us.â I could hear my fatherâs swift intake of breath. âI may never know. But Iâm glad you stayed.â He took hold of my hand and squeezed it. âLetâs go home,â he said. Laura Ring is an anthropologist and academic librarian living in Chicago. She is the author of Zenana: Everyday Peace in a Karachi Apartment Building (Indiana University Press 2006).
What Verity Knew Justine Cogan Gunn
âO-g-r-eâ I re-type. Tanner changed the autocorrect on my phone to spell âogreâ as âB-O-O-G-E-Râ like a year ago. I need to change it back. More than that, I canât wait to change my last name from âOgre.â I mean, itâs something my parents should have done 15 years ago when I was born, and they saw that I was ENORMOUS for a preemie. And I had a full head of hair. And my skin was slightly green colored. Yeah. âPatinaed copper.â I guess the only thing worse would have been if they named me Penny. Thank God they didnât. Iâm Verity. And Iâm an ogre. Actually, to be specific, Iâm an âogress.â My brother Tanner is NOTHING like meâsomething he and everyone else on the planet reminds me of every second. The gene must have skipped him like it skipped everyone else in my family (except some huge ancient guy in a black and white picture so you canâteven tell what color his skin is). No, Tannerâs normalâbrown hair, brown eyes. He even has dimples, in case I needed a reminder that the universe is totally unfair. Heâs a sophomore. And today Iâm a freshman. So that should be really fun. I finish typing my whole name and send the text to my mom. Iâm giving her crap for the whole ânot changing our nameâ thing. Sheâs worried about me on my first day of high school and â¦ so maybe I mention the last name thing again to bother her. Or maybe I want her to feel bad and baby me just a little when I get home. Maybe. I take a deep breath and step into my first official high school class. Geometry. I can handle this. âHi, youâre one of the freshmen in here, right?â A frighteningly normal-looking girl is smiling an equally frighteningly white smile at me. I nod. âIâm Kelsey. Youâre Tannerâs sister?â I nod again. âHe and I were in English together last year â¦ Mr. Freidman. Did he â¦ mention that class? And itâs begun! The joys of having an insta-popular brother! Iâll be the go-between. Like Iâve always been. Ican handle that. âUm, Iâm notââ But sheâs one of those girls who likes to talk over you. âI love your skin, by the way. Itâs beautiful. Iâm someone who thinks âdifferentâ is beautiful.â I smile politely and wonder if she thinks my huge teeth are differently beautiful, too. I can see by her tiny wince that she doesnât. âThanks. Iâm Verity. And, yeah, Iâm pretty sure my brother mentioned you. English, right?â Her eyes light up, and she squeezes my hand with her tiny fingers. âYes! Oh, Iâm so glad weâre in this class together!â She turns to the front as the teacher walks in. I slouch down and breathe a sigh of relief. Ok. That conversation was easy. I listen really well. I should be a shrink. As I make my way to World History, I think about it a little more seriously. I mean, maybe I should offer up my services. There have been all sorts of traumas at this school. I donât just mean break-ups at dances, fights at football practice, and that kind of thing. I mean disappearances. Last year, Jamie Perkins came early for swim practicebecause he hadnât been told it was cancelled. Security camera footage showed him going into the school with his swim bag. Two hours later when the gym teacher showed up, a locker was open in the boysâ locker room. Jamieâs bag was flung on the floor. There