The Hate List

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Chapter 22 - Tabby

“I expect those context essays to be finished by next lesson.” Mrs Edwards announced as the students began to pack up their belongings. “Tabitha, can I speak to you?”

“What did you do?” Grace asked harshly. Sometimes it seemed like Grace didn’t mean to be cruel. That, however, didn’t stop every word that came out of her mouth sounding like an insult.

I slowly made my way to the front of the classroom as everyone else filed out of English class. Grace lagged behind and joined me at the front of the room.

“Do you have a question, Grace?” Mrs Edwards asked her.

“No, Ms,” Grace answered. “I’m waiting for Tabitha.”

“Then wait outside,” Mrs Edwards told her.

Grace groaned as she left the classroom, leaving me alone with our teacher.

“Tabitha, I have talked with Mr Anderson, and we have rearranged for you to sit the English sac.” Mrs Edwards told me. “Usually, we have students keep poor marks but due to your circumstances, we have decided to give you the opportunity to receive a higher score.”

“Why?” I asked. “I’m just going to fail again.”

“Your essay was beautiful, Tabitha,” Mrs Edwards told me. “You have a deep understanding of the play as well as a way with words. You just didn’t answer the question.”

I looked at the floor. “I read the question wrong,” I admitted. “I read it as ‘Lady Macbeth is responsible for King Duncan's death', not ‘Lady Macbeth is more responsible than Macbeth for King Duncan's death.’“

“I know,” Mrs Edwards told me. “You're an incredibly intelligent girl, but you still need to work harder than everyone else. If that means spending a few extra minutes making sure you have read that question correctly, then do that. If you hand in work like your practice essay next year you could get a study score of over 40.”

“Really?” I asked in surprise.

“Don’t underestimate your abilities, Tabitha.” Mrs Edwards told me. “Now about your short story.”

“Was it bad?” I asked nervously. I had spent a lot of time on that story, and I was very proud of it.

“No, it was incredible. You are a very talented writer.” Mrs Edwards told me as I let out a sigh of relief. “I just need to know, are you okay?”

I froze. It wasn’t until I heard her question that I realised that I didn’t know anymore. How can you not know the answer to such a simple question, I couldn’t help but as myself. The truth was so much messed up stuff had happened that I didn’t even know how I felt anymore or how I was supposed to feel about everything.

“I'm all right,” I said, trying to convince myself as well.

“Are you sure, Tabitha?” Mrs Edwards asked. “A lot of the teachers are worried about you. You need to understand that we can’t take any chances after what happen last year.”

“I’m not suicidal,” I answered point blankly. “I just wanted to write a story about suicide.”

“It is alright to admit that you are not okay,” Mrs Edwards told me. “It doesn’t make you weak; it just means that you are human.”

“I’m fine,” I repeated weakly.

Mrs Edwards looked at me sadly. “Enjoy the rest of your lunch,” she told me.

I nodded and turned to leave.

“Tabitha.” Mrs Edwards called after me.

I stopped to face her. She walked towards me and pulled a strand of hair from my ponytail.

“You’re going grey, Tabitha.”

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