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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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Luv2Swim24 said...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm:
That is really good. That would make a great story. Like the girl keeps wishing for her, then they end up becoming friends. Then the girls finds out who the "W" really is. 
 
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Alia_Tan said...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 8:29 pm:
Love this story! Great Job!
 
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NateJS said...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 6:40 pm:
The style of this story was so engaging and just great
 
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Ne Vassa B. said...
Jan. 17, 2011 at 11:41 am:
Wow. Amazing. This expresses alot of the people I know.
 
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CorahGristel said...
Jan. 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm:
i really like this. alot.
 
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abimuffykitty said...
Jan. 3, 2011 at 10:07 pm:
very insightful! it makes you think how many other girls are treated, and act like this. i wish for them too! i loved it!
 
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AlexAldridge said...
Dec. 27, 2010 at 6:45 pm:
one word. unforgetable.
 
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niko_timmy said...
Dec. 27, 2010 at 7:51 am:
amazing! wonderful piece! at first, i have to be honest, i was wondering where it was going, but the end really tied it together. great job!
 
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A.J B. said...
Dec. 27, 2010 at 12:00 am:
This is great. I love the description.
 
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Justme137 said...
Dec. 22, 2010 at 8:12 am:
Very moving. I really enjoyed it.
 
writingrox2 replied...
Dec. 26, 2010 at 3:02 pm :
I agree. This was amazingly beautiful, and it made me think a lot.
 
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Lucie97 said...
Dec. 6, 2010 at 8:04 pm:

That was beautiful! Really made me think.... how we sometimes don't even know a person and not like her only because of how she looks or because of the rumors.

 Lucie Underwood

 
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DawnMarie said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 7:23 pm:

Tugged at my heart. 

In a good way. :)

 
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writerinfinity said...
Dec. 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm:
Great job! Really good! Keep on writing! :)
 
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JacobC said...
Nov. 29, 2010 at 8:23 pm:
Great writing.
 
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KrystalT said...
Nov. 26, 2010 at 1:47 pm:
If I ever see this in a book store one day, I'm deffinately  getting it. It was absolutly amazing!
 
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AmandaPanda123 said...
Nov. 25, 2010 at 8:48 am:
Wow, this is a great story. How long did it take you to write?
 
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OneGodForever32 said...
Nov. 24, 2010 at 10:14 pm:
Heartwrenching...but you did an amazing job writing it!
 
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doubleblacklover said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 11:24 am:
It was great but don't you think 13 is a little too young? At first I thought for sure high school and then you wrote 13, I was shocked. As a whole it's great!
 
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PaintedRocks This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 16, 2010 at 7:17 pm:
This was really good! I loved it so much! I feel like I understand people like that girl more, and what other people think of them.
 
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