by E. C., 12

I glance at the sand timer on the teacher’s desk. It’s almost empty, but I still have enough time to answer one more question. I quickly try to guess the last answer and fill in the little circle with my pencil. Time runs out and I hope I’ll get a good score (instead of a C like last time) to show my parents. I quickly walk out of the room to lunch after handing in my paper to my teacher. Math is my worst class out of all, and I just hope for a B-. 

I sit at the lunch table closest to the doors, and my friends quickly join me. We all eat quickly so we have time to talk. The lunch teacher dismisses us and I head to my locker to grab my things for science.  

As I head toward the end of the hallway for class, I’m pushed down to the floor by one of my classmates. Because of all the rushed students, no one sees what just happened. He had been bullying me, and many others, for quite a while, but I was too afraid to do anything about it. I pick up my things and get to class. 

The next day goes along smoothly until I am called to the principal’s office. Apparently one of the victims of the bully stood up for themselves, stood up for all of us. The principal just wants to see how long this has been going on. I quickly answer their questions and go back to class. I am only upset about one thing. Why hadn’t I stood up for myself to begin with?

I finish my work and begin to read my book. Shortly after, class is dismissed and I head for math class. We get our test results back, and I cautiously turn over my paper to reveal my grade. B+, better than I expected! I quietly rejoice to myself as our lesson starts. I write down as many notes as I can before the lesson is done and class is over.

The rest of the school day is plain and simple. I walk home slowly, taking in each step and view as I go. I walk with my head down and watch my feet. I listen to the tapping of the sidewalk from my sneakers, I feel my breath exit my body, I watch as people pass me. I lift my chin up to look at the sun and look over to the side to see my dog running to me. He licks my face and knocks me to the ground and tramples me. I stand up and walk to the front door, smiling.

Mount Horeb, Wisconsin