Disclaimer: this was the very first version of this story I ever wrote. It has very little in common with how the story actually reads now, but this is what I shared with my friends who told me I needed to write the rest of it!

‘I can’t take this anymore!’ I silently scream as I slam the stall door shut, tears streaming down my face. ‘I can’t do this! Mom says it’s an “age thing” but I can’t take this “age” anymore! I’m not any of those things, and yet everyone thinks I am a slut and a whore. How can they be so cruel? I have never even had a boyfriend…’ I unwind a handful of toilet paper and hold it against my streaming eyes, trying to stem the flow of the tears… ‘Fat I can understand. I do weigh 98 pounds… But whore? What did I do to Ashlee to make her say such a mean thing?’ I wrap my free arm around my stomach and continue to hold the toilet paper to my eyes.

After a few minutes the tears are gone… I can move on… I stand up and throw the toilet paper into the toilet and flush it down, pretending my tears and everything I feel are going down with it. I have to pretend I’m okay for everyone; otherwise they’ll know they got to me and will be even worse. I wash my hands and when I do I look in the trashcan between the two sinks. A crushed soda can is sitting right on top. I stare, entranced…

Kayla told me once that she cut when she had a bad day. I didn’t believe her because she had no scars, but she said it felt amazing and made her feel like everything would be okay. I debate internally for a few moments… wondering… I pick up the soda can and look closely at the edges where the aluminum split apart. They look sharp. The bathroom door opens and I gasp and drop the can on the floor.

“Oh! Is everything alright, Alli?” Miss Jones, the chorus teacher asks.

“Yes,” I squeak out. I clear my throat and try again. “Yes, Miss Jones, I’m fine.” I throw in a fake smile when she looks like she doesn’t believe me, hoping my face doesn’t look too red. My face always gets blotchy when I cry and I can’t stand it.

“Alright, dear,” she says with a kind smile, her eyes still looking concerned. “You better get a move on! Classes start in about a minute.”

I nod but think, ‘Who cares if class starts in a minute?’ I leave the girls bathroom on the first floor; it’s near the music room and down the hall from the cafeteria. I don’t like using the bathroom right by the cafeteria, especially if I’m going in there because I’m crying. There’s no way I’m letting anyone hear me cry. Anyway, my class after lunch is on the third floor. I’m going to be late to history, but Mr. Luther doesn’t care, so neither do I. He hasn’t cared the times that I’ve been late before or even when I’ve skipped his class completely; I’ve never gotten a pink slip from him and I take full advantage. The bell rings and I jump. I shake the jittery feelings filling me and walk up two flights of stairs to get to the history and math hallway. When I get to 354 I try to open the door. It’s locked, which I find odd because Mr. Luther never locks his door… I jiggle the doorknob a few times and stand impatiently with my arms crossed.

Finally, the door opens and some squat, stern-looking woman I’ve never seen before is standing there. “Go to the principal’s office, young lady,” she says, her dull gray eyes narrowed.

“But – “ I try to say, but she interrupts me.

“From what your classmates tell me, you are Allison Flores and you are perpetually late to this class. I do not accept mediocrity in my classroom. I may be a substitute, but you will listen to what I say.”

Behind the sub, a bunch of my classmates are cracking up. Ashlee, a pretty white girl who had just been calling me a whore in lunch, leans over to one of her friends, Aisha, a gorgeous black girl, and whispers so everyone can hear, “She was probably in the bathroom with another guy.” The sub ignores the whispering and laughs happening behind her and tells me again to go.

My eyes widen and I can feel tears prickling at the edges of my eyes, but I turn on my heel and walk as quickly down the hallway as I can without running. I can’t believe the sub let Ashlee say something like that – loud enough that everyone could hear and snicker – while I’m the one in trouble. ‘It is so not fair!’ I stomp back to the first floor, but I refuse to go to the main office. I go back to the bathroom by the music room. I listen to hear if Miss Jones is gone and she is. I open the door and walk straight to the trashcan. The soda can isn’t there! ‘Where did it go?’ I angrily think to myself. ‘Miss Jones must have taken it! What a whore!’

I close my eyes and sigh, feeling as if my world is spinning out of control. I just called my favorite teacher the name that I hate being called. I sink into a heap on the floor and start sobbing. ‘I can’t hold this in or hide it anymore! I am so sick of everyone and everything!’

© 2010

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