Three Times

January 20, 2010
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If you ask me, Elijah Sagong, about lunch detention, I’m going to tell you it’s a truly curious thing. Upon further questioning, I would tell you that, honestly, despite the fact that it is a punishment, it seems kind of pleasant to me. Before you write me off as a crazed juvenile delinquent, hear me out. For a start, about the ‘crazed’ part, think about the cafeteria. It’s loud, obnoxious, and crowded (and that’s flattery). About being a delinquent, lunch detention isn’t even comparable to those juvenile detention schools (not that I’d know firsthand), and it’s my friends roping me into things. So, looking to my left at Addie texting underneath the table and to my right at Patrick who was still muttering under his breath about the government controlling locks, I’d like to think that I’m the best behaved and sanest of the three of us.
The truly curious thing is why exactly I’m here. It’s such a mundane thing, and on any normal day no one would expect any sort of story behind a lunch detention from being tardy. Three tardies isn’t exactly unusual if you’re the kind to mosey down the hall as if you had nowhere to go. I was, however, not one of those people.
“Eli,” I heard Addie whisper. I looked over at her. The first tardy had started with her saying the exact same thing.
“Eli,” came Addie’s voice, a soft whisper I barely heard in the chaos of the crowded hallway. It irritated me that she still insisted on calling me that instead of Elijah, but she thought it was cute, so I couldn’t fight her.
“What?” I asked her.
I can’t entirely remember why she was so upset (probably just more of the latest gossip), but Addie was having a breakdown. That isn’t really saying much, being that Addie, as much as we all love her, is a notorious drama queen.
Being as caring as my mother raised me to be, I comforted her, walking her slowly down the hallway and talking her down from doing anything stupid. Of course, we were a couple minutes late to our next class. Miss Noland did listen to my story, but Addie was one of those people who never looked like she had been crying.
Because she didn’t look like she had been crying or even upset as she sat down and chatted with her friends, we were both forced to sign the tardy log.
“Eli,” Addie repeated, drawing me out of my reverie. “What’s your number?” She gestured at the phone in her lap.
“I don’t have a phone,” I said.
‘Really,” she whispered, looking confused. “I thought you had one. Does Patrick?”
“Nope,” I whispered, glancing worriedly at Miss Noland. Luckily, she had not noticed that we were talking. “He thinks the government would read all of his text messages and listen to his calls.”
The next tardy was Patrick’s fault.
The second tardy was a silly one. Patrick had bought a couple of pendants that, in theory, would possess the ability to stop time. I knew that it would not, but Patrick was so happy and hopeful that I did not have the heart to tell him so.
They were really awful, ugly little things. He put one around my neck and one around his. “Did it work?” he asked, leaning against the lockers behind us.
Looking up at the clock above our heads, I heard the ticking as seconds flew by. But apparently he didn’t notice this or the fact that people were moving around us. Perhaps the thing held some magic after all: the magic to make him blind. Though, to be fair, the people were all moving so slowly that you’d never know the difference.
At a leisurely pace he walked me through the hallway. We were three minutes late to class. I really don’t have much to say about this tardy other than that I definitely will not ever listen to Patrick ever, ever again.
Addie had gone back to silently texting below the table. Who were these messages getting to? Maybe she was being filled in on all of what happened at lunch. For some reason, we always had a dramatic lunch table. It made it hard to eat in peace.
The last tardy is the best, in my opinion.
Are you familiar with breezeways? If you aren’t, there’s a courtyard surrounded by hallways, and there are a couple of doors and a sidewalk between the doors. It is an easier way of getting from class to class. You walk on the sidewalk from door to door instead of walking around all the hallways, basically.
Today, the breezeways were closed. But unfortunately, none of us remembered this fact.
“Let’s take the breezeway, I don’t want to walk past the cafeteria,” Addie said.
“The cafeteria is sending out some weird wavelengths right now,” Patrick agreed, heading towards the breezeway door.
I followed the two of them because I knew that things would only be worse if I didn’t. If only I had remembered that it was closed.
Because they were closed, the door on the other side was locked.
As soon as Addie realized this, she was pounding on the door and cursing their luck and pleading with whatever gods she could think of. Some people on the other side of the door noticed us and most that noticed laughed, but made no move to let us in.
Eventually a teacher came and let us in. Of course, though, Miss Noland did not believe the tale and in any case blamed our ignorance. Patrick tried to defend our case by telling her about how the government was messing with locks, but if anything that just made it worse.
Marked tardy three times, and we were in lunch detention. I leaned on my desk and nibbled on my bread to wait it out. Fifteen minutes, and I’d be free.

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WhiteBear said...
Jun. 14, 2010 at 10:26 am
this is really good and well written, very funny as well!! :-)
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