Struggling to Breathe
Chapter FourWalking in the hallway, towards the office, smiling faces greeted me from all directions.
“ROSE! I’ve missed you so much!”
“Hi, Rose! Ready for volleyball tryouts?”
I smiled at everyone and responded appropriately, but inside, I was growing jealous by the second of all of them. When was the last time I had been that carefree, that open, that happy? When was the last time I didn’t have to fake being all of that?
Well of course, it was 3 months ago.
It was all Chris and McKayla’s fault. Well, no, it was partly my fault too. And Lauriston. Maybe if I just hadn’t...
But before I could ponder this, I reached the door of the office, and I pushed it open. Maryanne, the secretary, smiled.
“Rose Montgomery! How lovely to see you again!” She smiled.
“Hi, Maryanne! Umm, there’s a problem with my schedule, and I was wondering if I could switch out of one of my electives?” I asked hopefully.
“Which one?” Maryanne asked.
“Drivers Ed.” I said, crossing my fingers.
Maryanne clicked a few times on her computer, and then looked apologetically at me.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Rose, but we’re so overcrowded this year that the only elective with any space is freshman art, and you’re a sophomore, right?”
I nodded mutely.
“It won’t fit in to your schedule, then, I'm afraid. “ Maryanne said.
“Oh, um, well, thank you for your time.” I stuttered helplessly as I walked out of the office.
“Wait, Rose?” Maryanne suddenly called, and I raced back in. Maybe she had found a way to save me from the torture of Driver’s Ed.
“Excuse me for prying, but why do you not want to take Drivers Ed? Don’t you want your permit?” Maryanne looked at me.
I blinked, taking in what she was saying. Was she asking me how I felt? Something only therapists had done over the past 3 months? Oh, how I wished I could tell her the truth, the whole story, of what happened that awful night. I mean, it was all embedded in my memory, every last detail, so why shouldn’t I tell her? I could finally let the truth out, and get rid of some of the guilt on my conscience. Oh, how good it would feel to tell someone... but no. I couldn’t do that. Too much was at stake, for me, and for Lauriston and McKayla. And especially Chris.
So, I merely responded, “Oh, I'm just not really into learning how to drive anymore.”
What an understatement that was.