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A Wish For Her This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

By
“Is that her?”
“What? Who?”
“Shh … here she comes.”

“Oh … her.”

We avert our eyes as she walks by. We clutch our books tightly to our chests, stare down at our sneakers, and hold our breath as she passes. Whispers follow her like shadows as she scurries up the stone stairs, through the metal doors. Lisa and I exchange looks. The bell rings in our ears, and we head inside.

“Who’s she with today?” Lisa asks at lunch.

“Toby,” I scoff, biting into my ­sandwich.

“Figures. Apparently they had a great time at Jack’s apartment last weekend.” I make a face.

“Disgusting.” Lisa laughs.

“I bet she has all sorts of diseases.”

“I bet she’s wearing his sweatshirt. The one that smells as bad as he does.”

“I bet she’s gonna be one of those girls who never goes to college and ends up on the street.”

“I bet she’s gonna be a …” I look around to make sure no teachers are listening, “whore.”

That’s her new name. It spreads like a foul disease around the school, through the hallways, passed from one lip-gloss-smeared mouth to the next. Some kids just call her “The W,” or “The H” for the stupid ones who can’t spell. It’s what she is. It’s who she is. And none of us like her. None except Toby and Mitchell and all those guys who are too dumb to see her for who she really is. We see her kissing guys in the alley after school each day, like she doesn’t even care, like she doesn’t even know.

Don’t worry, we’re gonna make her realize who she really is. We’re gonna make her feel so bad she’ll shrink like a little mouse and learn her lesson and stay away from all of them, especially Devin, who liked me all of sixth grade ’til she stole him last summer.

We isolate her. We don’t speak to her, not even when she asks what the homework for last night was. Find it out yourself, stupid. We leave notes in her locker, and we snicker as she walks by.

Have you learned your lesson yet, princess? Are you ever gonna stop wearing so much lipstick and eyeliner and skirts that are way too short? Are you ever gonna put out that cigarette or throw out those bottles? You’re 13 – what’s wrong with you? Didn’t your parents ever teach you what’s right and wrong? Half the grade hates you. Sticks and stones, you say, but soon it’ll be real. I will smash up your pretty face if I have to. I’ll break your bones. I could snap your neck over my knee.

***

I walk home from Lisa’s house, and I take the long way because I want to look at the moon and the stars. I want to cross the cornfield, because once I saw a shooting star. I have to walk through the sketchy neighborhood to get there, though, but I should be okay if I hurry.

Suddenly, I hear a man’s voice ­coming from one of the houses, the one with the shingles falling off and the rusty car in the driveway. He is yelling. I rush behind a tree, heart ­racing so loud I’m sure he can hear. Suddenly I see a familiar figure. It’s her. She and the man are yelling at each other. He lashes out at her, and I wince. I can hear the slap.

And then the door closes. She is alone, and she sits on her porch steps. And she cries. I’ve never seen her cry before. Alone, with no boys, out in the cold night, crying, crying, crying so hard she can’t breathe. Her tears make ugly black lines down her face. And suddenly, she looks up, and our eyes lock. I run.

I run past the houses and the deli and the gas station with the creepy owner, and the ice cream store where we get really great slushies. I cross the street, my heart racing, out of breath and into the lush grass of the cornfield. I collapse on the ground, my arms and legs spread apart, trying to catch my breath and hold back the tears, though I can’t understand why they’re coming.

She was so alone. So sad. She is loved by no one but those boys. And I’m not sure they even really love her.

Suddenly I look up and see something sparkle across the indigo sky, a little explosion of white like a firecracker on the Fourth. I close my eyes.

And I wish for her.

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

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the January 2009 Teen Ink Fiction Contest.




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This article has 533 comments. Post your own now!

writer3499 said...
Oct. 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm
Wow I wasnt expecting the ending at all but that's why it's so great! Amazing story...would you mind commenting on some of my  work? Thanks!
 
Trees said...
Oct. 18, 2012 at 3:17 pm
Great story!  
 
music7 said...
Oct. 16, 2012 at 7:22 pm
I love your work. Keep on writing!!
 
prettysoccer_girl34This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm
This is an amazing story! Incredibly detailed! Keep writing :D
 
juicyfan6 said...
Jul. 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm
This is awesome! Great job! 
 
leatherina This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm
You did an amazing job!
 
leatherina This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm
You did an amazing job!
 
RoseAndThornThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jun. 6, 2012 at 10:32 pm
Great piece, well worth the award badge it carries. I love how to told the story and made the point that you should not judge through the person who was doing the judging. Sometimes that is even deeper than the wise unlooker. And this is exactly how people are; the worse that somebody is, the worse their influences and/or strugles.
 
KelliB said...
May 15, 2012 at 11:35 am
MMHMM!! I LOVE IT!!! KEEP IT GOING!!!!!!
 
loveroffashionandwritingThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 24, 2012 at 7:39 pm
AMAZINGGG!!!
 
SilverSun said...
Apr. 24, 2012 at 9:24 am
Simply beautiful. Simply beautiful.
 
kyrireeseThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Apr. 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm
This is golden. I love it alot. Proves that we all judge people no matter who they are and that people can prove us wrong all the time.
 
shaniab said...
Apr. 1, 2012 at 8:20 pm
This was really visual and I found myself lost as if I was the main character! This was so amazzzzing !
 
Purplefeary134 said...
Mar. 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm
Three word. I. Love. It......five words.....Sooooooooooooo. Much!
 
XxwritteninpenxX said...
Mar. 10, 2012 at 12:01 pm
Wow, this is a great piece of writing! Truly exceptional!
 
WriteItOff said...
Feb. 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm
Good job, I liked it, it has a theme, alot of teen ink stories can lack that and thats kinda what makes a short story, you know? Keep up the good work!
 
aem312 said...
Feb. 17, 2012 at 11:01 pm
I could relate to this. The girls in my middle school were like the narrator in your story. It was well written.
 
Lillie M. said...
Feb. 17, 2012 at 2:21 am
Ugh, wow. This is so well written. It really makes you think about the effect you can have on people, and how much about a person you may never know. . . I'm so glad you wrote this.
 
tuttlelover said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 9:02 pm
wow i once was like the girl u described..only i wasnt slapped by a guy i was with my dad slpaaed me because of the guy i was with...
 
Lashonti said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 5:59 pm
This was really good and it reminded me of someone I know.
 
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