Boiling blood | Teen Ink

Boiling blood

February 5, 2021
By RayL2021 BRONZE, Cumming, Georgia
RayL2021 BRONZE, Cumming, Georgia
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

I stand in front of my lab table, waiting, anticipating, for my partner to arrive. I anxiously peer out the window and glance down at my watch. He’s late. I slam the table with the palm of my hand. Why does he not understand? This is the most crucial assignment, the most important project of the entire year. It’s the only thing that can turn my grades around, especially after the last time when a fight broke out because I tackled another student for interrupting my presentation. I received a zero for the grade and a one-week suspension, but the worst part was having to apologize. 


I wait for another five minutes before I see his black van pull up to the curb. My heart leaps and the teacher starts to walk toward our table. He sprints into the school, wild-eyed, carrying the project that we spent weeks preparing for this very date. The final science project of the year, reflecting on what we learned over our schooling. My eyes follow him as he barrels into the classroom. His foot gets caught on the leg of a desk, twists, and for a split second, the lab goes airborne. I dive to catch the project, but it’s too late. The painstakingly constructed model hits the ground and shatters in an instant. My hope of passing the twelfth grade had just been shattered with the project. Parts of the project roll around the floor. Devastated, my partner desperately retrieves the parts and tries to put them together again. It's no use. The moment my partner loosens his grip, the pieces tumble back onto the ground. He attempts to stand up but immediately crumbles to the floor, clutching at his ankle.


I stare at the place where my partner tripped. The teacher comes around and gives us a disapproving look. She puts her hands on her hips and says, “Because you boys have no project, I’m going to have to give both of you a zero for missing work.” My partner buries his head between his knees. Meanwhile, I get on my feet and clench my fists so tightly, my fingernails start digging into my palms. I get down on my knees and beg the teacher, “Please, this is my only chance of passing.” She responds, “I can’t give out your scores until your project has been completed.” I bared my teeth and glared with ferocity at my teacher. Then I turn my burning gaze to my partner, who suddenly turns defensive. “How is this even my fault?”, he exclaims, “for all I know, it was your fault that the desk was even there.” I lunge at my lab partner and grab his shirt collar. The corners of my vision start to be tinged with red. The teacher runs to her desk and grabs the phone. She fearfully looks at me and dials the front office. I ball up my fist and get ready to punch him in the face, but instead, I shoot my lab partner one last hateful look and run out of the school.


Now I would have to repeat another year of high school. I would be ridiculed by my friends for being held back. All of them would be heading off to college next year. I would also be shunned by my parents for being such a disappointment. The few people who believed in me would finally give up hope. My chances of getting into a good college were crushed, so I would have to work at a fast-food restaurant to make a living. One realization after another fell upon me like dominoes. All because of this one project, I would have to live like a rat in a sewer. My partner had one thing to do today, to bring in the project safely, and he failed miserably. 


I was mad at everyone: the teacher, myself, the desk, and my partner. The rest of the class went by in a blur. Vengeance was no longer an option, but a necessity. After class, I clambered into my car and drove to my house. I rushed into the garage and grabbed a metal baseball bat. My blood boiled at the thought of my lab partner’s arrogance, his refusal to admit that he had done wrong. How can he accuse me of wrongdoing, when it was clearly his fault? Clearly, I would have to set his mind straight.


I knew his address from all of the project work sessions we did together. He would be gone for a few hours and his parents were at work. The house was made out of bricks on all four sides, with an immaculate lawn in front. The bushes were perfectly shaven and the trees were evenly distanced. I pulled up next to the curb and got out, nervously glancing at the neighboring houses. What if they see me? I pushed out the feeling that I was being watched and got out of the car. I grabbed the baseball bat and crept up to the front of the house with a sense of purpose. I snuck behind the bushes. I thought to myself, do I really want to do this? I decided yes, my partner was out of his mind and completely deserved it. Then the bat was swung at a window. It immediately shattered, and I climbed inside. Seeing the glass shards on the clean floor was satisfying, even euphoric. I used the bat to hesitantly put a hole in the wall. The crunch was satisfying. Each hole put in the wall, vase shattering, or plate thrown was immensely pleasing. The destruction was so immersive that I hadn’t noticed a car enter the driveway. As I was pounding another ceramic pot, the door suddenly burst open. I quickly turned around and saw my partner with a crutch and leg in a cast. His eyes darted around the room, wearing a mask of shock on his face.

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