S e v e n
“Tinsley, you’re late.” Mrs. Pope says the second I walk into the classroom.
It’s true, I am late.
I tried to use the restroom before class, but now I know to never make that mistake again. The restrooms were packed with girls, all trying to use the bathroom or fix their makeup. It took me almost ten minutes just to get back out into the hallway.
“I’m sorry, the restroom was packed.” I say quietly, discreetly glancing over at Kat, a smirk on her face.
“Well maybe next time you’ll decide to go to the restroom sooner. I typically don’t allow any excuses for tardiness, but seeing as this is your first offense, I’ll let it slide.” Mrs. Pope announces, motioning her hand for me to finally take my seat. I wanted to argue that it wasn’t necessarily my fault, because I did get to the restroom early, but I didn’t want to cut into her lesson.
I also didn’t want everyone in the classroom to continue starting at me, as if I were some weird scientific experiment gone wrong.
I nod and rush over and take my seat, Kat sitting directly beside me.
“Way to go.” Kat mumbles under her breath, just loud enough for me to hear it.
I discreetly give her the finger while quietly pulling my notebook from my bag.
“Alright, now that I’ve worked a few problems with you, complete the rest on your own. Work problems five through twenty-six, and if you finish early, you may talk quietly amongst yourselves.” Mrs. Pope announces after working a few of the math problems with us on the white board.
Kat and I finish our problems with ease, immediately turning to talk to each other once we’re finished.
“So, is the restroom the real reason that you were late?” She asks quietly, careful not to disturb any of our other classmates.
“Yes! There were so many people in that bathroom, I thought we were going to lose oxygen.” I reply, giving her a soft chuckle.
“I suppose I’ll accept that answer for now.” Kat shrugs.
“You’ll accept it forever… because it’s the truth.” I deadpan, throwing my pen cap at her. She catches it with ease, gently tossing it back onto my desk.
“Whatever. What did Sawyer say after I left this morning?” Kat smiles wide, leaning a little closer toward my desk.
“Nothing of importance.” I sigh, “He just knows how to thoroughly annoy me, let’s leave it at that.”
“We will not just, ‘leave it at that’. I need deets.” Kat urges while rolling her eyes at me.
“I say you don’t.”
“I say I do.”
“I say you’re more annoying than Sawyer.”
“I say you’re probably right. Now spill.”
“Ladies, please be a little quieter, some students are still working.” Mrs. Pope suddenly says to the both of us, causing my cheeks to turn pink. We both nod at Mrs. Pope, before turning back to look at each other.
“Basically, in a nut shell, he told me that he knew I ‘couldn’t live without him’. Whatever that means. He is just so infuriating sometimes, and I still barely know him. I haven’t really spoken to him since Friday night when you know what happened.” I say quietly, a slight frown on my face.
“I think you should just accept his apology, and stop wasting valuable time.” Kat says easily, causing my eyes to widen.
“Just accept his apology? Just like that?”
“Why not? Life’s short. Live a little.” Kat shrugs, giving me a small smile.
“I don’t know who annoys me more, Sawyer, or you.”
“That’s a tough one, but I’m probably going to go with me, since I’ve known you longer and have had a lot more time to get on your nerves than he has.”
“You know what? I’m not even mad at your logic.” I nod, a slight smirk gracing my lips.
“Glad you see things my way. So, are you going to accept his apology?”
“If I say yes, will you change the subject?” I raise an eyebrow.
“Grand.” I sigh, happy for the change of conversation. “By the way, I-“ But I was instantly cut off by a loud bang out in the hallway.
“Oh my word! What on Earth…” Mrs. Pope trails off, immediately springing for the classroom door to step outside.
A few of the students near the front of the room get up to go investigate themselves.
My heart stops when I hear one of them say, “Ha-ha, it’s Sawyer! What the hell is he doing?”
Before my brain even registers, my feet are dragging me away from my seat and out into the hallway.
My eyes widen in horror when I see Sawyer prancing around the hallway. I push through the teachers and the students, immediately walking up to Sawyer.
“Sawyer!” I try to gain his attention, I reach forward and place my hands on either side of his face, searching his eyes.
They look exactly as they did that night that Sawyer showed up at my house with low blood sugar.
“Oh no…” I trial off, my stomach growing in anxious knots. I glance around the hallway until I spot a nearby vending machine.
“Do any of you have two dollars?” I frantically ask, glancing at the many students and teachers nearby.
“Here!” One of the teachers replies, rushing over with two dollar bills in her hand.
“Can the rest of you please go back to class? He doesn’t need an audience!” I shout angrily at the other students who are pointing and laughing. One of the students even has his cell phone out, probably recording Sawyer’s erratic behavior.
I gasp when I feel Sawyer’s hand slap my shoulder, a little too rough for my liking. I know it’s not something he’s doing intentionally, but it still hurt nonetheless.
I rush over to the vending machine, quickly typing in the numbers to get a king sized snickers bar. Once I have it in my hand, I rush back over to Sawyer. I quickly open the candy bar, and force-feed it to Sawyer, his hands trying to push me away.
“Sawyer, please, eat this!”
I finally mange to get Sawyer to eat a few bites, with the help of the kind teacher who gave me the two dollars, and after a few minutes Sawyer finally takes a seat on the floor. I tell the teacher thank you, and that I’ve got it from here, and she nods while walking back to her classroom. Before walking away, the teacher informs me that she’s going to call the nurse to come see us.
I decide to sit and wait with Sawyer.
“T-Tinsley? What happened?” I finally hear Sawyer speak.
“You were low, Sawyer. Very low, I assume.” I reply, glancing over at him.
His forehead is covered in sweat, and his eyes are a little red.
“Aren’t your teachers supposed to know about your diabetes?” I ask.
“They do, but we have a sub today in second period. I don’t even think he cared when I walked out of the classroom. That’s the last thing I remember.” Sawyer sighs, leaning his head back against the wall.
“Did you not bring anything with you today?”
“I guess I forgot again. I swear this usually doesn’t happen!” Sawyer is quick to defend himself.
“Should we call your parents to bring you something?”
Sawyer immediately shakes his head, almost looking worried, “No! I’m fine. I just need to keep something sweet with me for the rest of the day, until I get home.”
“Well make sure you go get another candy bar then, keep it in your bag.” I instruct, not fully believing that he’s fine at all. In fact, he looks very far from fine right now.
There’s a few more moments of silence before he speaks up again.
“How many people saw me?”
“Not many.” I lie.
“You’re glancing at your feet. So I’m assuming it was a lot?”
I glance up at Sawyer, who has a very small smile on his face, before eventually nodding.
“I’m sorry. I just didn’t want you to feel bad.”
“It’s fine, this isn’t the first time this has happened to me. A lot of people usually leave me alone once they know that I’m diabetic.” Sawyer explains with ease, a gentle look taking over his features. “Thank you for what you did, if you hadn’t, I’d probably be in a diabetic coma by now.”
Sawyer lightly chuckles, but I find no trace of humor on his face.
I don’t want to press him on details, but something tells me there’s more to this boy’s story. I also feel as though he may have a troubling family life outside of this building.
Because of this, I make a mental note.
“How are you feeling?” I ask, just as the school nurse comes rushing up to us.
“Mr. Dixon? How are you feeling? Still feeling a little low?”
“No Nurse Jen, I’m fine. Tinsley here gave me a snickers bar.” Sawyer smiles at me, waving the snickers bar wrapper in Nurse Jen’s face.
“That’s great! Thank you Tinsley. I would’ve gotten here sooner, but I had a very bloody nose in my office that took some time to control.” Nurse Jen frowns while handing Sawyer a bottle of orange juice.
Sawyer takes the bottle and smiles at Nurse Jen. “This should be fine for now, if I need anything else, I’ll come see you.”
“Good. If you ever start to feel low, and you don’t have anything on you, please come see me. It doesn’t matter what class you’re in, I will talk to any teacher that gives you trouble for ditching class.” Nurse Jen instructs with a smile.
“Oh, here you both go.” Sawyer and I reach forward to take our slips excusing us both from our classes. “Just in case you get any trouble from your teachers.”
“Thank you.” I smile, grateful that I now have a note to give Mrs. Pope. I don’t need her to single me out again for walking out of the classroom.
Once Nurse Jen walks away, Sawyer turns to face me. “Why did you help me?”
“Excuse me?” I raise an eyebrow, turning to face him as well.
“You’re still mad at me about Friday night, right? So why did you help me?” He asks again.
“Because, you idiot, mad or not you were in dire need of some assistance. I didn’t see anyone else trying to help, and I knew what was happening because it happened in my kitchen, remember? I don’t know… I kind of just sprang into action.” I reply, my cheeks turning a slight shade of pink.
I finally look up at Sawyer to see him smiling.
“I really appreciate it.”
“No problem.” I nod, glancing down at my feet again.
“You do that a lot.”
“Glance at your feet. I’ve noticed it’s usually when you’re nervous or when you’re lying.” Sawyer says with a casual shrug, surprising me that he’s been so observant of me.
“Yeah, well, I can’t help it.”
“That’s alright Tinney, I think it’s cute.” He smirks, causing my stomach to twist.
“Don’t start that again, remember I’m still mad at you.” I cross my arms over my chest, trying my hardest not to smile.
“Don’t start what, Tinney?” Sawyer asks with a fake look of concern on his face.
I roll my eyes while I stand up, preparing to walk away and get back to class before the bell rings.
Before I have a chance to walk away, Sawyer stands up and reaches out for my wrist. “Wait a second.”
He turns me around in one swift motion, before abruptly pulling me in for a hug.
My heart starts beating erratically inside of my chest as I slowly lift my arms to return the hug. The back of Sawyer’s shirt is a little damp, I assume from the sweat, but I couldn’t care any less in that moment.
I’m the first to pull away, simply because my heart can’t take the irregular beating due to the close proximity.
Sometimes I really hate anxiety.
“I’ve gotta get to class. Are you sure you’re alright?” I ask again, which causes Sawyer to smile once more.
“I’m fine, promise. I’ll see you at lunch!” He shouts as he starts walking back toward his classroom.
My eyes widen at his announcement, but I say nothing in return to tell him otherwise.
I’ll see you.