The Dormitory of the Friable Little Girls
© 2003, Melissa Yuan-Innes
Cover art © 2007 by Ben Heys Photography
It was hard to believe that skipping school and smoking up had landed me at the Little Flower Preparatory College for Girls, a good two hours away from the civilization known as Toronto, but my mother dropped me off with my luggage, an Opium-perfumed air kiss, and no backward glance.
The main building, at the north end, was a block of stone with a clock tower. The heavy wood door thudded behind me. Stepping inside was like crossing from day to dusk, into the abrupt embrace of dim light and damp air. The entrance was full of statues. Their staring white eyeballs secretly freaked me out. Where the hell was the headmistress? I dropped my luggage--it 'd serve my mother right if she had to buy me new stuff--and started walking down the hallway. My footsteps echoed. "This is bullshit," I muttered, but my mouth was dry. I started walking faster, grateful for the occasional vertical slash of a window. The only thing missing was a gargoyle, and my first impression of Sister Agnes was, whoop, there it is.
She silently appeared in front of me, a tiny East Indian woman with a wrinkled apple of a face. My smile died as her penetrating black eyes met mine. She surveyed me in silence. Then the small, crabbed, and mean face cracked to emit a crisp English accent. “Mimsy Cunningham.”