Polarity | Teen Ink


November 15, 2022
By HannahY BRONZE, Seoul, Other
HannahY BRONZE, Seoul, Other
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The school year had just gotten worse when I ran into Lucas and fell. Lucas quickly took a step back before his signature smile lit up his face. 

“Sorry for running into you, James,” he said sheepishly, extending a hand to help. 

Lucas was the good kid at my school; everyone loved him. I was the exact opposite; everyone despised me because of my delinquency in my freshman year. In a way, I was jealous of Lucas since I could never be like him. His kindness despite my lack of reaction felt like someone rubbing salt into a wound.

Rolling my eyes, I ignored him and pushed myself off of the floor.

Lucas furrowed his brows. “Why are you so hostile to me all the time?” he asked suddenly, his voice almost accusing.

I was caught off-guard. How could I tell him it was because I couldn’t be like him without being judged by my past actions? 

“You wouldn’t get it.”

He frowned, ready to press for more answers, but the bell rang. Glad to drop the topic, I swiftly walked away from Lucas and headed to class.

As I thought I had gotten past him, he grabbed my shoulder. “Meet me in the empty classroom on the third floor, at 12 o’clock sharp?” he offered, but not demandingly. 

By the time I had processed the sentence in my brain, he was gone without even getting my response. A meeting? We couldn’t be in the same room for more than a minute. Even after my math class had started, the idea lingered in my mind. Why would he even expect me to go? 

He’s confused about you. Just like you are with him, a voice in my head spoke, and I knew it was right. . Besides, it wouldn’t hurt to go.

As soon as I knocked on the classroom door, regret flooded over me.

The door creaked open slightly. “You actually came!” Lucas beamed, leading me in.

“I managed to convince myself,” I replied nonchalantly. We sat down on two chairs, a desk dividing us. 

When I asked why he wanted to meet, Lucas waved my question away, instead proposing that we talk, and gestured at me to speak.

“Talk about what?” 


And so we did. We asked questions ranging from our interests to our lives and surprisingly, the conversation was alright. Then, Lucas led the conversation toward school, and I knew things were going to go very wrong.

“What do you think about school?” Lucas asked.

“It’s...not great,” I said, bracing myself for his reply. 

“Why?” Lucas asked confusedly. 

“Because it’s horrible here, and nobody gives me a chance to do anything,” I explained hesitantly.

Lucas looked more doubtful now. “But everyone’s so nice here.” He’s like the others, the voice in my head spoke again. He’ll never understand.

I narrowed my eyes at him. “You don’t get it.”

“You’re the one that doesn’t understand me, James. You don’t try to be nice!” he practically chastised, gesturing wildly. “I’ve tried my whole life to be nice, but people like you who aren’t expected to be nice all the time will never get how hard it is-”

“Wait, you think like that too?” I interrupted. “About the expectations?”

He sighed. “So you go through it too, huh?”


A stifling awkwardness climbed up the walls of the room, and Lucas got up. “Free period’s almost over. I’ll see you around.” Then, he walked through the door and disappeared into a crowd of loud students. 

It felt like an eternity later when I walked past the empty classroom on the third floor and saw him inside, sitting on the same chair. He saw me and hesitantly gestured at me to join him. He doesn’t understand, the voice in my head hissed, but this time, I ignored it. 

“Long time no see,” I greeted, taking a seat. Lucas looked at me, a surprised expression on his face, and I asked why.

“It’s odd seeing you being nice, James,” he grinned.

“That’s how I felt seeing you talk back to me,” I replied. 

“We’ve improved,” Lucas patted me on the back. “Less people are willing to take advantage of my kindness lately, and most rumors about you have died down. It can only get better from here.”

“I guess you’re right,” I said to the boy who was my opposite in a world of good and bad. Maybe the school year had actually been made better when I ran into Lucas. 

The author's comments:

Hi my name is Hannah Yi. Thank you for reading. 

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