The bell rang. The hallways go from bare to roaring with teens in seconds. I walked alone, looking down at the dusty floor, until finally arriving to the place where I spent the worst forty-five minutes of my life. The tables are filled with the various friend groups. Most of these people don’t even like each other. They’re all dealing with something deep down inside, but there’s something about the artificial happiness they give one another, it’s one of the numerous drugs these kids take to make themselves feel good.
I am an animal in a display case. I sit at the tall tables up above everyone where every move I make is watched. One awkward movement and all I see are people staring and laughing at me. Sometimes I could be doing nothing at all. It’s just the state of me being alone and them being in their wolf pack that makes me weird and a freak. I sit in silence. The other day I heard a group of girls talking about me. They were trying to come up with ideas on why I sat by myself. Jessica Lawrence said, “There’s so many weird people in this school I find it nearly, no, just impossible that she can’t find someone to sit with!” If that doesn’t make a person feel like an outcast, I don’t know what does. She doesn’t understand and I don’t expect her to. She has everything; the money, perfect family, high social ranking, and I have…my conscience. If only she could feel my pain.
The bell rings. I walk to sixth period with my head down. Often I count the tiles to occupy my mind along with the trash scattered around the floors. People are disgusting. Someone taps me on my shoulder, it’s Jessica. She asks if she can copy the homework from last night. The homework that’s due in four minutes. I say yes without hesitating. It’s best to not get people like her upset. When I arrive to class she throws my worksheet at me without even looking at me. I attempt to catch it, but the paper glides across my index finger, creating a perfect microscopic cut. The damage is not visible by others; the pain can only be felt by me.
Mrs. Myers assigned us a project that day. We were each put in pairs at random and given a specific topic. I was put with Jessica. Our assignment was to create an experiment that demonstrated an acid and base reaction. We were given two weeks to do it. I asked Jess when a good time to start the project was and she said she would text me when she was available.
She texted me…the Sunday before it was due. I had all of the supplies to complete the project, so we agreed that it would easier if she came over my house. She was late, but that was to be expected of her. I already set up the lab, all we needed to do was record the data and create the poster. She sat there. Scrolling through her phone, probably texting all of her friends about how boring I was. I decided I wasn’t going to complete the whole project by myself, so I made her combine all of the ingredients. She refused to put on the proper lab equipment because she said it looked “ugly”. She stood over the flask in order to pour the ingredients in without making a mess. One tablespoon of baking soda, four tablespoons of hydrochloric acid, and 25 milliliters of vinegar.
She stood directly over the flask. Clearly Jessica did not pay much attention. Obviously, the hydrochloric acid would burn her skin, and the baking and vinegar would cause it to explode. She started sobbing and shrieking “Why me! Why me!” That had been the question I had been trying to figure out my whole life.