Earth; The United States of America. August 27, 2014
“Are you ready to go?” I asked Chartenia as I approached her locker.
“Hm? Oh, um, yeah, I guess.” She shoved another book in her over-stuffed bag and slammed the door shut. I started walking down the hallway, and she followed. "So . . . um, you're sitting next to Jenna in science now?"
“Oh, I don’t know.” She turned away from me, though I don’t know why.
“You can tell me. What’s wrong?”
Chartenia glanced at two giggling freshman across the hall, and said, “I’ll tell you when we get home.”
“Fine.” The rest of the walk was spent in silence. When we reached Chartenia’s house, her mother was waiting for us.
“Hello, you two!” she said cheerfully.
“Hi,” I greeted. Chartenia remained quiet.
“Henry, go on ahead. There’s popcorn in the microwave in case you want some. Chartenia, can I talk to you for a second?”
“Um, okay . . . ?” I went into the house, but tried to stay quiet so I could hear what they were saying. I only caught snippets.
“Bad grade-” “-Only a B-” “-More from you-” “-Not perfect!”
That’s when the yelling started. “Don’t talk like that-” “-Do whatever I-” “-You are my daughter-” “-Not only yours.”
“What do you mean?” her mother whispered. I inched closer to the door.
“I had to have had a dad, right? I can’t have been born without one.”
Ms. Calhoun sighed. “We need to talk about this later. Go do your homework.” I ran into the kitchen as fast as I could.
“It’s like she purposely chooses the worst possible time to get mad at me for the stupidest of things!” Chartenia yelled when we sat down in her room.
“Chartenia, calm down. It’s normal for parents to be worried about their kid’s grades.”
“No,” she sighed. “Not like this. Every time I get something worse than a ninety-five, she explodes. And then I ask her why it’s so important, and her eyes kind of glaze over . . . it’s kind of creepy, actually.” She let out a bitter laugh.
I laughed too. “There you go. Hey, what did you get for number five?”
“I don’t know, I haven’t started yet,” she giggled.
“Me neither. I was hoping you’d just give me the answer.”
I was about to ask about her issue with Jenna when my phone buzzed. "Hey, can you hand me my phone?”
“Yeah.” She tossed it over. I opened messages.
Hey henry, its jenna. Whats up?
I read it a couple times before Chartenia saw the confusion in my eyes. “What?”
“Nothing,” I said quickly, which only made her yank it out of my hand and read it too.
“Jenna? You’re texting Jenna?”
“Well, actually, she texted me. I didn’t even know she had my number. But even if I was, so what?” Chartenia stayed silent.
I actually did my homework for a while, considering that Jenna’s text seemed to have put Chartenia in another one of her moods. Whenever something moderately interesting happened - or anything, for that matter - she just shut down.
After an hour or so more, I realized that she was going to stay quiet for a while, so I ecxused myself and left.
And I had no idea what made her act that way.