Thursday. March 18.
I’ve had it.
Glaring from the coffee stained couch, Dad crosses through our apartment quickly, grabbing his jacket. “Hanna, I have to work late-”
“Again.” I sigh into the moldy nineties fabric.
This usually lasts for a few minutes, dialogue changing from time to time. But yet it’s always the same Chinese food and basic cable television as I kill the nights alone.
Unwashed cereal bowls and broken clothes hangers.
I don’t complain often, but I when I do, I complain a lot. With cursing and CAPITALS and screaming and every other shit-brained idea I can think of.
Tuesday. March 23.
Sixty four on the chapter test. Screw history.
Ms. Herring. Named for a fish. How odd.
She perms her mop of purple hair, pinning it around her pointy face. Dark glasses cover her dark eyes, always squinting through the cheap plastic. And every day she wears bright red lipstick that get on her false teeth and you can see it when she forces a smile while the principal is around.
Today, though, I was subtly chewing on my SMALL piece of gum when Ms. Herring was passing out tests. All of a sudden, she went from the first row of desks to the very back of the room, straight to me.
She said in her cracked, menacing voice, “Hanna, you’ve got ta bring up yur grade.”
Her jaw was moving like a cow’s. I was thinking if she was smacking on cud or not when she threw down my test. She uses a bold red Sharpie marker that bleeds through so your grade is on every page of the test.
Then, she leaned in her face close enough so I was frightfully staring into her huge pores. She whispered, “And throw out yur gum.”
Honestly? I wanted to spit my Orbit right in her face, so it would stick to the layers of make-up and crude lipstick.
However history just isn’t worth the effort. The past is the past. It’s hard enough remembering our own, I don’t want to fucking learn about another name in another time in another shitty situation.
Take that, Herring.
Friday. March 26.
There’s this guy – Oh, and, SURE, whenever some teenage girl says that to the motherly figure on their hit TV sitcom, it’s always a stupid prissy crush and the rest of the half-hour episode is filled with attempts to get said guy to go out with said girl.
He’s a junior too. Just another shaggy haired kid. Until you talk to him.
He has this way of listening. He has this way of knowing exactly when to help, to smile, to become serious, when all you can do is blink, embarrassed that he seems so comfortable while you’re not.
Third period. When the bell rang, I snuck out of the janitor’s closet and trudged to my locker.
It doesn’t count as a cut if they mark you present in the beginning of the class.
Three inches wide, I threw open the metal door. “Hey.”
Jared Baylin. Arms crossed, leaning against the wall near me.
He was smiling.
I smirked. “Hello?”
“Six people trapped up in the woods, with a chain-saw murderer on the loose. Will they survive?” He narrated in a melodramatic announcer voice.
I stuck my gum on the inside of my locker door, next to a menu from Fu Bing Gan’s Chinese Take Out taped over some graffiti. “Nope. No chance at all.”
He brought his shoulders up to his ears in some sort of shrug. “Want to find out?”
“Want to go to the movies this weekend?”
It seemed too scripted.
“Who dared you?” I threw my books into my locker for effect.
He scoffed, grinning.
“Thought so.” I didn’t wait for him to say anything, rushing off to my next class.
Sunday. March 28.
Fly. Mom flew. I always wanted to fly, to just fly to find a place to make everything perfect. But that’s what everyone wants. To put everything together again.
No way we can do it.
Humpty Dumpty never had a chance.
Wednesday. April 7.
Fuck fortune cookies. They are WRONG.
“Your life will be rich with true friendship and happiness.”
The student body of PHS#4 hate me. Wish I were dead hate. Not The Breakfast Club hate, where they learn to put aside their differences and see each other for who they are by the end. I wish.
Mr. Gibbs is the guidance counselor. He uses his hands to talk and he has an earring in his left ear. He says I’m shy. I tell him that I believe I’m Elvis’s real daughter. Elvis Costello, of course. Just so they take me out of gym for psyche appointments.
The eleventh grade knows me as a freak. Living, breathing, piece of mockery.
I’m not different. I just act like it. You can’t tell from looking.
Yet the Populars just have some sort of way of just finding something to totally hang over your head to the point of considering a mass homicide.
Natasha Peterson leads the Barbie’s. She likes to make people miserable. She LOVES it.
Sixth grade, I was invited to her birthday party. Gasp.
At the early age of eleven, I was on a massive sugar high once her mom brought out the cake.
I started squealing, running through the house with a trail of insane kids behind me. Yelling, I jumped onto the white couch.
Ended up breaking one of Mr. Paterson’s porcelain gnomes.
This man collected little figurines, creepy little fairy tale men. The gnomes had huge white eyes that follow you, and then they have those classic Disney ‘Snow White’ beards and colorful caps. But their knobby little fingers are clutching hatchets and sledgehammers, which brings their haunting eyes to a new insane. And they just sit there, all fat and pudgy. They would even freak me out now.
It went as I bounced on the couch in my mud-stained Sketchers, screaming my head off for Natasha to join me. I might have hallucinated this, but Natasha grinned back at me. Not one of her nasty sneers, but a friendly smile.
Anyway, I jumped and flipped on their precious white couch. And then, in an attempted cartwheel through the air, my foot went out of its way and crashed against a gnome. It came crashing down to the floor in a whirl of colored glass. Dopey was dead.
Or was he a dwarf?
I pointed my finger at Natasha, putting complete blame on her. After that, it’s a grudge match still to this day.
Thursday. April 15.
Jared sat down next to me at lunch. Smiling.
The cafeteria at school is huge, the rafters pretty high. Tall windows face the yard, letting in the occasional sunshine.
I lazily looked over at him.
He picked at his tray. “Why did you say that?”
“Say..?” I titled my head to the side, waiting for him to realize my ‘Talk to me again and die’ vibe I’m stuffing down his throat.
I hadn’t forgiven him.
He picked at a thread on the sleeve of his oversized zip up sweatshirt, flicking the black strand over his shoulder. He’s one of the skinny jeans guys at school.
Natasha was staring at Jared sitting next to me on. Huh. What’s she so interested in? Jared talking to homely little Hanna? What a bitch.
“No one dared me to ask you out.” He was looking right at me. With those scary blue eyes.
I didn’t answer.
He smiled again. With those perfect teeth. Did he used to have braces? “One movie?”
I turned my head to him. “We’ll see.”
He sat, mulling over what I said while I fled, tossing the cafeteria crap and seeking solitude in the right wing girls’ bathroom.