She concentrated on the crack in the ceiling, the one that resembled South Africa if you looked at it the right way. This office had become a home to her in the past couple of weeks. The principal droned on about something, probably her having missed so many classes. She never looked him in the eye; she had stopped looking people in the eye a long time ago. You never knew who to trust. He stopped a second and blew his nose, a terrible wheezing sound. Then, stuffing his handkerchief back in his coat pocket, he started to talk again. She could not remember his name. Was it Larry or Barry or maybe it was John. She listened to his words for a moment. He was talking about her past. He knew nothing; to him, hers was just another sad, pathetic life. She had been through it and had the battle scars to show. Her eye caught a glimmer of light.
On his desk there was a silver pen that glittered like the bright stars on a clear night. The pen was enclosed in a crystal cube. You could look, but you couldn't touch. She wished that she could seal her soul up like that. If she could hide her soul, the ungrateful wouldn't be able to reach it. They wouldn't spit upon it, as they had done to her heart. Her heart had been crushed and torn apart until it lay like a useless piece of garbage. How could you forgive someone who did that to you? She couldn't. The principal was giving her a nod and he said something about scurrying back to class. She gave him a passive smile and turned and gripped the familiar doorknob that had set her free from this prison about as many times as it had detained her. Unchanged again, she walked out of the office and crumpled up the piece of paper he had given her. On it was the name of some shrink. She tossed it at a trash barrel. It teetered on the edge, then the strange waves of gravity pushed it out onto the gleaming tile. Not bothering to pick it up, she turned and walked down the corridor in the opposite direction of her Spanish class. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.