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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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kairi.kaylyn said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 2:24 pm:
I was kind of sad at the beginning becuase everyone hated her, but when someone finally saw what she deals with at home they feel bad for her. I loved it.
 
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clumsyteardropper said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 10:07 am:
woah that was amazing... man i wish that i had come up with this.  great work!!!  really powerful!!! love it! :D
 
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Belief_Among_Unrest said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 7:50 am:
Wow, this is truly amazing. You're such a talented writer!
 
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FULLSTOP said...
Nov. 21, 2011 at 4:26 am:
wow i think that it's a good piece of fiction, and that it gets across what you r trying to say in that chapter, Amazing.
 
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Gingersnap777 said...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 8:23 pm:
Sweet, simple, and powerful...Great job!
 
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Fia-fia said...
Oct. 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm:
This is beautiful and it makes you think abou the reason why. Please continue to write more.  :)
 
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MaxRide said...
Oct. 26, 2011 at 9:53 am:
good message and nice writing style.  write more for this story!
 
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PumpkinscoutThis 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...
Oct. 23, 2011 at 4:57 pm:
I just read this again, and it's lost none of its sparkle...my goodness this is just...wow PLEASE whatever you do, KEEP WRITING!!!
 
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DarknessForever13 said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 10:58 pm:
This is amazing. There are so many people out there who have gone through this, expecially in Highschool. "Never judge someone by what they do, or how they act, learn what made them that way first." Why can't people understand those few simply words?!
 
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maggie2kute said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 6:33 pm:
This is so uplifting, powerful, and positive. I LOVE IT!!!
 
Jenim replied...
Oct. 14, 2011 at 4:14 pm :
I agree! Keep writing!!!
 
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Lola_Black said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm:
Wow! This is very powerful! Keep writing, I beg you!
 
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aimaginater said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm:
I love this. Highschool can be so much like this sometimes.
 
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Emmmmwpcp said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm:
Omigodd....that was amazing writing!  Wow.
 
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originalpadawon25 said...
Oct. 8, 2011 at 2:15 am:
you made me want to wish for the girl. 
 
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Socsisshea said...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm:
This is so touching...nearly brought to tears, because i new someone like this once. I'd be honored if you would check out my stories.
 
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Anonymous said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm:
Wow. That was amazing :)
 
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kat_b. said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 8:06 pm:
This story is so true... You did a great job showing that we shouldn't judge people because of their actions.. Especially if we don't know what their home life is like... This piece was very moving!! Awesome!
 
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PumpkinscoutThis 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...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 11:38 am:
This peice is so emotional and well-crafted...I almost cried at the end. 
 
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amchaucer said...
Sept. 16, 2011 at 9:50 am:
This is a great piece of writings. 1 of the best writings I've read not just on teen ink ever. I see you would make a great author.  Keep up the amazing work.
 
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