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.






Join the Discussion

This article has 544 comments. Post your own now!

FallenAngel said...
Mar. 30, 2009 at 4:10 am
I like it!
 
Amanda B. said...
Mar. 29, 2009 at 10:53 pm
I love this story!!
I've come back to read it a couple of times,
and sent it to everyone i know with an email adress.
Good job on it,i hope you sumit more!!
 
Taylor E. said...
Mar. 29, 2009 at 7:51 pm
Great is a good word to sum this up. Kind of like everyone else has said you make it seem real because stuff probably has happened exactly like this in the world!
 
~:goddessofwriting:~ said...
Mar. 28, 2009 at 12:59 am
awwwwww! this is beautiful.The realness of it makes me have hope for a guy who actually cares(like the main character) moreso than the guys who like the girl, not for who she is, but for her body. nice work :)<3
 
Jennifer S. said...
Mar. 26, 2009 at 12:07 am
OMG!!! This is an AMAZING story, and it is so real, it felt like non-fiction!! You are an amazing writer, and for all i know, you could have had the whole entire thing happen to you and disguised it as fiction!! The characters, everything just seemed so real, I loved it. It was so meaningful!!!
 
Andrea W. said...
Mar. 25, 2009 at 9:40 pm
Wow that was really good and probable that girls who are treated like that will act like that.
 
MySocksAreYellow said...
Mar. 25, 2009 at 8:28 pm
Loved it!
 
JennJenn said...
Mar. 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm
amazing. im sitting here in 1st period school, totally entranceddd!!!!!
 
CoffeeFreak!! said...
Mar. 25, 2009 at 2:46 am
Wow!! that is super good!!
i love it!!
it makes you wonder what really goes on!!
 
megan39 said...
Mar. 24, 2009 at 10:03 pm
honestly, i cried.
 
OhMyGod123Peter said...
Mar. 23, 2009 at 11:30 pm
Wow.. I really like it.
I'm new to this site.
check out my work when its up (:
 
Sean W. said...
Mar. 23, 2009 at 10:09 pm
Oh my gosh. That was really good. It reminds me of this girl in my school, because she is alot like that girl. Too much lipstick, short skirts... That is really good
 
ultrabookworm said...
Mar. 23, 2009 at 8:16 pm
That was really inspiring. It shows how everyone, no matter what they do or have done, has a story behind what most people see. You really should write more stories! I loved it.
 
Miaoru G. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 11:33 pm
Love it.
 
ElizabethS. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 9:27 pm
That was really good. It reminds us all that there is always another, very different story lurking behind the one we see everyday.
 
Amanda B. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 9:18 pm
Wow, that was very sad. I liked it.
 
Megan P. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 8:28 pm
Wow. That's amazing. Thank you for getting such a strong message out in a very good way!
 
Laura said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 6:30 pm
Wow. Are you really a teen. I'm a librarian taking an online class on readers' advisory, helping people find a good book, for teens. We were asked to review a website, and instead I've been reading and re-reading your work. This piece is wonderful. Keep up the good work.
 
Melinda L. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 2:26 am
THis is so...WOW! this has an amazing lesson that alot of people dont learn. I loved this so much.
 
carly M. said...
Mar. 21, 2009 at 12:34 am
that was really inspiring
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback