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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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This article has 533 comments. Post your own!

Kaileigh918 said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 10:34 am:
wow... amazing... congrats on getting it put in the mag! then again, it would be a mistake if it wasnt in the mag. :)
 
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Shelbs13 said...
Jul. 3, 2010 at 12:53 am:
This is beautiful
 
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acaciaflower said...
Jun. 30, 2010 at 6:30 am:
it's great,really!...'don't judge a book by it's cover', eh?...
 
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midnitewriter said...
Jun. 27, 2010 at 12:40 pm:
Ahhhhh- maazinngggg
 
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Minderella said...
Jun. 26, 2010 at 1:39 am:
I really like this piece.  I love the emotion conveys--it reached the depths of my heart and I'm speechless with admiration.  So I'll just smile :)
 
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G-jerde said...
Jun. 24, 2010 at 2:48 pm:
Aww, that one made me get all emotional! Great job and keep it up! You really grasped the whole 'middle school atmosphere' thing!
 
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socrchik33 said...
Jun. 21, 2010 at 8:34 pm:
stuff lk this happens all the time...im glad someone finally jst came out and said. this was a really amazing peice you should be proud :)
 
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DancerBabe said...
Jun. 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm:
That was amazing! It the truth and you desribed in a wonderful way!
 
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kaloridley said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 9:15 pm:
This is such a good story!!!! I love how you pulled both parts together to get your message across to the readers.
 
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LeilaniLivesThis 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...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 6:53 pm:
At first I was apauled and shocked at the fierce, rude behavior... then I realized the focus of the story and I was beautified at how you put this all together. Job well done.
 
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D.Whitnee said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 6:38 pm:
This an amazzing story, i really like this one, you got a gift in this. Your an awesome writer.
 
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chrisgirl13 said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 6:20 pm:

This is such a true story. Keep up the good work. You have the makings of a best selling author.

 

 
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Thrush said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 3:55 pm:
So sadly true! Awww. I hate the way people judge like that. They know nothing, they're just as bad as the girl is..... you know. This was really good.
 
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still-a-novice said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 9:30 am:

Aww, this is awesome. I can't believe how good you are at this. keep going!

 

 
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EmilyFrances said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 8:29 am:
This was spectacularly well written. I go to a small school where all the grades are together, and I've seen first hand how awful thirteen year old girls can be. Now, older, it all seems so petty. But it really is sad, the way all these girls are living. You really captured the feelings of being threatened, and lashing out accordingly. I really really enjoyed this piece.
 
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Cloud9<3 said...
Jun. 11, 2010 at 1:55 am:
Aww I luved this<333333
 
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MoonlightAngelx0 said...
May 31, 2010 at 9:40 pm:
Absolutly amazing
 
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chaelo said...
May 20, 2010 at 10:14 pm:
This was really thoughtful, trying to gain perspective on someone else's life, even if you hate them.
It shows that you never really know a person, and you can't judge them unless you know their story.
 
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dancingirl said...
May 20, 2010 at 8:12 pm:
What a great piece. That's so sad and makes me wonder what all the girls, like the one in this story, at my school how their home life is.
 
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charlottegirl said...
May 20, 2010 at 5:20 pm:
Fantastically written. This story, whether based on fact or fiction, relates to so many people. Bravo!
 
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