The Life of Clara Evans
Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.
I kept staring at the clock, blocking out my teacher’s lecture.
I tapped my nails impatiently on the desk, waiting for the bell to ring. Some of the students gave me annoyed looks, but I ignored them. I felt the strong urge to tap louder, but refrained from it.
It’s not like they knew me anyway.
Or wanted to be anywhere near me.
No one wanted to come near me, not because I smelled-- I’ve checked-- but because of gossip. I’ve heard some interesting things about myself. It’s amazing that people knew me more about me than...me.
Depending on the rumor, I’m apparently a stalker, an alcoholic, a criminal, or the girl that spreads her legs for anyone passing by.
I think the last one is my favorite.
I hate that they’ve decided to come up with these stupid rumors. Why don’t they ask the real source what’s true or false? I’ve never had a drop of alcohol in my life, never done anything illegal, and still have my v-card. And why would I want to stalk people in this town?
People can do it for me.
I decided to push back these thoughts because they only brought another wave of self-consciousness.
It’s not my fault I’m quiet and shy. Interacting with people just isn’t my thing.
It wasn’t always like this. I was just a regular student until the popular kids found a new target.
And unfortunately, that target was me.
The bell rang and I instantly began to pack my things, getting ready to sprint out the door.
“Ms. Evans, please stay for a moment.”
I groaned. I was so close. I turned on my heel and made my way to the teacher’s desk.
“Yes, Ms. Cole?” I said, trying not to let my impatience seep through my voice.
Ms. Cole brought out piece of paper that I recognized as the last essay we did in class. It showed a nice capital ‘F’ in thick red marker on the top of the page.
“Clara, you’re failing English class. I know you’ve always struggled in school, but you usually participate for points. This year, you’ve been slacking. Graduation is soon, my dear. If you don’t get your grade up, you won’t be able to graduate with the rest of your class.”
I sighed. I did want to graduate this year. I needed to get out of this town, and having that diploma was my key step to doing so.
I nodded my head.
“What do I need to do to get it up?” I said reluctantly.
Ms. Cole beamed at my willingness. She always loved the idea of ‘saving a student’s future’.
“I want you to find a book and do a seven-page report on it. If it’s good, it will boost your grade and you can walk.”
“Any book?” I said hopefully. I had always been a bookworm, but I hadn’t picked one up in a very long time.
I know it’s ironic-- I love reading and I’m failing at English.
“No. I decided to assign you The Giver.” Ms. Cole said with a wide smile. “You’re going to have to find your own copy.”
Really? I hadn’t read that since eighth grade. Didn’t she just say I could find the book myself?
She must’ve seen the look on my face, because she says, “Do this report, or you’re not leaving high school this year.”
I nodded meekly and sulked my way to the door.
I went to my locker, ignoring the looks of disgust people give me. I’ve adapted to those stares now, so they don’t faze me anymore.
I put in my combination and opened my locker, putting away the books that I didn’t need for tonight.
I closed the door, and almost jumped out of my skin at the sight of Adam grinning at me behind my locker.
Adam Keller is my best friend. He’d always been there for me since last year when he transferred from Washington. When the popular kids considered me a target, I was bullied and tormented by the student body. Adam was the only one who stood up for me. Being my friend or interacting with me is basically social suicide, but Adam didn’t care. He could have been part of the popular crowd, but he decided to hang out with ugly old me.
Adam had girls constantly ogling over him, what with his blonde ruffled hair and bright green eyes. He was tall and well built; a complete mountain compared to me.
Adam brought me to shame. I’m barely 5′2, have completely flat dark brown hair and my eyes are a dull blue that aren’t very exciting.
I know this because girls always tell me these things whenever they have a chance. I think it’s because they’re jealous that Adam prefers to hang out with me than them. We were attached to the hip, of course it seemed like we were a couple.
If only they knew he was playing for the other team.
“Hey, Girl Scout,” greeted Adam. “What took you so long?” he asked curiously.
I rolled my eyes and groaned.
“Ms. Cole told me I’m failing English class. In order for me to graduate I have to do a stupid report.” I muttered.
He didn’t even try to stop the laugh coming out.
Laugh it up, Keller. Laugh it up. Keller would always tutor me and he’s probably the sole reason I’d made it this far in my high school career.
He wiped a tear from his eye and smiled down at me. Why does he have to be so freaking tall?
“Relax, Girl Scout, you got this under control. You speak the language! I have complete faith in you. What’s the book you have to do the report on?”
“I think it’s The Giver?”
“Sweet. I have that at home. We can stop by my house before I drop you off.” Adam offered.
I sighed in relief.
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.” I jumped up and down. I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
He chuckled and patted my head.
“No problem, Girl Scout. Now, let’s get going. I don’t want to stay in this building longer than I need to.”
I nodded in agreement and we made our way to the exit of our beloved high school.
Ford High School: The Best School in the Country.
Note the sarcasm. I doubt anyone knows where this town is anyway. Ford isn’t even on the map.
We made our way slowly to his truck in silence. Just as we were about to get in, an interruption forced us to stop. It seemed we just couldn’t leave without something lowering my self-esteem even more.
I closed my eyes and dreaded what was coming next. Why do they always have to call me that?
I turned and tried to put on a blank expression. Unfortunately, I’m not good at hiding my emotions. That’s something I don’t like about myself. My bullies can see right through me.
“Where are you going? About to bang Keller? He must be desperate to get with you,” taunted Jess Goodman.
You would think as Class President, she would be this perky and sweet angel, right?
Wrong. If you think that, then you are so off the mark.
She was one of the main people that started to spread the rumors about me. She’s pure evil.
I looked down at my shoes. I just wanted to get this over with.
“Leave her alone, Jess,” hissed Adam.
Jess only glared at him.
“We all know it’s true, Adam. Bryce--”
“Don’t you dare say that bastard’s name,” Adam growled. He looked at me, and his expression softened as I looked up at him. “Come on, Clara, let’s go.”
I eagerly pulled myself inside the truck, wanting to get away from the stares that were overwhelming me.
Adam started his truck, but not without purposely aiming for Jess as he reversed. Jess squealed and tripped, falling on her butt.
I snorted. I know-- unladylike.
“Nice one.” I muttered.
Adam grinned before pulling a serious face on me. I noted the concern in his yes.
“Are you alright?” he asked quietly. I groaned internally. He always asks me the same question. And I always give him the same reply.
“Yeah. It doesn’t bother me anymore.” I muttered.
Adam groaned. Unfortunately, he is always in tune with my emotions. It was amazing how he could easily understand my moods. It was either that or my facial expressions.
“Come on, Girl Scout, they treat you like complete--”
“I know, I was there for all of it. But it’s not like I can do anything about it. Give me a few months and it’ll all be over. I can finally get out of this place and have a new start.” I said with a tight smile.
Adam stared at me before nodding. I sighed in relief. I’m glad he’s let it go for now.
We both knew I had no clue what I wanted to do after high school. The main priority I had was to get out of Ford. I had money saved up, but not enough to live a life of luxury. I applied to some colleges, but the idea of doing four more years of school didn’t interest me. If I ended up as a waitress for the rest of my life, so be it. It was better than staying here and being ridiculed for the rest of my life.
We drove to his house and Adam told me to wait where I was. As he ran in to get the book, I stared down the street. I saw a figure on the rear-view window and I squinted. I couldn’t make out a face, but as soon as I was starting to decipher their features, they vanished. I blinked in shock.
I shrugged off the weird vibes I was suddenly feeling.
Probably an oversized dog or something.
I heard the driver’s side open and a book was thrown onto my lap.
“One book delivered. Now, that’ll be $45.67 plus tax.” Adam joked.
I roll my eyes. What would he need that money for anyway?
“Thank you, Adam. You saved the day.” I sighed.
Adam beamed and puffed out his chest, as if he were a superhero. I couldn’t help but laugh at that. He turned on the ignition and started to drive to my house.
As soon as we reached my house, I shuddered.
Let’s see if the foster parents are here.
“Bye, Girl Scout! Be careful alright?” Adam said seriously.
I nodded my head and opened the door to let myself out. As Adam pulled away, I walked to my doorstep and opened the door. It’s usually unlocked because my parents don’t ever lock the door.
I looked at the living room in disgust and pinched my nose. On the outside, the house looks friendly and welcoming- but if you come inside, it’s a complete mess. Papers were everywhere and a really bad smell drifted through the air.
These were my “parents”.
I was born into the system, hanging out on the porch of an orphanage as a newborn. I had no clue who my real parents are, but I guess they didn’t want me to know. I’m not even positive if I want to know, since they left me with Herbert and Irene.
I don’t know how my foster parents were even able to adopt me. All they did was ignore me or boss me around. I could’ve almost considered myself as Cinderella if they even bothered to acknowledge me. They argued all the time and I always woke up in the middle of the night from their screaming. I had to practically raise myself when I realized they would never step up to their parenting roles.
I made my way to the kitchen to make myself something to eat, knowing that it would most likely be all I’d eat for the rest of the day.
I made myself mac and cheese and went upstairs to my room.
My room wasn’t something to brag about. The walls were white and my creaky bed was worn out. I didn’t really have any true valuables.
I remembered my homework. I didn’t really want to fail the rest of my classes. Sighing, I changed into my pajamas and got comfy on my bed. I grabbed The Giver and opened it to the first page.
I heard shouts downstairs indicating Irene and Herbert were back. I plugged my headphones into my iPod and put my music on full blast, listening to Roses and Violets by Alexander Jean.
I sighed and opened the book to the first page, trying to concentrate on the first two lines.
After unsuccessfully being able to concentrate, I closed the book and placed it on my dresser. I looked at my alarm clock and saw, to my dismay, that it was already nine o’clock.
I laid back and closed my eyes, trying to block the screaming from downstairs.