Spilled Milk This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

October 30, 2010
Custom User Avatar
More by this author
Spilled milk. All over the ramp to Room 36. The chocolate puddle slowly moved to the bottom of the ramp as the class watched. It had no relation to me, so I poked my friend, continuing our game.

“Who did this?” asked Mrs. S, my third-grade teacher: my idol, my favorite teacher ever. When she smiled the lines around her eyes would crinkle and her eyes would sparkle; I loved her smile. She wasn't smiling now. My friend poked me and giggled.

“Don't you know that we pour the drinks we don't finish in the sink, then throw the cartons in the trash can?”

My smile melted the way birthday candles melt with flames. We do? I didn't know. My heart began to pound slowly, then faster, encompassing everything in me. My eyes traveled to the ground. She doesn't know. How can she? She knows. Please don't say anything to me.

“Everyone stand up.”

I began to tremble. My small, shaking hands were ice cold.

“Sit down if you did not buy a school lunch.”

More than half the class sat promptly. Whispers filled the empty void. Should I sit? No, I can't. I don't lie.

She surveyed the classroom. “Sit if you didn't have chocolate milk or if you had juice.” Her eyes were not crinkling. There were two girls left. And me.

My throat was dry but my eyes pounded with unshed tears. Not me. Maybe someone else did what I did too. Shared my mistake. Please.

“Sit if you poured out your milk or finished it.” Her eyes were cold. Hard.

I glanced over hopefully. They sat. My stomach flipped. I was standing alone.

I shifted from foot to foot and dared a quick glance up. Her eyes did not crinkle. My heart dove to my stomach, threatening all a view of my lunch. They whispered.

What's going to happen? I felt tears pushing through, and while trying to blink them back, my throat closed, choking back the desire to run far from here.

Picking up a green gardening bucket, Mrs. S filled it with water and beckoned me to follow her out onto the ramp, away from the stares of my peers. My breathing got no easier.

What's gonna happen to me? Don't cry, don't cry, everyone will see and make fun of you.

“Just pour this over the spilled milk until it's gone, okay?”

I nodded, sure this was the worst day of my life, and looked up, just in case.

And her eyes slowly crinkled.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

Aeliss-Novak-the-Zombie-Space-Pirate said...
Feb. 27, 2013 at 11:41 pm
That was really, really good. :) So often we get so scared over tiny little things that don't really matter.
htrae22 said...
Feb. 2, 2011 at 8:19 pm
this was good i loved the ending
Ellawind said...
Dec. 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm
That's actually really intense, you went really deep into the emotions for the story being about someone so young. Very, very true, though- I actually recall a similar thing happening to me way back in elementary school. I feel as though one could read way into this and see the way she wants her teacher and idol to love her but also doesn't want to lie. Amazing and original piece, I'm impressed. :) 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback