Today is a surprisingly good day.
I’m still empty, but I’m at least speaking, smiling, laughing.
On the outside, I am alive.
Inside, I feel like my heart shouldn’t even be beating, like there shouldn’t be any breath in my lungs. I am hollow, a porcelain doll.
I wish that someone would smash me.
“Don’t be scared, Lynne.”
“I’m not scared. I’m just sad.”
“I’m not going to leave you, dumbass, relax. This heart won’t stop beating. I promise.”
I just look at her.
We both know that’s not true.
“Lynne! Get your butt over here!” Carol calls from down the wall, yanking me out of La-La Land. She waves me over frantically. I roll my eyes, and impulsively decide to crab-walk on my palms and feet over to where she’s sitting. She laughs as I approach, cueing a smile to rise on my own face. I rise off my hands and settle onto the balls of my feet, crouching in front of her. “Wazzup?”
“Nothing, really. I just want to say hi.”
I toss my hands up into the air. “I did all that work, and you just want to say hi?”
She flashes an innocent grin, baring her braces. “Yep.”
“Well, I-” Someone bumps into me from behind, knocking me off balance and interrupting my sentence. I splutter as my butt hits the tile floor of the school hallway.
“Shit! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!” Apologies spew out of the mouth of a guy with messy gold-streaked black hair and dark eyes. He holds out his hand to help me up, but I’m already rising to my feet.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Just watch your step next time.” I say, waving his apologies away.
“Really, I am so sorry. I didn’t mean to-”
“Dude. It’s fine, really.” I smile at him. “Don’t worry about it.” I turn and toss a “see ya” wave at Carol, then head back over to where I’d been sitting before.
Those dark eyes keep flashing into my head, and I find myself glancing over at him repeatedly as lunch continues. Once or twice, I catch him looking at me, and look away quickly. I’m distracted as my friends laugh and goof around beside me, but I still participate.
Then the bell rings, and he’s gone, nothing more than a memory.
“We have a timed writing today!”
The classroom is immediately crowded with groans as everyone around me starts to pull out sheets of looseleaf paper.
Well, shit. I am screwed.
For the first time in my life, I am failing English. Normally, it’s my best class. This year, however, it’s slowly crushing me like a roach under a two-ton weight.
It’s all the analyzing.
I prefer to read to, well, read. Not to pick it apart and find the little secret meanings. It’s annoying to take a book and ruin the story with all these analyses. I hate it, which is probabaly why I’m so bad at it.
And now I have to do an analysis that’s timed.
Stars, help me.
Ms. Benara tells us to flip over our prompts. I read silently.
The modern young adult novel The Fault in Our Stars discusses true love, loss, and friendship. Think of another novel with similar themes and compare and contrast the two works.
Oh, stars, no.
“God, Lynne, have you ever heard of something so stupid? Why would someone read this?” June waves the blue book with its famous white and black speech bubbles in the air. “Ugh!”
I shrug, taking the book from her. “I don’t know. Who gave this to you, anyway?”
“Carrie, from the room next door. She loves all this weepy shit.”
I blink, coming back to reality, and look up at the clock. Damn, I already lost five minutes. I hunker over my blaringly blank sheet of looseleaf and start writing.