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Not Any More This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By Marianna J., New York, NY

     Peanut-butter sandwich, check. Judy Blume book, check. Water bottle, ballet bag and any evidence that I might not have gone to class ... check, check and check.

I dropped my backpack and collapsed on a nearby grassy patch. Despite my reputation as the most athletic girl in seventh grade, the run had brought a red tinge to my cheeks and a dull ache to my side. The breeze blew up the hill from the playground, a chilly reminder that I didn’t have the luxury of carelessness. I pushed my bag behind an imposing tree, glancing over my shoulder down at the baseball fields. Parents filled the stands, watching their children play. Even from a distance, a few recognizable faces stood out, faces that would most likely break into a smile at seeing me. But not today.

I checked my watch: 10:30.

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