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Seriously, how did nuns ever expect their damned pupils to sit up straight in class? The chairs are so uncomfortable and rigid and plastic or whatever and small and weird and ew. Just ew. And god, I mean it isn’t that hard to sit up straight but it’s just the lessons. The lessons, they’re just boring. They’re just…why do I want to learn chemistry? It’s just so boring it just makes me want to slouch all the way down in my seat. I mean, I try and focus on the class, I try real hard. But I can never focus if I slouch in my seat so then I try sitting up straight. And then once I’m sitting up and all I focus on sitting up straight for the rest of the class and not on the lecture or whatever’s going on in the class. Well, no, that’s a lie. A total lie. Ignore that. I don’t lie. Not a liar. Keep that in mind. I mean, I can pay attention to what’s going on in class but I just can’t pay attention to what the teacher is saying. I mean, obviously I can pay attention to little Jimmy* and Susie* flirting at the lab table in the back of the classroom. But I can’t pay attention to “Moles to grams to grams to moles”. What does that even mean? It’s seriously not even tangible in anyway. Like, yeah it’s a real thing. Chemistry is a real thing but like, what? Before you get into chemistry class you think all this chemistry stuff is all cool and stuff but once you get in everything is just…boring. Like, it’s like all of a sudden everything becomes objectified and you’re not even talking about real science or real life. Like, a hydrogen ion isn’t an atom with one less or one more electron anymore because now it’s just an H+ ion that we use in equations and isn’t even a real thing. Nothing seems real to me anymore. Like, we just talk about the concepts, we learn the equations but we never really get the opportunity to apply those concepts. Okay, yeah, we do labs every now and then but that still isn’t really applying anything. I want to make those chemical equations we learn about actually happen. I want to see them happen. I don’t just wanna put the letters together with little plus signs and arrows in between, That means absolutely nothing to me. Just that I need to know how to do them so I can get a good grade.
So I guess I should just go into chemistry so I can see them happen but I don’t wanna do that. I don’t wanna do that at all. I wanna…I wanna…I don’t know what I wanna do I just wanna live. Be happy, live in the past, present, and future. Just be alive. Be happy. I just don’t wanna care anymore about anything but living. But what does that even mean? Like, living is eating, breathing, maintaining relationships, exercising, drinking, and sleeping, right? Like, I mean you gotta make money too. You gotta remember that you need money so that you can live. So what do people mean when they say they just wanna, like, “live”? What do I mean when I say that? You know, I probably just say that because I wanna sound way cooler than I actually am and wanna give an excuse for my lack of caring about school. You know saying things like “I just wanna live life and not worry about school”. Well, you gotta get through high school at least, right? I mean, otherwise you’re a failure. And, hell, who wants to be a failure? I don’t wanna be that. That’s all I know about what I wanna be. Not a failure. Anyway, I guess living to me just means sleeping, eating, drinking water, jogging a few days a week, maybe hanging out with some friends, and reading. That’s all living is to me. Carrying out normal everyday functions. That’s all that really matters, right? Just getting by. Just doing what you need to do to survive. That’s living life to it’s fullest: survival. What the hell else is there to life other than survival? Nobody actually knows. Alright, go ahead, be a daredevil, travel the world, help starving children, I mean, yeah, you can do that but what really matters is that you keep on living. Just breathing, eating, drinking, sleeping, and going for the occasional jog. That’s all that matters. It’s not like anything else mat--
“June!” the short kid who sits next to me whisper shouts. Hey, wait, it’s December. What? It’s not June yet, hell I wish it was June. I want school to be out. Want it to be summer. All I want is summer. Hell, I can taste summer on my tongue and it’s only December.
“JUNE!” the kid whisper shouts louder. What the hell is this kid talking about? Shut up, I’m excited for the end of school too, but I really don’t like you at all so stop talking to me about your summer vacation to Hawaii or wherever you’re going in June. Fwam! Ow, something hit my head.
“Ow, something hit my head,” I say kinda loudly for a class that’s totally quiet and turn around to see who hit me. Oh, it’s just my friend James. He probably threw a note at my head or something. Wait no, he’s motioning to the teacher. And there’s no note around my desk, a pencil though. Score! I pick it up and thank James for the pencil with my smile. He just motions more vigorously at the teacher. I guess I should look at him. Oh. He’s doing that obnoxious thing that teachers always do to the kids who don’t pay attention in class and silently glaring at me.
“Whassup, Mr. Richmond?” I ask with a smirk in my tone.
“I was just asking you, June,” oh right, June is my name! that’s why annoying short kid was talking to me! The teacher wanted me!
“JUNE! Listen!” Mr. Richmond shouts, I guess he realized I stopped paying attention…again.
“Alright, alright. Sorry pal,” I apologize. That was a sincere apology too. And he knows it.
“Okay June. Well actually, I was going to ask you a real question but now I’m just wondering if you were paying attention to anything that I just taught the rest of the class,” he said, cocking his right eyebrow up. I notice the equation on the board.
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. No problemo Mr. Richmond. Make the coefficient of the CO2 on the reactant side a two and then a two in front of the O2 on the product side, and bwamo! You’ve got yourself a balanced equation. Easy as pie. Except pie dough can be pretty damn tricky to make sometimes,” I explain to the class and to Mr. Richmond.
“Thank you, June. But don’t show off your language to the entire class. It’s an offensive word,” he scolds, I guess. I mean I guess he’s scolding me, but I don’t really know what he’s talking about. Damn? I guess I just said damn aloud and the entire class listened. That isn’t even a swear word in my book. Whatever.
“As you wish, Mr. Richmond,” I say as I drift back into my thoughts.
Mr. Richmond was tall and skinny with a few wacky looking poofs of thinning blonde hair. His nose was pretty damn pointy and his mouth sort of smallish. His eyes were light blue and sort of scary looking, to be honest. Light blue is always sort of a welcoming color but his eyes, they were just scary. They always had this sort of growl or depression or something to them. Like…I just don’t wanna look into them. Maybe they were hiding something. He was really good at giving a scary glare. It was these big, thick, eyebrows he has that really help him pull off the glare. God, those things are scary. His scariest feature next to his pointy nose by far. With his nose, it was like he was gonna like kill me with it because it was so pointy. His head was sort of oblong shaped and he had these like ridiculously high cheek bones.
He was fourty eight, had three kids, and a dog. He liked to go bowling. A lot. He was a member of a bowling teach even. He wore his bowling shirt every single Friday because he had to be at the alley right after school was over and he didn’t have time to run home and change. And I guess he didn’t wanna change at the bowling alley. When I saw him on my schedule at registration I was pretty damn terrified. But I’m not so scared anymore. He reminds me of those berries in the blueberry carton that are kind of squishy or have holes in them and you’re really afraid to eat them because oh god, what if they’re bad or there’s a worm in them. But then once you eventually eat them, they turn out to be okay. Actually, yeah. That pretty much describes Mr. Richmond. Pretty okay once you sort of get a grasp on him, but sort of scary at first.
The bell rings. Class is over. It’s lunch. Woohoo! I guess I’m hanging out with James during lunch today because he walked out of the classroom with me and followed me to my locker. As creepy as that sounds, it really isn’t. I mean, we’re friends and all so it makes sense.
“Lunch?” James asks. What a useless question.
“Uh, well yeah. Obviously,” I say, looking at him with my facial expression that he says makes him feel stupid.
“Can she come?” James asks, pointing to the girl who is three lockers down from me. Sarah Grinnel. I know her. We used to be really good friends. Now just acquaintances.
“Uh, no! I have no idea who she is. Now come on, I’m hungry let’s order a pizza to get delivered or something,” I say as I close my locker, grab his arm, and start pulling him to a lunch table. I don’t really know why I told James we couldn’t eat lunch with Sarah. I mean, she’s nice and stuff I wouldn’t be afraid to ask her or whatever. And I know James is sort of in love with her so if I was a good friend I woulda asked her. But I guess I’m just a bad friend. We sit down at a lunch table. Uncomfortable as ever. Seriously! Every seat at this school is just uncomfortable! Even the “cushy” seats in the library are uncomfortable! How do they expect us to learn when we’re not in an environment that we want to learn in? Hell, I don’t even want to eat lunch at this place it’s so uncomfortable!
“So where are we ordering from?” James asks as he takes out his cell phone.
“The ten minutes or free place. They always take fifteen minutes so we always get it free. Large pizza, half pineapple, half whatever the hell you want. Okay?” I command.
“Sounds like a plan,” Josh says as he presses talk on the “Pizza Presto!” contact in his phone. He orders half pineapple and half supreme meat. Well that’s just weird, half pineapple and half every kind of gross processed meat ever on a pizza? Gross. I really hope that they take fifteen minutes or whatever because otherwise it’s gonna be expensive and I don’t have any money with me.
The greatest thing about James is that he doesn’t require a lot of talking. Like, he’s my best friend, right? And we hardly ever talk to each other when we’re together! I know everything about him. But once you know everything how much more is there to talk about! That’s his philosophy. Not mine. But I totally agree with him. Anyway, we do pretty much everything together. Just being together is enough for us. Just each other’s presence makes us happy.
“How was your test?” James asks after a few minutes of silence. I didn’t have a test today! What is he talking about?
“I didn’t have a test today! What are you talking about?!” I ask, flabbergasted.
“The driving test. Yesterday,” he says in that obnoxious tone that’s sort of loud and makes you feel stupid and little.
“Oh. Didn’t you get my test? I passed. Barely. But I passed,” I tell him as I get my license out of my wallet and show it to him. He smiles at it.
“Cute. Congratulations! Yes! You can drive me everywhere now!” he shouts as he hugs me. Wait, he called me “cute”? James has never called me anything but “June” for the entire five years I’ve known him.
“Not cute at all! I had rollers in my hair! From when I went to get my drivers permit. My mom took me to the DMV right after I put rollers in and they take your picture for your permit then and then they use that picture for your license too so yeah. Ugly,” I ramble out in a jumble. James smiles again.
“That’s what makes it cute,” he says as he slides slightly closer to me on the lunch bench.
“Uhhh,” I say awkwardly. OH! There’s a bee over by his side of the lunch bench. James is allergic to bees.
“Hey, I can switch places with you or actually, why don’t you move over to the other side? Makes us look like less of loners if there’s a person on two sides of the table rather than two people on one of the four sides,” I say as I toss his backpack under the table to the other side. He moves over there. Great thing number two about James: he does absolutely whatever I tell him to do.
Hoffman Estates, Illinois
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16 articles 1 photo 81 comments
it'll be okay, if it's not okay it's not over.
4 articles 0 photos 18 comments
4 articles 0 photos 18 comments
12 articles 10 photos 1646 comments
"I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by." --Douglas Adams
"The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." --Marcus Aurelius
This is a great start to your novel. The only thing I find annoying is your main character using 'like' all the time. I know it's deliberate, but it does get annoying after a while.
Your dialogue is very realistic (some of the best I've seen on Teen Ink). I can't wait to read more of your novel.