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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!

Edyt D. said...
Mar. 1, 2009 at 2:51 am
I really enjoyed reading your piece; I felt that even though I have never been in this situation, I could still connect with the narrator. As a reader, I felt sympathetic towards both the narrator and "her." Although it is a short story, you manage to create "round" or multi-faceted characters rather than merely having the narrator be (morally) correct. It was a great piece, and it really made me think! :D
 
GothicCrayon said...
Feb. 28, 2009 at 1:40 am
Your a very good writer. I wouldn't be surprised, if when i go to a bookstore in the next week, and I see a novel on your name on it. Keep up the good work. :D
 
Amanda S. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 11:47 pm
This is so well written. I hate when people single out a girl to call a "whore." It sounds so cliche, but just why? It's stupid. Anyway, really great writing, keep on going. =)
 
keb said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 10:04 pm
nice...really cool
 
kidlet612 said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 9:54 pm
you are a very talented writer. i can relate this so much, and even though its fiction, its also nonfiction. this is the first piece ive read that has called out to me. this is my favorite. thank you :]
 
kenga said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 7:50 pm
very goooood!!!
 
Nelle This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 3:31 pm
Wow, this is so good :D You are an amazing writer.
 
Marlayna B. said...
Feb. 27, 2009 at 5:56 am
i loved it! your really good
 
WriterFORlife said...
Feb. 26, 2009 at 4:30 pm
Amazing!
 
Trisket said...
Feb. 26, 2009 at 5:26 am
wow this was amazing. i loved it. write more like this. your writing skills are exallent. altho the end fills like its not finished and that there is more to the story. but good job.
 
sminor09 said...
Mar. 12, 2009 at 9:58 pm
Truly amazing. It really hits home...because it happens ALL the time. But you describe it in away that really drives it into perspective. Awesome work.
 
juliet's nightengale said...
Feb. 23, 2009 at 11:01 pm
wow. this is a great peice. short, simple, yet something a lot of us needed to hear. thanks
 
annkaykay2011 said...
Feb. 23, 2009 at 8:11 pm
Amazing story...It shows kinda the truth about high school that the beautiful girls that can get anyone are not as perfect or great as everyone thinks.
 
Lisa said...
Feb. 22, 2009 at 3:23 pm
wow....this really makes you feel so much emotion
it's beautiful in this twisted kind of way
 
Buuzzo said...
Feb. 21, 2009 at 7:27 pm
All i can say is wow. Most of the time i kept the story was true. I aboulutly loved how you took somthing that could be true and made it a short story.
 
lupin said...
Feb. 21, 2009 at 7:06 pm
this is really great it stinks how the girl was treated i woulds have terrified to see her cry
 
Amyyy said...
Feb. 21, 2009 at 2:03 pm
I absolutely LUVED it!!!! Very nice descriptive words, though i feel like maybe you rushed into the next part and got done with it a little too quickly. (But that's probably because I wanted to read more!) Great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
BeeBee said...
Feb. 21, 2009 at 3:11 am
ok, i left a comment already and then when i looked back, im like.... um. haha. OOPS. this was so real, i kept thinking it was NONfiction. my comment was left as "forgettingmyfaults" before, and you fooled me! amazing! or shall i say, great writing? ;)
 
mcBut3r said...
Feb. 21, 2009 at 2:16 am
girl you should make a addition to it! tht was great! the breaking bones stuff was kinda dramatic, but hey i liked it! =D
 
Marisa M. said...
Feb. 20, 2009 at 5:22 pm
this story is AMAZING! you did a great job writing this! your words are very descriptive and you were really organized writing this.
 
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