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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!

Tushar said...
Apr. 28, 2010 at 10:22 am:
WOW wonderful. short, sweet and touching!
 
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Everhart said...
Apr. 28, 2010 at 7:04 am:
WOW. *applause* Brilliant!
 
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raychell.faith said...
Apr. 13, 2010 at 1:50 pm:
this is insanely good. like you needed one more person to tell you that =), but it really is. <3.
 
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tallgirl1222 said...
Apr. 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm:
This was a really great piece.  The moral was great, too.  It just goes to show that you cannot truly judge anyone until you know their story.  The writing was excellent.  keep it up :)
 
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Jolayne J. said...
Apr. 6, 2010 at 4:01 pm:
I deffinatly like it! Its real and down to earth. The only thing that i might have done differantly is explain more of the past. Like for instance why she felt that way she felt. Why she felt like that in the first place.
 
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Medieval_Maiden03 said...
Apr. 6, 2010 at 2:48 pm:
I really like this. You have good, descriptive details. The story is believable too.
 
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^unshed.tears said...
Apr. 6, 2010 at 11:45 am:
this is really good!! i gotta say, i have been guilty of jugding people without knowing the whole story; but i'm trying to watch that now haha. but keep writing, you're really good =)
 
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BookReader said...
Apr. 6, 2010 at 9:24 am:
I think this is really good. I like your style of writting and the way you keep the readers interest throughout
 
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neimyne This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 7:36 pm:
I love your use of dialog and the short way of your words. They say so much.
 
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Mirror_Of_You said...
Apr. 2, 2010 at 11:23 pm:

Wow!

How many people in the world have been in this situation? From the comments on this page, I would say quite a few. For some reason, this poem reminded me of the movie; Pay It Forward. Have you seen that movie? If you haven't you should take some time to see it. A person with depth in their character like you is a person who could write something, write one small sentence that could change a life . . .

 
Friggi replied...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm :

TO ALL THE PEOPLE OUT THERE IN THE WORLD

DONT JUDGE BY THE COVER BECAUSE MOST PEOPLE ARE NEVER SEEN FOR THE DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH ALL PEOPLE SEE IS THAT PERSON TRYING TO ACT TOUGH

 
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RawringOne said...
Apr. 1, 2010 at 9:19 am:
Very expository and touching. Makes you think. I hate to say I'm guilty of being a total jerk to someone. It' s true that we can be extremely hateful to someone without ever knowing what the truth is. Thank you for writing this.
 
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deardiary said...
Mar. 30, 2010 at 11:49 pm:
wow, very insightful.
 
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SageSin said...
Mar. 30, 2010 at 9:46 am:
This story is beautiful im really glad someone has the heart to say that some people do the things the for a reason Thanks for putting this out there! ^_^ I respect you.
 
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lauraea23 said...
Mar. 29, 2010 at 8:54 pm:
This is so touching and kinda upsetting. Keep up the good work.
 
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Rhoswen said...
Mar. 19, 2010 at 1:00 am:
It's a very thoughtful peak into a girl's life.
 
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TheDreamer said...
Mar. 17, 2010 at 3:41 pm:
i know that feeling. you dont like someone and u see or hear how their life is. and sometimes it een scares you and u cant hold back tears. i feel this story, and its a good one.
 
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X0RoKoX0 said...
Mar. 15, 2010 at 5:42 pm:
I love this soo much it dragged me in and i coould just picture the story!!
Keep writing and check out my work
 
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celloizmylife said...
Mar. 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm:
Wow, I can think of lots of girls I know like that, only I know for certain they don't have a bad home life. For the first half I was really ticked off with the main character and her friends; how can any of them be so heartless? Endless gossip, violence, and just unempathetic hate, but that's the world isn't it. That's teenagers. The end was sweet though.
 
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OliviaMiaKing said...
Mar. 15, 2010 at 3:13 pm:
This story was amazing. It had me captured the whole time. It was amazing!
 
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