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Today marks the Last Friday of High School. Ever. For me, anyway. I have only Monday to get through after today, and today is almost over. Just Mr. Grant's class to attend, and that is almost over too.

Today, he calls my name as I leave the classroom and gestures for me to stay and chat a bit. I wait by the desk closest to the door and watch two remaining students mill around in the back together -- he speaks with another student for a quick moment and then calls me over to his disorganised desk.

"Melanie," he says quietly, too quietly. "I didn't betray your confidence. It just bothered me."

I just nod and mumble, "I know."

"It concerned me, because it shouldn't be happening. It shouldn't. I didn't tell anyone but Guidance."

"I know."


Another nod from me, and he grins widely now, which gives me the feeling that maybe he was worried I was angry with him for doing what he had to do. I grin too, to acknowledge his, and then mumble again, a goodbye this time, and I run out of the classroom before he can say anything else.

I course my way past the churning masses in the hallway, cursing at myself silently. Why hadn't I asked him any of the questions I had the previous day? Why did he care so much anyway? It's been my experience in life that the only time anyone ever cares is when they've invested time and effort into peeling away your layers, like an onion. Time and effort into knowing you, into becoming your friend. Maybe time and effort into teaching you was the same thing.

Later, in the hallway as I'm pacing, waiting for my German teacher to return to her classroom so I can rid myself of the dreaded textbook, he approaches and stops when he sees me.

"What did Mrs. Cook say?" he asks, concerned.

I back away a little, needing to put space between myself and this man I barely know but who is still concerned for my mental well being. "Um, she basically just asked me what it was, and how long it's been going on. That sort of thing." How eloquent of me.

"How long has it been going on?"

"It's just happened that once." A lie. A neccessary lie. I feel my face flame up, and I'm sure he can tell I'm not speaking the truth because my voice sounds weak, too weak and too hollow to be speaking anything remotely related to the truth. But thankfully, he doesn't press me any further.

"You'll tell me if it happens again?" I try not to look at him. If I look at him, I might break down in front of him. How long has it been since anyone's cared like this? How long has it been since I've allowed anyone to care like this?

"Yeah, of course," I reply, biting my lip and still looking at anything other than him. Another neccessary lie. Maybe it won't be a lie. Maybe I'll never have another panic attack. Yeah, and maybe the world will be swallowed up by giant cheese monsters from the eighth dimension. Maybe the United States and the Soviet Union were really secretly friends. Maybe.

He nods and leaves, off to wherever. And I wait -- for all of three seconds. I feel off, disturbed a little and restless. I can't wait any longer for my German teacher to waltz back to her classroom, so I head back to my locker, where I violently throw the book into its metallic depths. It bounces back, and I kick it, hard. With the book put firmly in its place, I slam the locker closed and it, too, is privy to the same harsh kick therapy. For the second time in a week, I find myself hurrying to the doors, to the great open and to the privacy of outside that might let me allow my emotions to surface.


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