I hear a canned rooster crow on my nighttable. Rolling in the chill of the morning, I face the alarm clock and with a shaking hand, slap it off. I roll back to the wall, clutching the blanket around me, resting my forehead on its white smoothness.


I spun my locker combination and in a habit refined from three years of practice, attempted to lift the lock while slamming my hand against the cubby. Satisfied that it was locked, I set out in a brisk walk up the hall. I kept my eyes up, focused on the unknown room at the end, convinced that this would radiate an air of self confidence that others would immediately pick up on and worship me for.

I reached the door, the one I could only recognize by counting the stairways I passed venturing to it from my locker (always two). A petite blonde girl leaned against the doorjam of the next classroom in front of me, apathetic and obviously tired.

I glanced through the window of my destination and seeing it empty and darkened, I turned quickly. I forgot to slap my head and mutter to make the mistake someone else had made more obvious.

I could feel her eyes piercing my back and analyzing each step I took. The tap of her chunky, Steve Madden heel seemed to puncuate each hurried sentence my mind pieced together.

And suddenly my mind was once again tired and sluggish; I was far away enough that the petite blonde, with her amalgamation of acrylic tips and shimmer powder, had faded into my collection of old songs, lovers, and enemies.


Heather and Laura sat on either side of me, more or less copying the answers to the science lab from my paper to theirs. We sat on child-size chairs in front of a black lab counter of something unknown that wouldn't burn or break down under acid. Those around us stood.

I felt the center of an island. The loneliness, the isolation. At least the beach has the water to play on its body. I have nothing but the beach, the sandy beach of unwavering color for miles around.

I watched the blonde to my left carefully, regarding with her my almost full attention, as my right hand explained how I had found the area of the circle. The lead felt too thin on the paper, my hands still shaking. I could feel perspiration oozing out of my body and I wanted to dive into the small fishtank in the back of the classroom.

I thought, after that last remark, how dirty and fake the fishtank looked from this angle, as I had never seen it. The beautiful, pristine blue and green of the water, as viewed from my seat for many days, seemed to fade into a murky gray, revealing that the beautiful greens and blues were simply old stains upon the glass.

I've written this part over several times. It seems near impossible for me to properly capture how these words came to me, how they seemed to be merely single stanzas in an epic, how they jumbled together, quite meaningless, until I tried very hard to piece them together.

"You hooked up with him?" Laura spoke over me. In my recollection, I'm invisible. She leans over me as though I were simply an empty chair between her and Heather.


Heather. Her voice is strange. To me, maybe, just because I've never heard one like it. It has an odd, nasal tone to it, and a higher than average pitch. She always seems to carry the undertones of a giggle with her, wherever she goes. The way she speaks, you think she has an amazing zest for life; inquisitive, optimistic, easily excitable.

It is now, writing this, and it was then, hearing her, that I decided that, having known her for going on five years, this was all an elaborate, subconscious deception.

"At the bridge, last Friday." Laura's voice is lower. Today it is nasal, but of a different sort; earlier, she had complained of a cold.

She told me she gets $150 and a day off of school if she misses less than 10 days of school this year.

I told her I only got the day off for the same deal. We compared sick day quantities for previous years, our methods, how skilled our mothers were at detecting such lies.

"Oh right," giggled Heather, nodding her head, slightly embarassed.

Why do you care, bonita? You scared they can see you?

Suddenly the conversation changed, I missed the transition. But no matter, there is more being said.

I think I subconsciously leaned back in my chair, giving Laura more room to bend towards Heather.

"She told me she gave like five of them head," Laura said, a determined look on her face.

"God. Brittany needs to stop acting like such a slut," returned Heather, nodding her agreement. "She's not pretty, she doesn't have breasts, she has a terrible figure."

Maybe thats not the way she put it. It was something along those lines.

Let me describe Brittany to you: 5'10", thin as a rail, athletic, well dressed, amiable, and in the social stadium, holds skybox seats.

Let me tell you something else about Brittany; something which may surprise you, but for the first time today, did not strike me as more than routine for these girls;

(These girls, who lean over me like I am a chair, who speak in tongues, who laugh about everything, who hang out at the bridge each friday night, and who have all, at one point or another, been the leading scorer on their soccer team)

Brittany is one of Heather's best friends.


I was walking from Academic Horizons, my 8th period, to Theatre Arts, my 9th.

This walk brought me down to the long hall; running from one end of the school, past the gym, school store, cafeteria, and ending in the lobby. If one is seeking out upperclassmen or slackers, the lobby end is where to find them, especially in the early morning or later afternoon.

I passed them all, lining the walls, again today, as I do every day. When they walk they slide; I wonder if their shoes exude a sort of transparent goo, a lubricant that might make their walk more easily possible. Could someone in 11th grade but still in freshmen biology really spend so much effort making sure they look good when they walk?

I wonder.

It's one of those things that I've noticed about my school: the lack of public displays of affection. The occasional hug, for some reason inevitably in front of the gymnasium, catches my eye occasionally. A quick peck on the cheek I saw once, between a girl and her male cousin, as they walked home in front of me. A boy with his arm around the waist of a girl, his fingertips resting lazily in her pocket in the crowded hallway sometime before first period.

I saw another one today. She walks standing straight, practiced. You can see an invisible book on her head; it doesn't fall or waver.

He looks like an amateur mimeist, the kind that can never establish an object's shape, who often puts his hand through the door or steps on the chair.

His arm is wrapped around her shoulders, barely touching them, resting on an invisible pair of shoulders outlined an inch above her body, slightly more square. His countenance is unreadable, but she;

She is in pain.

I made this note to myself, I wrote this story in my head, and without another look, I walked to my ninth period class, balancing two notebooks and a half empty bottle of water on my arm.


This was written in a span of about 4 hours (with several breaks), after school, dinner, the completion of my homework, and an hour long private viola lesson.

Hopefully, the reader will forgive me for my tresspasses, and the extreme pretentiousness of my writing; there are certain things that several weeks of Salinger reading will do to you, several things which are hard to undo.

I hope everyone understands that this is all very true and very unembellished.