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In My Head

“Why are you mad at me?”
“Why do you care?”
I try to focus on the blank whiteboard.
“Why are you mad at me?”
I’m too good for them.
“Why are you mad at me?”
I need you now…
“Why are you mad at me?”
Chris, Chris, CHRIS…
“WHY ARE YOU MAD AT ME?”
I don’t care about you! I don’t care about any of you! You don’t know anything!!!
“Joanna!”
A different voice makes my head snap up. I’m staring at my teacher - my pregnant teacher, with beautiful dark hair and olive skin. I try not to stare at anyone else, because if I do I’ll burst. All of the thoughts that aren’t supposed to come out when you “think before you speak” will fly off my tongue. I feel each individual in the class turn their eyes on me. I don’t speak.
What’s wrong, Jo? Steph telepaths.
I shake my head very slowly and let my hair fall like a curtain across my face.
Like a curtain.
Like the curtain call.
The end.
I know my eyes are watering.
“Joanna, please step out into the hallway,” comes the teacher’s tired voice. My desk scrapes the tiled floor as I get up. It squeals like I weigh a million pounds, and I feel that heavy as my feet propel me towards the door. I feel the cool handle under my palm. My head is going to fall off with the weight of my thoughts.
The hallway is cool. People pass, but I don’t realize. I am paralysed. I hear nothing on the other side of the door now. I look up at the top of the wall where our painted tiles hang, the ones we made in grade five. Kindness. All the tiles had to be about kindness. I hang my heavy head.
Why am I sad?
But I can’t think about it for very long because our teacher is in front of me. We look at each other for a very long time. Then she comes next to me and tries to sit down, wincing while putting a hand on her back. I wince too. When I see people hurting it hurts me, too.
“Joanna,” she says wearily. My name rolls off her tongue and onto the cold floor. She closes her eyes.
“Joanna, I want to know what’s wrong. I am asking as your friend now, not as your teacher.”
Chris.
Get out of my head, Chris.
I…
Stop.
…love…
STOP IT!
…you!
“He won’t leave!” I whimper, tortured. I bury my face in my curled-up knees.
“Who won’t leave?”
“Him…the guy…from…” I realize I can’t say it out loud.
“Who?” she presses.
“The guy from…”
Her dark eyes search my face, a small lantern in the pitch black night.
“…the play,” I whisper.
“The play?”
“H-Hamlet.”
“Oh.”
A sudden silence falls over us like a soft blanket.
“Is he stalking you?” I hear the teacher say.
I try not to laugh. It’s the other way around, actually, I think.
“No. I…lied,” I lie, “I meant the guys in our class. They won’t leave me alone.”
With every word I grow more confident. I take my head out of my arms. It’s only a fraction of the real reasons why I have been so out of it, but maybe telling the teacher will actually help the situation.
“The keep…they keep getting too close. They say rude things and make perverted comments about us. They call us “flat,” or “fat,” and sometimes quite the opposite. They are so sexist and don’t know how to treat girls, or respect anyone for that matter. How would you like to have someone tell you they wouldn’t care if you died and that you should go to hell? Us girls, god, we stick up for each other as much as we can, but it gets to a certain point,” I slice the air with my hand.
The teacher is nodding, as if she knew about this all along. I feel anger rise within me, the invisible thermometer bobbing up and down in my bloodstream, going up and up and up…pressing thirty degrees…
The teacher grunts as she clumsily stands up and offers me a hand up, too.
“I’ll talk to them,” she says.
And I nod, acting as if she had just put a magical band-aid on my cut and it’s completely healed, when really, it’s like she peeled back the skin of an infected wound.




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This article has 7 comments. Post your own!

Wordy101 said...
Jan. 3, 2010 at 4:12 am:
Ah Chris. Dear Chris. Chris that I still can't put a face to. I can feel your pain, m'dear. If only the guys in our class could get a a good waht-for from Mme.
 
aspiring.author.09 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm :
Your comment makes me feel like I know who you are...
 
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BeccaBlue826 said...
Oct. 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm:
At first I honestly thought you were talking about Joanna like a guy she couldn't have but then it started morphing into this confusion she had with her feelings. Like she didn't know wether to like this guy who is making fun of her or to hate him for the things he does. I hope I got that right lol. But it's really good and I like how her thoughts and emotions intangle them selves when she tries to express how she feels. Bravo! XD
 
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aspiring.author.09 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm:
Thank you once again, Madison_R, and you are quite right about the dialogue. Great advice, I'll work on it!
 
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Madison_R said...
Aug. 29, 2009 at 2:54 am:
Wonderful job describing emotions. It lost me every once in a while with all the dialogue but little attribution. But it was wonderfully written. Brrrravo.
 
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aspiring.author.09 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 11, 2009 at 6:55 pm:
I did mean mental telepathy, but thank you for pointing that out! Very helpful advice!
 
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unearthlyhaphazard said...
Aug. 11, 2009 at 4:54 pm:
You've conveyed Joanna's confusion, frustration, and anger beautifully. I especially like the part when you do "I love you", but it's broken with all her other conflicting thoughts. I just don't understand the part where "Steph telepaths". Can Joanna tell by the expression on her face what she wants to stay, or are you referring to mental telepathy? Besides that, what an amazingly well written piece!
 
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