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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.

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“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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AbigailElizabeth said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 5:08 pm
very powerful..although it would seem more realistic if she was a bit older than 13. maybe 15?
 
hungergames_love replied...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 5:19 pm
I agree. Thirteen seemed a little young...
 
cieramist This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Mar. 24, 2011 at 10:06 am
I agree, too.  My sister is thirteen and no one at that age is usually like that.  Try maybe like 15 and up.  Then it would have more impact I think. But great job! i loved the way you write!
 
Miara replied...
Apr. 15, 2011 at 10:46 am
I disagree.  Having her so young gives us a feel for what we are doing to those who merely want what we already have.
 
AnnaCwell replied...
Jun. 14, 2011 at 11:14 am
I think that 13 was actually a pretty solid age. There are 8th grade girls out there that behave this way. Hasn't anyone ever seen the movie Thirteen that Catherine Hardwicke directed?
 
Kaity-Bear95 said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 4:10 pm
Wow. Just wow. This piece is so truthful. A lot of people don't realize that when somebody acts bad or sometimes just different, there's quite often a reason why. I'm a super shy and nervous person, quite often described as emo, and people don't realize that I'm like that because of my past, because of being pushed around and some harsh situations. I may not have the same exact situation as this girl (I'm on the opposite side of teh spectrum) but our situations are very similar. Great writi... (more »)
 
FmsAnonymous said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm
WOW!!! this is just utterly, absolutely amazing! I love how you twisted the story to explain why this 13 year old behaves badly. It changes my mind about girls in real life that are like that. Maybe they are in the same situation, hopefully not.
 
DinoNugget said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 6:29 am
Wow!!  That was really good.  The only thing I can say is that I really hope that isn't based off of a true story.  Though, it probably IS somewhere.
 
Lillie said...
Feb. 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm
That was fantastic!  THe only thing I would comment on would be, that I think it would be more believable if the characters were a little older.  But that is just me nit picking because of how GREAT it was!
 
BlackBaroness said...
Feb. 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm
totally amazing...
 
AthenaBook said...
Feb. 20, 2011 at 9:50 am
WOW!!! That was really amazing! You really captured the whole school teasing and disgust at this one girl and you described everything really well. Fantastic job!!!
 
ferosa45 said...
Feb. 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm
beautiful. lonelicess is like a cankerworm eating away at the soul. everyone needs someone to love and requite love.
 
Daydreamish said...
Feb. 8, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Wow... just... WOW!!! :)

This is incredible! I love the style; it suits the story very well. The ending was especially great. You could definitely make this into a book... I know I would buy it! :D

 
dance_babee said...
Feb. 8, 2011 at 6:08 pm
wow, it gave me goose bumps when i read this, great work!
 
Skylersmith1997 said...
Feb. 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm
WOW! That was really good, and what a nice lesson learned. Don't judge a book by its cover, well, at least it kinda is. Haha, great work
 
BlankPage said...
Feb. 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm
Wow i really liked that, it shows alot. some people need to be wanted so bad that they do things that they know are wrong
 
Bookworm2010 said...
Jan. 27, 2011 at 3:21 pm
Simply wonderful. Great story!
 
riteren said...
Jan. 19, 2011 at 11:56 pm
wow, that was so beautiful and drove home a very important lesson; we tend to judge ppl to quickly without realizing they have feelings, same as we do
 
jhanso15 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm
 i agree! so wonderful!
 
writerinfinity said...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 11:03 pm
Second time I've read it, and it still is good. :) Good job!
 
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