Chapter 29

Today was the worst day ever.

I made the biggest mistake ever.

We were all finished our state testing, so I decided to listen to my music on my device.

But we weren’t allowed to do that, although everyone was finished.

My teacher was so frustrated that she gave me a blue slip.

A blue slip!

Only the bad kids get those.

I don’t see why I couldn’t quietly listen to my music.

But my teacher was really mad.

After testing, I went to my language arts class.

I sort of lost it during that class and my teacher had to send me down to the counselor.

The day kept getting worse and worse, as you see.

My counselor talked about how we all make mistakes and to give myself a break.

That was nice.

At lunch, I didn’t want anyone to know or talk about what happened.

Not even Lindsey.

I was too embarrassed.

As soon as I ate, I went to the library.

Or tried to go to the library.

This is when I got into trouble again!

As soon as I walked in Ms. Reynolds starts waving her arms for me to get out.

I noticed that there were kids in there taking their test still.

I’m so stupid!

Now Ms. Reynolds hates me!

Why do I keep making all of these stupid decisions?

What was worse what that I couldn’t go to the only place that makes me happy on the day I needed it the most.

When I got home, I told my mom everything.

She just hugged me, which was nice.

She asked if I wanted to email my teachers to apologize.

I did.

It was odd.

When Ms. Reynolds replied, she said that she didn’t even think about it after it happened (my walking in and disturbing testing).

She also said that a bunch of kids did it.

She ended by saying that now I knew that the library was off limits during testing and she looked forward to seeing me in the morning.

Huh.

Then I got the reply from my math teacher who gave me the blue slip.

She wrote that all was forgiven and now I knew what the rules were.

She even thanked me for my mature attitude about the situation.

Then she said she was glad that I was in her class and that she thought I was great.

That was definitely not how I expected this day to end.

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A Story from the Past

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A young man, searching for himself.

A young woman, searching for a home.

On leave, attending a dance.

Downtown, looking to unwind from a week of work.

Eyes meet – love at first sight?

Maybe just shy smiles and a polite dance.

Headed out in the morning.

Wishing for a way out.

Not much in common, even their language.

But the heart wants what it yearns for:

Fresh starts, new beginnings, hope for a future, burgeoning love.

Chapter 28

“Jack? Jack! Where are you?”

Mumbled, “here.”

“Where?” mom asked?

“Down here.”

“Why are you down in the basement?”

Pause.

“It was the worst day ever, Mom. I didn’t take my focus medicine and for some reason, I decided to take a piece of candy from one of the popular girls.”

“You took her candy?”

“She brought candy for everyone, but not me.  I took some anyway. One of the boys she hangs out with was there and started to call me a spaz. I tried to apologize, but she said, ‘Not now, Jack.’”

“Oh.”

“I’m so stupid. I will never live this down.”

“Do you want to buy her candy as an apology?”

“No! I don’t want to remind all of them what happened.”

“Did you try to apologize?”

“Yes, but she didn’t accept my apology.”

“Jack, you tried to apologize and you made a simple mistake. If they cannot accept that, then they are not your friends.”

“I know they are not my friends.”

“So you have to let this go.”

“I can’t stop thinking about it. I will never forget how I acted.”

“You will. Something else will come up to distract them and you from this day. I promise. Now, try to focus on something else, like your homework, or a book.”

“Can I have just a little while longer to be alone and listen to my music?”

“Sure. You can have until dinner. Then we will distract you with something else.”

“Thanks, Mom.”

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 31

A few weeks ago, we had an assembly to find out how to be a 6th grade mentor.

It’s a part of the RISE program at our school to help incoming 6th graders make a better transition into middle school.

Jacob was a RISE mentor.

Over 270 students attended the assembly to become a RISE mentor.

Some of them came just to get out of class, but it’s a popular program and usually, the mentors are the leaders in the 8th grade class.

We have to fill out an application and then hope our teachers speak for us as being good candidates.

Part of the application was to make a 60-second video about why we would be a good mentor.

It was time for me to be creative and not quiet.

I came up with the idea to wear the different t-shirts from my different activities and, while taking each off to show the next, explain why each has helped me gain qualities of a good mentor.

I talked about being a summer camp counselor in training. I talked about being a library aide. I talked about Math Olympiad and TSA. I talked about student council as well.

Jacob helped me film and edit the video down to 60 seconds.

I was glad I had more to say than the required time allowed for.

I submitted my application on the Monday after we got it.

Between then and when the applications were due, it seemed that everyone I talked to had already applied or was planning to.

They only take 70 mentors.

I really hope that I make it.

Today is the day we find out about RISE.

They give out an envelope to everyone who applied.

Inside is either: “Congratulations” and details, or “We’re sorry to let you know…”

They wait until the very end of the day before our spring break to tell us – I guess so no one comes to school the next day all upset.

They hand out the envelopes to each of the kids who applied in my last period class.

My name is called and I hold up my hand for my envelope.

It says my name and the number of the room that I’m in.

I look around the room.

Lindsey is opening her envelope.

She smiles. She looks up and nods.

She got in.

I look back down at the envelope in my hand.

I flip it over.

I slide the turquoise colored paper out.

I unfold the paper.

I glimpse – “Congratulations.”

I have been chosen.

I am seen.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 30

Today is my brother’s birthday.

He is having a few friends and girls over to watch a movie and play video games.

He is letting me watch and play with them.

Everyone agrees on a Harry Potter to watch.

Then we have pizza and cake.

Afterward, we play Mario Brothers.

We don’t have other video games, but our games are multi-player, so we have fun.

One of the girls who is there went to an 8th grade dance with Jacob last year.

He says she’s not his girlfriend, but just his friend that is a girl.

It started me wondering, though.

How do you know if you have a crush on a girl?

Later that night, I ask my mom this question.

She says all this sappy, gooey stuff about wanting to tell them everything and wanting to be with them all of the time.

I do think that I think about Lindsey a little bit this way, but I’m also fine if we don’t talk for a few days.

So I guess the answer is: I don’t have a crush on anyone.

I only have girls that are friends too.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 29

Today in front of everyone at our lunch table, Lindsey’s friend, Alexis, asked me what was above my lip.

I rubbed the skin above my lip really hard and asked, “Is that better?”

She commented, “It’s still there.”

I didn’t know what she was talking about, so I got up from the table, walked across the cafeteria to my guidance counselor, who often hangs out with our grade at lunch, and asked to go to the bathroom.

Aside from my skin being pink, I didn’t see anything.

What was she talking about?

I took a step back from the mirror.

I noticed a brown “shadow” above my lip.

I remembered when Jacob had a brown shadow above his lip, and how I had teased him.

I called it his “moosteesh.”

Now I had one.

I was extremely embarrassed.

I stayed in the bathroom as long as I could.

Just before the bell rang, I headed back to get my stuff from the lunch table.

Luckily, the girls had moved on to talking about something else.

I kept my head down the rest of the day.

That night, I begged my mom to shave above my lip.

She told me that once she shaved it, I would have to keep shaving it and that it would grow back darker and thicker each time.

I didn’t care.

I asked her to just get it over with.

There was no way I was going back to school with that shadow on my face.

#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 28

I just switched into gym for my exploratory.

I hate gym.

Not just because I’m not a great or good athlete, but also because of the way all of the boys act.

It seems like every time we have gym, one of the sporty boys feels the need to notice me, and not in a good way.

This time around, it’s a boy named Luke.

My nemesis – Luke.

First, he started by saying things like, bounce a ball much, Jake?

Run much, Jake?

But now, and I don’t know how he found out, he’s calling me “gay.”

This is wrong on so many levels.

First, the word should not be used as a put-down.

Everyone should be accepted for who they are.

Second, just because I am not dating someone, doesn’t mean I do or don’t like girls.

I mean, I’m in seventh grade!

It’s too early to date.

What would we even do on a date?

I don’t drive.

I don’t have money.

I wish Luke would stop noticing me, really.

It would be great to be invisible whenever I needed to be.