I was kicked out of band, of course. When I entered the room, Mrs. Bryant pulled me over to the corner and told me. I should’ve seen it coming I suppose. That wasn’t the worse thing though. I didn’t see Toby for almost three weeks. I looked around at lunch time for him, but never saw him. Nadine said that Norma had seen him so I went to ask her. “I don’t know what Nadine was talking about; I haven’t seen Toby for a couple weeks.” She said as she decorated her locker with a sharpie.
Then one day I saw him walking down the hallway. I was flushed with relief because his absence was starting to scare me. I ran up to him smiling. He just faked a smile and kept walking. “Where have you been?” I asked. “I’ve been around.” He said gruffly. I frowned and followed him silently into the social studies classroom.
It was surprisingly quiet, and Mr. Reynolds was actually taking advantage of that and teaching for once. I kept looking over at Toby who was in the desk on my right. He had his head on his desk. “What’s wrong with you?” I whispered. “Leave me alone, Abbey.” He said back. “I just want to…”
“You want to what, Abbey? Do you want to help me? I don’t need your charity so just stop talking to me, okay?” Toby snapped. “I’m sorry if I hurt you a couple weeks ago, but I thought you were over it.” I snapped back, and I knew that the whole class could hear us by now. “It’s not about that! Not everything revolves around you, Abigail Manello!” Toby shouted.
The teacher whistled sharply to get our attention. He sent us to the confrontation room, which is basically a small, empty room that the teachers put the two fighting students so that they don’t have to deal with them themselves. We sat on the two opposite ends of the room. After a couple of minutes, Toby said, “They gave me up.” He rested his head on his knees.
“My foster parents gave me up, that’s why I wasn’t at school.”
“I’m so sorry.” I said quietly, and I moved over to his side of the room. I sat down next to him and patted his back. He rubbed his eyes with his palms in an effort to stop crying. It wasn’t working. “Do you ever dream about your Mom?” He asked me suddenly. “What do you mean?”
“Sometimes I dream that my parents are still alive. We are sitting around the table in the morning and I and my Dad are complaining about the lame comics. Or my Mom and is jumping on my bed to wake me up for school. Then I wake up and I’m in the foster house or in a new apartment.” He explained to me.
I gulped. I never dreamt about things like that. All of my dreams about my Mum were nightmares, really. Most of them were about the day she died. My Dad sat me and Evan down in the waiting room chairs, and tried to tell us calmly, but he broke down as soon as he said it. Evan squeezed around Dad’s neck, instantly going into support mode.
I on the other hand, took off down the hallway. I ran straight to the third floor, and I went up the hallway I had been through so many times, to reach the door that I had opened far too many times. My Mum’s bed was empty. The sheets were stripped off of it, but the clipboard on the wall with all of her information was still there. I grabbed it.
It was all the same, except at the very bottom, where it was written ever so clearly in red pen, DECEASED.
“No, I never dream about her.” I lied. Toby coughed and straightened up. He stopped himself from crying. I still envy his self-control, even though it’s healthy to cry sometimes. He sat with his back straight against the wall, so I leaned my head on his shoulder. 30 minutes passed, then an hour. “They’ve forgotten about us.” Toby remarked. He made me jump, because we had spent so long in silence. I straightened up and yawned.
Toby tried opening the door. “Of course they locked it.” He rolled his eyes. We waited for the lunch bell to go off, and then started to shout for help. Eventually someone opened the door. “Thanks Donny.” Toby said as we walked out. “Yeah, thanks Donny.” I mimicked.
Things were finally going my way. I had friends, I was getting good grades, and my Dad wasn’t half as mad at me as he had been. Luckily, Evan didn’t tell him about the whole piano thing, and the school was too lazy to do anything. Besides, other people had done MUCH WORSE.