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Until One Day
Amy is your typical fifteen year old: she attends a typical school, lives in a typical house, and plays a typical instrument (the clarinet, if you were curious). She has a golden retriever named Skip in whom she adores to no extent, and a sedentary, gray ’99 Toyota Corolla in her rocky, cement driveway awaiting her arrival in the driver’s seat. However, there is one unnoticed aspect about her life that, the people who do notice it, find rather atypical: everyday, Amy brings to school what looks like a gallon sized carton of orange juice. Hundreds of minute, black lines engulf the carton completely, forming some sort of code that only she knows. The unknown liquid is contained by a pair of cork stoppers at its top and attached is a strap that she slings across her torso as a type of messenger bag. I think you get the picture. It’s weird, right?
But because of this, Amy has been out casted from her entire class. School, rather.
A strangely decorated carton. Who knew?
Tension fills the halls like a faucet fills up a glass of water when Amy steps out into the sea of despair and utter embarrassment. But she is not embarrassed, just lonely. She would explain why she carries this around, but why bother? What’s the point in trying to befriend a person who has shunned you from the start? There’s no point, she thought. No point at all. She was happy enough by herself. Content is what you could call it…Well, no, Not really.
Until one day.
Mr. Simpson, known as “Snape” to his entire AP U.S. class, became exhausted of this horrible journey Amy travels through each day. He wanted to befriend her: she was excelling tremendously in his class, yet her A+’s didn’t seem to faze her. He was the only one who saw a yearning in her eyes, a type of yearning that he had never seen before, as if she really did want to be accepted. Besides, she didn’t even call him Snape. He wanted to change that.
The day he approached her, it was raining like a shower on “full throttle.”
As Snape handed back tests from the Tuesday before, he came across Amy’s 100%. Typical, he thought. But instead of handing it back to her, he kept it. Amy’s heart began to beat a little quicker, and with each minute that she didn’t receive her test back, she became more apprehensive. She started to reason with herself: if I don’t get mine back, I’ll just go speak with Mr. Simpson after class, she decided. She had fallen into Snape’s maybe-she’ll-see-me-after-class-where-I-can-subtly-inquire-about-her-life trap. The last test was meted and he proceeded with the day’s lesson. The bell rang to signify the end of 4th period, or instead, the beginning of Amy’s acceptance? Don’t mess this up, he commanded himself. This was his one shot to do something for her.
And so she went to see him. And you thought she’d be smarter than that, eh? Me too.
Call me Snape, he interrupted. He already knew he was making her extremely nervous. She told him about his misdistribution of her test, that maybe he accidentally gave it to someone else? Or did she do poorly? Because if I did I’m really sorry and I’ll try harder next time but I’m going to be late to math and I have to-
No no no, he interrupted again. I have your test, and you didn’t do poorly. I’ll give you a pass, but I just want to talk to you…
The rain clouds passed. She sat and listened to what he said. She felt like she should be somewhat offended, for these observations he made throughout these months, but she couldn’t bring herself to feel such a way: he was right, and she was happy. Happy because she got a 100% on her test. Happy because somebody talked to her. Happy because somebody cared.
And so she explained to him. Everything. The carton, her feelings, her life. She’d never felt so accepted and yet so strange at the same time- this was her teacher she was talking to. But she didn’t second guess herself and spewed out meaningful, elaborate sentences that she had been hiding beneath the carton for a while. It felt good to let loose.
Snape taught her a quote by Christopher McCandless, who wrote, “Happiness is only real when shared.” It turned out the carton was symbolic of her life: she wanted somebody to take the challenge and unravel the code.