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Blaise Allysen Kearsley

Why Mr. Bauer Didn’t Like Me

Illustration by Alice Yu Deng

Blaise Allysen Kearsley | Longreads | November 2019 | 8 minutes (2,056 words)

I always wanted to be liked by everyone’s parents. So with my No. 2 pencil, I wrote a note that said:

Does your father like me?

I passed it to my friend as I walked by her desk — I’ll call her Margaret Bauer. In fourth grade we sat in small groups, clusters of three desks pushed together in the shape of a T. Margaret sat one cluster away from me. I could see her from my desk, with her bushy, light brown, shoulder-length hair in two ribbon-braided barrettes framing her pale pink cheeks, and I waited anxiously for her to write back. When she walked by and handed the note back to me, it read:

I don’t think my father likes you, but my mother does.

That Margaret said her mother liked me was a consolation, but not much. Mrs. Bauer was nice to me but she always seemed a little less friendly when her husband was around.
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