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The Bell Rang This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The bell rang, jerking me upright in my chair. I straightened my slouched back and stretched thankfully. Ahh. How good it felt to finish the last class of the day. Gathering my enormous stack of books into my weary arms, I trudged out of the room into the crowded high school halls. Dodging students and crowds blindly, I eventually arrived at the most dilapidated, filthy locker in the entire school - my locker. After much wrestling and frustration, the door snapped open, whipping away my scowl and the first layer of skin on my nose.

"Hi Kat. How's it going?" a classmate called, as she sauntered by. My name is Katrina. I hate when people call me Kat.

"Okay," I mumbled, still clutching my nose, "but I've just been attacked by my locker." Her long, raven-black hair flew away from her face as she turned around again, her huge green eyes taking in my open wound.

"Ooh, looks bad," she assessed, mocking sympathy. I scowled again as she breezed away, and returned to packing my school bag with homework. This was a long and laborious task, considering the amount of homework I had and how heavy my books were. Finally finishing jam-packing my backpack, I raced as fast as my track-trained legs could carry me out of the building and towards my departing bus. Realizing my bus was not going to wait, I panicked.

"Wait!" I screamed, frantically waving my arms. Suddenly the strap of my bag broke, and it landed in front of my legs, tripping me. Even before my knee hit the concrete sidewalk, I burst into tears of absolute frustration. I sniffed and cried, looking around at a blurry, dream-like world. Only it wasn't a dream. It was only too real. The bus grumbled away until eventually it was out of sight and hearing range. I left my backpack on the ground and staggered into the school toward the pay phones. Any minute now and I'd be completely hysterical. I bit my lip and tried to calm down.

"What's wrong with me?" I sobbed to a near-empty hallway - but not empty enough. A few stragglers stared at me strangely while others just cast curious glances in my direction. Luckily I was too emotionally upset to be embarrassed or I probably would have passed out from humiliation.

Naturally I didn't have a dime, so I was forced to call collect. When the call was finally put through, I heard a familiar voice.

"Hello?"

"Mom?" I croaked. "Can you ... (sniff) ... pick me up? I missed my bus." My voice wavered and cracked as I slowly but surely sobbed out my pitiful story.

"Sure, honey. I'll be right over," Mom's sweet, reassuring voice said softly over the receiver.

"Thanks," I whispered weakly. "Bye."

The crisp fall wind whipped my thick brown hair into my tear-streaked face as I walked outside. I was temporarily blinded by the afternoon sun, but my plain brown eyes easily adjusted. Whimpering all the while as I picked up my bag from the sidewalk, I found a bench and dropped like a lead weight onto it. Waiting for Mom, I calmed down almost completely. I breathed in one cool breath of air after another. Although humiliated by the scene I had caused, I felt considerably better. The world suddenly seemed like an okay place to live in again. By the time Mom came whizzing into the school parking lot at her usual flying speed, I was smiling. n


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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