Blink three times.
Tell me why
Tell me why you’re so different from the others.”
I’ve already told you.
“You haven’t said anything yet.” Mrs. Harris flips through an entire binder full of laminated records and her acrylic nails go clickity-clack. “Your third school in a year. Impressive.”
“Ms. Dougard paid a visit to my office the other day.” She waits for a reaction but my mouth stays shut. “Coming to class with an unexplained bloody nose is one way to land here. And on the day of a test. Mind telling me what happened?”
Smacked into the sharp corner of a locker.
Fist fight in the bathrooms.
Mrs. Harris pinches my American History exam by a corner, the bloody rag. Section two, The Civil War, question thirteen. The answer is C, eleven states seceded. Question fourteen is B, 1862 and 22,717 are dead in Antietam. Fifteen is C again. Bad dad cab dab.
“Your grades are good,” Mrs. Harris says to me. She nods her head and leans in, trying to see what’s under the hood of my baggy sweatshirt. “So that’s good. It’s important.” All hopeful and sweet. She scans my records again, safely slipped inside of a plastic sheet, away from my nose and my brain blood.
“Your grades are better than good. They’re perfect. You’ll graduate with honors.” She looks over to the blood-soaked History exam. “But they’re not even gonna let you rehearse if you keep getting yourself into trouble like this.”
“If you need help
If you need help, or someone to talk to,
If you need help, or someone to talk to, therapy is
Listen, just try to keep your fists out of your fellow student’s faces.” Mrs. Harris says with guilt in her grin. “Just for another five months. Then you’re out of here. And you can go anywhere. You can go anywhere.”
Mrs. Harris sits back in her chair and lets out a long, frustrated breath. “If you could go back and do it all again,” she says. “What would you do different?”
I think on it for a minute. From under my hood I say, “I would have asked for one of those candies on the desk when I walked in. One of them blue mints.”
Mrs. Harris drops her head as I suck on a tart mint. “You did ask for one.”
You blink and it’s over.
“Look,” Mrs. Harris goes. “High school is tough. But there aren’t any do-overs. So make this count.”
“High school is tough.”
“High school is tough. But there aren’t—honey, your nose is bleeding.”
I wrote this story some time ago and I thought some of you might enjoy it. This one has gotten mixed reactions--people have either thought it was awesome or didn't understand it. I'm curious to hear what 'yall think!