Happy Birthday

By , Colorado Springs, CO, CO
“He’s gone? He’s not coming back?” I gasped.
I sat in a maroon office chair with my face buried in my lap and I ignored all conversations. The counselor came down stairs to try and offer me help, but I definitely didn’t want it. She nodded her head slightly, turned around, and walked towards main office door. Seemed like Death came and just slapped me right in the face. Let’s start from the beginning.

My name is Sam, Sam Brookes. I’m seventeen and I go to Lemon bay High School. I live in Boston, Massachusetts. It was a regular school morning, much like any other. I woke up at 6:00 a.m. and went to brush my teeth. The bathroom light seemed brighter than usual.
“Ugh, school.” I thought to myself.
My body yawned and stretched then made my way back to my bedroom. My arms threw on a white v-neck, some jeans, pair of black Vans, and my old leather jacket. I shuffled into the kitchen to get some cereal then seven o’clock came around, so I tossed my bowl into the sink and grabbed my back pack.
“Goodbye Sam, happy 17th birthday. I love you” he said.
“Bye Dad thanks. Love you too.” I replied.

I ran down my street and jumped on to my bus. The sidewalk was moving so fast beneath me, I couldn’t even see the cracks. The crowded isle and obnoxious people gave me a head ache. I took a seat next to Nick.
“Sup, Nick.” looking at my best friend,
“Hey Sam, happy birthday bro.” he alleged
“Thanks man.” I said.
I slumped in the chair and dozed off. It was hard to get some shut eye when paper balls and pencils are flying through the air. I couldn’t tap a simple nap so I just talked to Nick the rest of the ride.
“Did you study for the English test?” I asked him.
“Na, did you?” he whispered.
“Kind of.” He nodded at me.

When we got to the school I read the sign “Lemon Bay High School”. I don’t really like living in Boston, but it’s whatever. The second I got inside my girlfriend, Natalie, came up to me.
“Hey we need to talk.” She whispered.
We sat down on the bench next to the gym doors. My eyes into her sky blue pupils and asked what she wanted to talk about.
“I don’t think it’s working out between us.” She said.
The one phrase that signaled me to get up and just walk away, instead I sat there with a puzzled look on my face. My mind was confused, how can things “not be working out” when we don’t have any issues. Although she was saying that things were not working out I knew what she really meant. In other words, she was telling me that she found someone else, but she’s scared to tell me that.

Finally, I got up and walked away without a word. Putting my headphones in and I walked down the hallway to my Math class. I didn’t really pay attention because I had Natalie on my mind the entire time. People kept coming up to me and they’d ask what was wrong, but I still didn’t want to talk to anyone. I was not in the mood today.

The day carried on, but it seemed as if it dragged. Thinking I’d never get out of there. Things seemed to move awfully slow today. With my break up with Natalie on my mind, I couldn’t concentrate at all, hearing my name being called left to right. Yet, I just gave them a simple head nod.

The sky was filled with gray clouds and the sun was lost. I could hear laughs and loud conversations with every step I took. Eventually I got to science class, sitting next to Jason. He never really talked much. Actually, he didn’t talk at all. Well, at least to me. I’ve known him since 5th grade and he still doesn’t say anything to me.

Mrs. Scotch started to give a lecture about DNA. I thought the lecture was so boring, I started to fall asleep. She slammed a text book right near my head and my entire body sprang up like Jack-in-the-Box. My eyes were red and bags rested underneath them. Mrs. Scotch sent me to the dean’s office. As I left the class, other students were giggling and making jokes.

I walked into the dean’s office and glanced at the golden name plate that read Mr. Caraccio. I took a look at his office and the one thing that caught my eye was his desk. There was barely anything on it. There sat a phone, a computer, a name plate, no family pictures, cards from his kids, or even a calendar. He mentioned that he had a family but now I’m not so sure.

He stared me down while I sat down in front of his large brown maple desk. Mr. Caraccio asked me why was I in his presence. I told him that Mrs. Scotch sent me down because I was sleeping in class. Without a sound he wrote me a detention slip and sent me on my way. Looked back him in his sky blue dress shirt and his striped red tie. He gave a hand signal tell me to leave.

I slowly walked back into the class and sat down. About five minutes later the bell rang. Thank God. Too bad this day would go by a little bit faster. I walked into my Spanish class and sat down at my desk then stared blankly into space until the bell rang. I turned around, looked down, and I fumbled around my backpack for pencil when I felt someone breathing down my neck. It was Mr. Rodriguez. He gave a stern look,
“What are doing Mr. Brookes?” he questioned me.
I knew he wanted me to respond in Spanish.
“Umm, nada, sólo en busca de un lápiz, pero me parece que no puede encontrar uno.” I replied
“Así que estás preparado?” he asked.
“Sí, señor.” He gave me another stern look and went to the front of the class.
Today, he just gave us a worksheet that was due by the end of class. When the bell rang he asked to see me after class. I agreed and stayed put in my desk. He came around the front counter,

“Do you know what happens when you’re unprepared?” he wondered.
I just sat there because that was a retorical question.
“Well, you should know that when you’re unprepared you get a strike, and by the looks of your strik sheet you already have 1 strike.” I nodded my head.
Mr. Rodriuez told me to go to my fourth hour and that he doesn’t want to have a conversation like that again.

The passing period between third and fourth was like a jungle. People got into fights, papers would fly through the air, and other students shove their way through the crowd. I think it was always hectic because it was right before lunch. There was about five different people that I ran into causing me to drop my things twice. Three girls gave me dirty looks and six jocks through paper balls at me.

I survived Hell Hallway and went straight to Room 247, history class. Mrs. Peterson was my favorite teacher. This was actually my favorite class. I enjoyed learning and everything seemed easy to learn. Mrs. Peterson made history fun. When we would learn about someone in history she’d dress up as them and act as if it was really them. Then she would tell us a biography about them.

During the middle of class she noticed that I didn’t seem myself. She asked what was wrong and I just told her that I was having a bad day. She understood and didn’t really give me much crap about not doing my work. Like my earlier classes, I just sat there. Mrs. Peterson gave me the assignments and told me to do what I can in class and if I don’t finish then I would have to do it for homework.

The lunch bell rang and I shoved my things into my back pack and left. I met up with Nick again and we went to the cafeteria. That place was like a zoo. It was louder than usual today. We got a table and left our stuff there to get our lunch. I got my usual and so did Nick. We both ate a chicken burger with fries on the side and chocolate milk. We didn’t really have a conversation while we ate since our mouths were full of food. When we finished we threw our trays away and started walking to Woods.

Then my phone vibrated in my pocket. I pulled it out and made sure there were no teachers around. It was a text message from my dad. Hey, I’m about to leave to New York for an emergency business trip. I’m sorry I can’t be there for your birthday. I love you and hope you have a good one. I’ll be back tomorrow. –Dad. I quickly replied to the text. Its fine, I understand. I love you too. & thanks. I’ll see you tomorrow.

“Who was that?” Nick asked.
“It was my dad, he’s not gonna be home ‘cause he had an emergency business trip.” I told him.
“Oh.” He said.
“Yeah, you wanna come over?” I asked.
“Sure.” He replied with a simple word.

We grabbed our aprons from the closet and hastily tied them around us. We put our back packs in the corner of the room so they would be out of the way. Mr. Smith showed us how to do routing and told us that we had to be creative and that it was due by the end of next week.

We got some paper and started to design what we wanted to write. I decided to write what you give is what you get. Nick said that he wanted to quote his favorite rapper, Lil’ Wayne, so he decided to write Life is like a rollercoaster then it drops. It was really quiet since today we were just designing. Mr. Smith just sat with his feet upon his desk and the daily newspaper covering his face. There was an empty cup of coffee on his desk that has been there for the past week. The dust floated around him like butterflies. I could tell that he hated his life or at least what he did for a living.

Me and Nick focused on our designs and kept working. The pair of students behind us was whispering to low enough for me to hear. The last couple minutes of class Mr. Smith told us to hold on to our designs and clean up. We hung up the aprons that we really didn’t need and took our bags and waited for the bell. When heaven rang we left the room into another crowded hallway.

“Man, this day is never gonna end.” nudging Nick on his arm.

“Yeah, dude I know.” He replied.

Both of us kept walking at a constant speed. I saw Natalie next to the Attendance Office holding hands and kissing Mike Finley. You could tell she found someone else and it didn’t take her long to move on. I wanted to go over there and punch Mike’s face out. I don’t even know why she’s dating him. He’s like two grades below her and the worst thing about it is that he and I used to be close. Mike was like a little brother to me, but that’s all changed now.

“You okay, Sam?” Nick asked me.

“Yeah, I’m—I’m fine.” I came back with.

Nick and I parted ways and reach my destination of P.E. I hated the scent in the locker rooms. There was the sense of bullying and panting in the air. The scent of deodorant and lotion linger through the lockers. Guys of different sizes mess around here all the time. Smaller guys get shoved into lockers and the bigger guys laugh.

I quickly got changed and went into the gym. The P.E. teacher told me to take a seat. I sat on the bleachers next to some kid who didn’t look familiar to me. Coach Lyle stared at all of us then he said,

“Alright class. Today we are playing soccer. Now, who knows the positions?!” Coach yelled.
Of course all the soccer players raised their hands. I glanced around at the sea of wiggling fingers in the air. Coach Lyle picked on this girl named Sarah. She seemed like she knew EVERYTHING about soccer. It was kind of irritating.

I looked down at my feet and heard my name being called. I didn’t realize that they were picking teams. Josh Storm was picked as the team captain and was yelling at me to hurry up.

“SAM! SAM! DUDE, COME ON! LET’S GO!” Josh screamed.
Josh made me goalie since I didn’t know what the hell was going on. So I stood in front of the net and put my hands on my knees as I squatted. Blocking every ball that came my way and boy, did I feel proud.

The girls on my team were cheering for me. Even some of the guys were too. Sweat ran down my face and I was pumped. The adrenaline flowed through my veins. I got back down into my squatting position and got on the balls of my feet. My hands were just as sweaty as my face. The gloves they gave me DID NOT HELP. My hands kind of hurt, but it wasn’t all that bad. Wiping my face with my P.E. shirt and heard a sudden blow of a whistle.

“HIT THE SHOWERS!” Coach Lyle screeched.

We made our way back to the locker rooms and jumped into the showers. It felt good to get rid of the entire body odor. I speedily shampooed my hair and soaped my body. I dried off, hung my towel on the hook inside my locker and got dressed. Usually being the first one to finish, I made it to class on time.

“I hope I don’t run into Natalie.” I thought to myself.

I ran my fingers through my blonde hair and shook it. I put my headphones in again and started going through my song list. I started playing Flightless Bird, American Mouth by Iron and Wine. It was one of my favorite songs. Today just felt like a slow-song day.

I accidently ran into someone. I looked up from my I-Touch and stared into the eyes of the girl that just dumped me. Natalie stood there and said,

“Oh! I’m sorry!”

“Uh, N-no it’s not your fault.” I said.

“Sam! You’re just the person I wanted to talk to!” She said with a smile on her face.
She acted like she hasn’t seen my three years. I just looked at her with a confused look on my face, just like this morning.

“Really?” I responded.

“Yeah, look, I’m sorry for how things ended between us.” She said.

“It’s fine.” I answered and I looked down at the floor.
I walked away once again and stuck my hands down my pockets.


I entered my English class, Room 892A with Mr. Sam. The desks were arranged differently, so I just sat wherever. The bell rang and I looked at the bell work. Mr. Sam looked at his entire class. My notes already contained the answer to the three questions. The words had a glare from the beaming light that hovered over my head.

My body and my mind were extremely tired form my last hour. I felt like I was about to just collapse on my desk. Mr. Sam called me to his desk and said that he wanted to talk to me.

“Are you okay?” He questioned.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” I answered back.

“You seem very tired.” He said.

“I just had P.E.” I responded.

“Oh, well try to stay awake. We have a big lesson for today. It will also be a big part of your grade.”

“Yes, Sir.” I said.

I sat back down and tried to pay attention, but the board was all blurry. Well, at least to me. My mind kept telling me: Sam, go to sleep. Sam, go to sleep. It wouldn’t stop. My body was controlling me. I couldn’t take it anymore!

“SHUT UP!” I yelled at the top of my lungs.

Everyone looked at me like I had metal issues. I saw 20 sets of eyes staring right at me. Mr. Sam called me up again. This time it was in the hall way

“Sam, what was that?!” he roared.
His face was redder than a fire truck.

“Sorry, I-I was irritated with my…..iPod.” I lied.
He knew that I was lying, so he gave me his famous “DEATH STARE”. My heart started racing and I couldn’t think straight.

Suddenly, the intercom bellowed such sweet words.

“CAN YOU PLEASE SEND SAM BROOKES TO THE OFFICE?! IT’S URGENT!” they speaker screeched
We went back inside the room and Mr. Sam glanced at the intercom.

“Sure.” He replied.
My hand scribbled down the date in my journal, September 11, 2001. I grabbed my stuff and went down the office. The door creaked a little as it opened. The lady at the front desk had a sad look in her eyes.

She sent into the principal office. I thought I was in trouble. Instead, there were about three different teachers including the principal. Mr. Gramm, the principal, told me to take a seat. I was uneasy as I sat down. I looked up at all the teachers and wondered what was going on.

“Am I in trouble?” I questioned.

“No son.” Mr. Gramm said.

“So, why am I in here?” I inquired.

“This is going to be hard to tell you and it will be harder for you to understand or take in.” Mr. Gramm whispered.
The room was awfully quiet.

“Your father died in a plane accident.” He said.
This made me want to NEVER fly in an airplane again. It would only bring me horrible memories. I guess I wasn’t going to have a birthday party, a funeral instead. Talk about a “happy” birthday. Teachers patted my back and so did the principal, but every touch felt like a bee sting.





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