The Echo Girl
The Echo Girl is always second. She lags behind, a trail of sounds on her footsteps. Her voice is a necklace of grains of sand at no one’s neck. When the teacher asks a question, she looks him in the eye and repeats it. The teacher is annoyed. “What a pain,” he whispers, and the girl, after him: “What a pain, what a pain.” The teacher grows increasingly infuriated. He concentrates, comes up with a different question, and the girl repeats it after him. “What an idiot,” he says, and the girl, after him: “What an idiot, what an idiot.” Now, the teacher is so furious he would like to strangle the girl. His fingers extend like a hungry octopus toward the girl’s neck, but she is quicker than he, and before he touches her, she bursts into air, followed by a trail of empty laughter.