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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!

Bandana56 said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm:
That was good. The way how you described everyone isolating her is spot on, that's exactly what happens in real life.
 
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N.Marfil said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 4:48 pm:
I really like it! The little details you included (like the great slushies) really make the story a whole lot better! I loved it, only i feel like you rushed a bit in the end there. I wish you would have focused more on how unhappy she was, to make the reader feel bad for her too. Other than that, great job.
 
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Jalulu_starThis 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. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 1:13 pm:
I think I know someone like that. It definitely made me feel for the character.
 
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selenafan1 said...
Jan. 26, 2012 at 5:58 am:
this was a really good story i believe... i like the moral to dont judge a book by its cover because so many people get judged but you dont know about their personal life and what they have to go through.
 
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@m@nd@This 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...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm:
all i can say i hat a wounderful job you've done with this piece. no words can be writen as to how i feel i see and live theese moments everyday keep it up!!
 
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LaurenE. said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 12:26 pm:
This was so sweet. I've always said that the best stories are the ones that make you feel something. You made me feel compassion for her :) Keep it up.
 
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InvisibleHeart said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 11:39 am:
Beautiful. I love and relate to this story!!
 
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hobo12321 said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 8:12 am:
This is so amazing, the emotion is so pure and i love how the main character hates her at the beggining! really great!
 
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rolzpolz98 said...
Jan. 4, 2012 at 3:48 am:
wow!!!......
 
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Def_Leppard_fan120This 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...
Dec. 27, 2011 at 10:45 pm:
Check out my article called THE BATTLE by Def_Leopard_fan120 and leave a comment on what you thought about it
 
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ChaoticBliss said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 10:28 pm:
Wow, this.. is truly amazing! I loved every single word of it. You did a great job!!
 
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otherpoet said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 8:32 pm:
Stereotypes are hard to look beyond sometimes, you do a great job at portraying the narrow-mindedness of a 13 year-old. Thanks for the story!
 
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Unknown0_0 said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm:
It is so hard not to judge and look in between the lines. It is hard to accept. Beautiful work. :)
 
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Countrylife4 said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 9:39 am:
That was AMAZING!! :D Keep on the good work!
 
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PrettyFireflies said...
Dec. 13, 2011 at 6:59 am:
Really good. =D Can i read more?
 
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StarStrukk said...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 9:47 am:

This story is short, but great. I love it. Cheers to you! I like how you relate it to things that happen in real life, and the ways that girls deal with every day things.

 

 
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animaleana said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm:
I love it! You should really write a sequel
 
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SmileyFace13 said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm:
very powerful, amazing message! i have goosebumps 
 
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Ekf07 said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm:
wow thats sad and cool at the same time. Great piece and it so deserves to be in the magazine!
 
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alicecullen said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 5:30 pm:
AMZING STORY! could you check out some of my pieces too? thanks that would be very much appreciated!
 
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