Yanking on a pair of black skinny jeans, I mentally kicked myself for staying out so late last night. I hadn’t gotten back until around two thirty. Needless to say I was dead tired. Grabbing a light blue sweater, I pulled it on and snatched my high-top white Converse up off of my floor. Running into the bathroom, I glanced at my watch. It was seven thirty. I was late. Shit. Shit. Shit. I brushed my teeth in record time. Rinsing out my mouth, I spit and then dried my face off. Glancing at myself in the mirror, I decided I looked okay. My hair was being nice today and wasn’t completely out of control. Pulling on my shoes, I ran back into my room and grabbed my back pack up off the floor.
Once downstairs I grabbed a piece of bread and popped it in the toaster. Glancing out the window every few seconds, I impatiently waited for my bread to toast. When it finally popped up, I grabbed it and ran out of the house without even bothering to put any butter or anything on it. My mom was already gone, so me being late happened a lot, because I usually just slept through the alarm. I had gotten used to my dad waking me up.
Wiping the thoughts out of my head before I got myself too worked up, I made it to the bus stop just as the bus was pulling away.
“Shit!” I yelled. I glared at it as it drove away. This was going to be a bad day. Sighing, I took a bite out of my toast and began my long walk to school. It had to be at least four miles. This was going to take forever. Ignoring my pissed-off thoughts, I tried to concentrate on my toast. It was bland and dry and made me thirsty, but of course, in my rush I had forgotten to grab a bottle of water.
After walking about two miles, I was passing the library when I heard a car pull up next to me. I glanced over and saw that it was what looked like a 2001 Honda Accord. I didn’t look at the driver, just kept walking.
“Hey!” I heard someone yell at me.
I turned to face the car, and found the black-haired boy looking back at me. “Um, hi,” I said.
He motioned to his car. “Need a ride?”
“Um.” I debated whether or not to accept. On one hand I did need a ride to school, on the other hand he wasn’t that friendly to me last time I tried to talk of him. Actually, if I recalled correctly he had made fun of me.
He shrugged, and looked like he was about to drive away. I surprised both myself and him when I stepped forward, opened the door to the passenger’s side, and got it. Once I had closed the door behind me, I glanced over at him. He was looking straight ahead. He simply put the car in drive and pulled away from the curb without a word.
The car ride was awkwardly silent. So, when he pulled up at the school and parked, you can understand why I was relieved that we had arrived. I turned to him.
“Thanks for the ride,” I said.
He shrugged again. I was beginning to think that he did that a lot. “No problem.”
“Oh, what’s your name, by the way?”
He then looked at me. “Jonah.”
I nodded. Since he wasn’t exactly being very friendly, I opened the door without another word and got out. Walking away, I felt good for not stumbling over my words or being unbelievably awkward.
“Hey!” I heard Jonah call from behind me. I turned around to see him walking towards me.
I didn’t say anything, just stared at him questioningly.
“You…you didn’t tell me your name,” he pointed out.
I raised one eyebrow, something I loved doing because a lot of other people couldn’t. “I know.”
He shrugged and started walking again.
Ugh! Just when I think I have him coming after me, he acts like he doesn’t even care! I rolled my eyes in frustration and started walking, glaring at Jonah’s back.
Huh, Jonah, it fit him. I cradled my chin in my hand and stared out the window. I was willing myself not to turn around and look at him. He was so different then everyone else I had ever met. For some reason he didn’t exactly come off as unkind, just…distant. I had a feeling that he had gone through a lot. Who knows, maybe I was wrong, but I had a feeling that I wasn’t. My lit teacher carried on and on about who-knows-what, but I wasn’t paying attention. I liked school, I really did. It’s just; I didn’t have the energy for anything much these days. It’s like, why should we even learn this stuff? It’s kind of pointless. I already knew that I wanted to go to art school, or maybe writing. I loved stuff like that. The thing that let me escape was expressing myself through either my writing or my drawing. But I didn’t even have the energy to do that anymore.
I snapped my attention to the front of the room where Mrs. Robertson stood with a hand on her hip and an expectant look on her face. “Yes?”
“Do you know the answer to the question?” she asked, frustrated.
“Um, can you repeat it please?”
“Natalie, maybe you can help Ms. Channing out, she doesn’t seem to be paying attention.”
I zoned out before Natalie opened her mouth, doing anything to spare me from her nasally voice.
I remembered that my dad always used to comment on this one news caster’s nasally voice. He would laugh from his resting spot in his La-Z-Boy recliner and try to imitate them. That would get my mom laughing, and man, her laugh could make your day brighten up. She used to be so filled with joy, laughing all the time. We all used to smile so often. Now, she barely ever made jokes, hardly ever smiled, let alone laughed. It was the same with me. I hadn’t smiled, and I mean really smiled, in who knows how long. I missed laughing until it hurt and there were tears in your eyes. I missed being carefree. But most importantly, I missed my dad.
Feeling tears prickling my eyes, I stopped thinking about how it used to be. I pressed the heels of my hands to my eyes and concentrated on breathing until the tears eventually withdrew. I got up out of my seat and walked to the back of the room to get a tissue. I made the mistake of looking up, and immediately saw that Jonah was looking at me, frowning. My eyes were probably red. I looked away from him and kept walking. When I got to the back table, I grabbed a tissue and wiped my eyes.
“Ms. Channing?” I heard Mrs. Robertson’s clipped voice ask from the front of the room.
I did not need to talk right now. Clearing my throat, I looked up at her. “Yes ma’am?”
“May I ask why you got out of your seat?”
“I was…uh…going to blow my nose.”
“Please try and be discrete next time. You’ve disrupted the class.”
I nodded and could already feel the heat rising to my face. I hated that I blushed so often. It was embarrassing in itself. Jonah twisted around in his seat to look at me, along with half the other kids in my class. I could feel myself blushing even more. When I saw Natalie’s smirking face, I felt like punching her. What was her problem? I glared back at her and then threw away my tissue. Walking back to my desk, I didn’t make eye contact with anyone. I sat down and stared out the window again. Slumping in my chair, I willed this horrible day to be over.