Try to Remember

Shirley and Vanessa were like sisters. They were the kind of best friends who knew they would never break their friendship. Ever.
But Vanessa had a supernatural secret which she had never told to anyone. When she tells Shirley about it, the last thing she expects Shirley to do is hate her.
But that's exactly what she does...


3. Losing Control



I can hear the teacher calling my name, but I don’t react.


She’s gone. Gone, forever.


I can hear the students snickering. Some whisper things. The teacher marches over to my desk and shakes me.

“Whatever is wrong with you today?”

I look at her dully and try to get my mouth to reply. Then I hear:

“There’s always been something wrong with her.”

“She’s a mental freak.”

“I thought she was kinda nice, before. Now…I dunno.”

“Doesn’t she just disgust you? I’m afraid I’m gonna catch whatever mental disease she’s got.”

I’m jolting awake. A rage like I’ve never known is filling me.

No—wait. I have felt this rage before. A long time ago, but not so far away I can’t remember… and it wasn’t when Shirley and I fought. It was when I first discovered my secret… and after the rage came a firm voice, telling me to not lose control again…

I pull myself together and try not to start yelling, crying or much worse.

But when you realize nobody in school likes you anymore, that’s difficult to do.

Just when I think I’m calming down, another voice rises above the rest. “Oh, she’s a lot more freakish than you think.”

Oh no, I think numbly.

“I know loads of her secrets. Loads of ‘em. I can prove just how big a freak she is by telling you just three.”

Why, Shirley? Why?

“One: she’s afraid of lockers.”

That’s true. One door caught me in the face one time and broke my nose.

The class giggles. The teacher barely suppresses a smile.

“Two: outside of school, she still acts like she’s 5, with the clothes she wears and what she does, like play pretend games.”

I feel a flare of anger. That’s actually not true!

The class laughs. Everyone is looking eagerly at Shirley now. It’s all I can do not to leap up and scream at her.

 “Three. Well. Three is a hard one. It’s the biggest secret I know.”

Shirley’s looking straight at me now, and in her blue gaze I see remnants of the anger she threw at me on the worst day of my life.

“I have no regrets about giving this one up.”

She takes a piece of paper out of her pocket. It’s been folded twice.

“All I have to do is let go, Vanessa, and these people will know.”

You wouldn’t. You can’t. I almost speak these words, but I know that’s just what she wants. I look around wildly for something which will stop her.

Why isn’t the teacher telling them to sit back down?!

I look at her standing beside my desk and realize that she, too, wants to know my secrets. She hates me just as much as any student here.

I recall what Shirley said to me yesterday. “This is the real world. You don’t belong in it, freak.”

I guess she was right.

Shirley’s knuckles slacken and she lets go.

Everything turns slow-mo as I watch the paper fall.

Something clicks inside of me and I’m running, knocking over the teacher, students, desks and tables. My fingers close around the little square of paper and everything returns to its normal speed.

Everyone stares at me.

I’m crouching on a desk, my hair tangled and a wild look in my eyes. People are backing away. I guess I do look mental right now.

Only Shirley isn’t fooled. She lunges at me. I dodge.

Others are trying to catch me now. I run towards the door only to find it blocked by a couple of boys. They make a grab for me and I duck.

I can’t let you see this! I won’t!

Only when everyone looks at me do I realize I said that out loud.

Maybe I am going insane.

My classmates are closing in on me. They’re almost aggressive. I want to scream, I USED TO BE ONE OF YOU!

And I do.

Scrambling onto a desk, I jump towards the only escape there is for me now.

Just as I am about to crash through the glass, a hand clutches at my shirt and pulls me back with a “NO!

I gasp as the shirt collar slams into my windpipe and I trip backwards, off the desk and onto the floor.


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