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A Change in the Weather

“Mr. Evans, are you having trouble in Math? Do you not understand?” my teacher asks me when I am the last to slink out of the class. “Your grades have dropped from an A to a C in a matter of three months.”

Three months is a long time. Three months consists of 13.04 weeks; 91.3 days; 2191.45 hours. “No, Mr. Sykes, I understand.” Three months is a long time for a kid, Mr. Sykes, don’t you know?
“Is everything okay at home?” he finishes packing up his leather brown suitcase and makes a step towards me, before thinking better of it. He stays back as if I am a teenage bomb just waiting to take a baseball bat and go into rage mode—like the kind of things you see on TV. Pathetically, I don’t even own a baseball bat.

I adjust my backpack straps and bite my lip in careful contemplation. Define okay. If okay means hearing my parents argue in the dead of night when they think I’m sleeping, then yeah. I’m used to it now. It doesn’t bother me much. They’ve got their problems, and they’re not mine, so I don’t care anymore. “Yup, Mr. Sykes.”

My Caucasian, messy brown-haired teacher glances at me with intense blue eyes, before smiling in what looked like relief and bidding goodbye with a wave of his hand.

And like his hand was magical, I was alone again, in the same Math room I had been in for the last 4 months of my life. Quietly, I turn off the lights and close the door behind me as I go out into the hallway, keeping my head down because I could get home faster with less people interrupting me.

As I reach my locker, however, people come up to me as they goof off and push each other around like doofuses. “Hey dude, we’re all going to the skate park, ya coming?” one of them asks me.

“Sorry, can’t.” I toss my binder and textbooks into my bare locker. Was there any homework to do over the weekend? I can’t even remember anymore.

“You never come with us anymore.” he grumbles somberly, but breaks out into a laugh when somebody bumps into an open locker door.

Aw well, homework’s annoying anyway. “I’m busy, Daniel.” I wasn’t.

“You always are.” I can sense the bitter tone, and someone punches him on the shoulder.

“Shut up Danny-boy, stop giving him a hard time.” To me: See you later, okay?

“Yeah, see ya later.” Hopefully not; the skate park is boring now, and so are they. So is everything. Can’t you guys do anything different once in a while?

As soon as I step outside the school, the sun shines down brightly upon me, although it seems as if the clouds are rolling in quickly. Better get home soon before it rains.

I go down the stairs of the front of the school, but then somebody blocks my way and I tense up to get ready to shove them out of the way.

“Hey! Didn’t you hear me calling you?” a girl stands in front of me. She has messy, but somehow nice, black hair, tied into a ponytail. Her green t-shirt says, ‘I dare you to blink. You’re dead.’ Probably an obscure reference to some weird TV show that nobody even knows about. “You’re Spencer, right? Or Mr. Evans?” she playfully mocks Mr. Sykes. “I’m new to your Math class, do you mind telling me what you’ve learned so far?”

Although I hadn’t been paying much attention in class, I wasn’t deaf, so I told her all about rational functions, inverse functions, etc. Things that I almost forgot about, but was somehow still in the back of my mind after all these monotone days.

As we are about to part ways, a loud boom! escapes through the skies—so loud that some kids whip their heads to the sky in alarm—and I feel something wet grace my skin. Rain drops come down abruptly and brashly, with no regard for anything or anybody.

The girl in front of me squeals, not in distaste, but not exactly in happiness either. She then scrunches her face up as mascara begins to drip down her face, almost like wax would if it were being melted. “Sarah, Karen, let’s go back into the school and wait it out!” she calls out to her friends who were waiting on the other side of the staircase.

She turns back to me and says, “Sorry Spence,” when did we get on a nickname basis? I don’t even know her name. “Gotta run, see ya later.” She then proceeds to run as quickly as she can into the school, but it looks very lopsided and awkward because her flip flops are going clack clack, constantly threatening to slip off.

The rain pours down and soaks me to the bone as I stand there staring after her—after all those kids, who are running frantically as if the water is acidic and their lives are dependent on staying dry. For the first time in a long time, a small grin adorns my face, and I feel laughter in me.

Nobody notices as I quietly turn and walk in the opposite direction.

Perhaps today… Perhaps I will take a little detour home.




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