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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 now!

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
 
Riley S. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 19, 2009 at 8:41 pm
that was great! never stop writing. check out some of my work!

first name Riley
last initial S
title Sunshine and Rain


thanks! hope its as good as this!
 
Nirvana_Raine said...
Mar. 18, 2009 at 7:13 pm
This piece is exquisite! You gave me goose-bumps and shivers down my spine! Keep writing <3
 
megannnx39 said...
Mar. 18, 2009 at 3:46 pm
this was beautiful, and i really think you are a great writer. kep going!
 
jbradford96 said...
Mar. 18, 2009 at 7:02 am
This is really beautiful.
So inspiring.
I can really relate to the story, not because I've experienced it, but because it is so realistic.
Keep writing, you have amazing talent.
 
Tennisboy said...
Mar. 17, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Nice story. It was very interesting.
 
Candy said...
Mar. 17, 2009 at 12:18 am
This is a very deep and heartfelt story. Lovely wording and the story plot overall is beautifully written. I love that it is very realistic. Keep it up!
 
Kaitie5792 said...
Mar. 16, 2009 at 10:19 pm
I loved it! I've written short peices like this but I've sometimes struggled putting so much emotion into a small space. Very well done, excellent.
 
wow123 said...
Mar. 16, 2009 at 5:17 pm
i like the story but thats america welcome to it its all around us
 
WhisperingStorm said...
Mar. 16, 2009 at 3:23 am
Wow.
At the beginning I got a huge feeling that the girl telling the story was really rotten for thinking what she thought, but in the end she realized that there's reasons why people act the way they do.
I really liked the story and hope there's more writings from you. I also like the way you describe things. Great job.
 
JustAbbi This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 15, 2009 at 6:44 pm
holy goodness child. I loved this. thanks so much it nearly made me cry.
 
Sam T. said...
Mar. 15, 2009 at 3:18 pm
wow, thats really good. I love it.
:)
 
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