba Girl sat and stared stone cold at the faculty group until she asked, finally, if they were talking to her, but her voice sounded like it was underwater, muffled. The glass was too thick to hear clearly. We all burst out laughing, not because of her question, but because she sounded so ridiculous. Someone pointed out that the teacher's voices must sound like that to her. It fit every single given stereotype.