Mr. Washington’s Fingerprints

Pink magnolia accents the humbly grey sky; rivers thicken with green shrubbery; farmland fallows as a new harvest awaits. With wandering anticipation I stare out the window smug because I’d been accepted, embarrassed, because our overbearing tour bus seemed to interrupt the holiness of Mt. Vernon. George – Mr. Washington, I mean – is the founder of our country, right? A Christian man, right? Perfect in battles, establishing governments, and wearing a stoic red sewn coat with gold buttons, right?

mt v

So it was a pilgrimage of sorts, visiting he burnt maroon hoe he built and the gravel his shoes touched. Ignoring our loud bus, I touched the charcoal floors and stairway, imagining our fingerprints collided in some historical miracle and I, s a meek 8th grader on her first visit to our nation’s capital, would forge onward with an ordained bravery.

Perhaps my newfound enlightenment was les from George and more from Alejandro. Sigh. Alejandro. My crush since last month, he must have found a flask of courage in his poop-color satchel and drank it because back in D.C. – just two hours prior – he asked ME, yes, mousy ole me, to be his girlfriend.

When he asked, we meandered past the ominous sitting Lincoln and I was sure life couldn’t get any better. Oh, get this, he touched my fingers in his awkward attempt to hold my hand and I stopped breathing as skin on skin excitement buzzed through my blood.

Going steady for all of two hours, we explored Mt. Vernon together, among the goats, hills, and rickety doors.

When we fathered back to the busy, after my encounter with Washington’s fingerprints, I wondered if George didn’t like Martha much.

I questioned his heart – principled ole George – because when Alejandro took my hand in our sojourn back to the city, he told me that he changed his mind.

My eyes flashed a naughty green like the green hoodie he wore, drenched from the Eastern seaboard rain.

Rejection. Just two hours later.

So much for my anointed leadership, brilliance, and historical miracle.

It was just me, once again, alone, and lost in a middle school world that had no place for me.


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Heather Newell Oglesby

Hi! I'm Heather. I am a writer and counselor in-training. I share stories so we can keep the magic of being human alive. I spend a great deal of time going on long walks with my wife, rollerblading, learning, and traveling to find new adventures. By day, I work as an Education and Employment Specialist for Jefferson Center for Mental Health, working with adolescents who have experienced their first episode of psychosis. A Colorado native, I love dark-roasted coffee, sunshine, and succulents. Enthusiasm, passion, and possibility: that's me at my best.

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