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.

“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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Dragonscribe said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 7:34 pm
great, excellent work!
kmarie17 said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 7:12 pm
WOW. if only people could not be so judgemental. I love this absolutly love this. please read my work! your amazing!
BrightBurningCampeador This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 7:05 pm
Absolutely awesome! It all sounds so real.
MARINA32 said...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm
wow thats amazing!
TheShadeNovelist said...
Sept. 26, 2010 at 6:00 pm
wow.....i was totally shocked and baffled how this story turned out.....the writing is powerful and it gives a true moral.....thank you for writing it
kristina-marie said...
Sept. 7, 2010 at 3:58 pm
amazingly put. this really makes people think about what is really happening in someone's life. you can't just judge someone. i love it. great job. its a good perspective.
mimirocks124 said...
Sept. 5, 2010 at 12:33 pm
wow amazing storyyy. relly more than meets the eye
ChillieMae said...
Aug. 23, 2010 at 7:17 am
This story really captivated. It makes you realize that many times there is more to a story than what meets the eye
AllAmericanGirl said...
Aug. 19, 2010 at 5:08 pm
Well written. Love the way you used the dialoge. It makes the story come alive.
Smoothieheart said...
Aug. 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm
This is great!! a great moral, and everything. greatly described too. I ejoyed it a lot. write more please!
justwannabeme said...
Aug. 16, 2010 at 5:49 pm
 this was absolutly amazing!!! i am going to keep this in my head for forever so i will remember not to judge everyone that i see. keep writing. and if i havent said this already, this is absolutly amazing!!! :)
MillicentBystander said...
Aug. 16, 2010 at 7:50 am

This story was so great! It really makes you realize that you can't just judge people by how they act outwardly.

Five stars!

Xela97 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 14, 2010 at 2:09 pm
hola this is awesome speaKING  BY THE WAY  IM AWESOME
V-ballChick said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 10:37 am
Great piece love the emotion and the descripsions!
Runner242 said...
Aug. 1, 2010 at 9:50 pm
this was really good, two thumbs up:)
wordsflowingfreely said...
Jul. 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm
Beautifully written! Very moving and makes you think twice about judging others. Very nice!
darkangel09 said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 11:32 pm
wow tat was really powerful. It reall make you think about other peoples stories and to them before you judge them. Great job!
xovanillatwilightxo This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 9:30 pm

This is so moving! It made me tear up a little ='[ It makes you realize you should never judge a person before you know them. Great job!

p.s. anyone who sees this is welcome to check out my work =]

MercedesXO said...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 8:57 pm

This was real. That's what i can think of to describe it. We often make those shady and hurtful remarks, often out of jelously and what not. Then when you realize with frightening sharpness that you never even knew anything about their personal life, what they really consisted of...who they were. It hurts, and you're sorry you ever said anything. Amazing story, and i loved the ending:)

I'm kind of new to the site and most of my work hasn't been accepted, but i'd like for you to view wh... (more »)

BaileyBaby13 replied...
Jul. 25, 2010 at 9:00 pm
I agree! Amazing story, 5 stars.
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