When you go a full week without sleeping much it seems to catch up on you quite a bit. I can feel how tired I am and I am snapping for no reason at all. When Mrs. Hamburgh asked me a question earlier today in algebra I actually snapped and told her to count the hair on her legs to get to the answer. Needless to say I was sent to the office which is where I am waiting now. Behind a closed door, not being able to think of anything apart from the frown that Patrick gave me as I walked out the door and the way Mandy avoided my eyes completely even though I was trying to make eye contact with her harder than I ever have.
“You can go in now Cory,” the secretary says loudly. She tries to smile, but she has obviously read the little paper that Mrs. Hamburgh has given to me about what I have done wrong. The secretary has always been nice to me. A older lady names Miss Hallow. I’ve always liked the way she seems to remember the name of every single kid in the school.
“Thank you Miss Hallow,” I say trying to return the smile and also trying to tell her with my eyes that I would never be as mean as I was earlier today if I had some sleep last night, or even the night before.
She smiles at me again, almost sympathetic as I turn the door knob and walk into the cold office I have only seen the inside off once before a few days after my dad died. My mom wanted to discuss my options since she felt that I needed to take some time off from school, which I off course refused to do. I wanted to go on like normal. So I finished my exams, and in the end I even got some really good grades. The principal, Mr. Watson was probably in his late thirties, not very old, but he seemed to have a wisdom surrounding him. I have never seen him dressed in anything other than a tie and suit, not even when he was attending a football rally. Though, even in his suit he has always been extremely nice and understanding. The way you would want your principle to be at the end of the day. You don’t want the type of guy that does it just for the power.
“Cory,” Mr. Watson says with a smile as I walk in the door. He motions to the chair in front of his desk as he walks around it and comes to a halt right in front of the chair. “Please have a seat.”
“Thanks,” I mutter as I sit down in the chair that is way too comfortable considering that I might just fall asleep at any given second.
“Do you want to tell me why you’re here?” he asks. He gives a light frown, not like he’s mad, but a bit like he is worried about me. It makes me feel irritated again, because everyone always seems worried, but it’s not like anyone is going to do jack shit about the situation that I am finding myself in.
“I told Mrs. Hamburgh to count the hair on her legs to find out the answer to a question she asked me.
For a moment Mr. Watson just stares at me, and then he gives a little bit of a smile.
“They are hard not to notice, but I have to tell you that it was extremely rude to do so,” he says in almost an amusing tone. “But I am more concerned to why you did this? I’m not used to having any trouble with you in school.”
“I guess I’m just tired,” I answer. “It’s been a long week.”
This time Mr. Watson takes the chair right next to mine. I like that he’s not sitting on the other side of the desk in the big chair that will make me feel even smaller. I love the idea that he is at least trying to make himself equal with me in some way.
“I understand. Anything specific happen this week?” he asks. “I know being a teenager can put some stress on you. Trouble with love life or something?”
I almost want to burst out laughing. I wish I rather had love life troubles, or that it was only that simple. Gosh, I would give anything if that could be my only problem in life.
“No Mr. Watson,” I answer. “No trouble in paradise at all.”
“So there is a paradise at least?” he answers with a little chuckle, and even though I know he is only being this nice to try and get me to open up about what is really bothering me, I can’t help enjoying it a little bit to just think about something else than sleeping in a car for a few seconds. “He or she must be quite lucky.”
“He is nice,” I say emphasizing the ‘he’, thinking of Patrick while I’m saying it. “But it’s not like we’re officially a couple yet. We’re just taking it slowly.”
I have no idea why I am opening up so easy to Mr. Watson. Maybe it’s because I’m really tired. Maybe the rumors that he’s actually a psychologist is true. I’ve heard a lot of kids whisper that he used to be one before becoming the principal at our school. It would make sense probably seeing as he really doesn’t just dish out punishment but rather orders you to see the school councilor if you did something wrong.
“I’m glad to hear that there are still some of you out there taking things slowly. It shows for a lot of maturity, which brings us back to your behavior in class today. If everything is fine, what is going on? Have you been missing your dad lately?” Mr. Watson asks, and now I do actually feel like he is prying into my private life.
“I’m fine Mr. Watson. I’m just a bit tired. Why don’t you just give me detention so we can get this over and done with,” I say immediately irritated and wanting to get the hell out of his office.
“Now Cory… I’m sure we both know that’s not the way we do things around here. If I give you detention we will never get to the root of the problem and you might just as well continue doing the same thing day in and day out. How does that help any of us in the end? Why don’t you tell me what made you say that in the first place and maybe we can put this whole thing behind us?” Mr. Watson says again. This time he is trying a stern look which is actually working. In fact he is actually making me feel guilty for striking out at him as well.
“I am just really tired,” I answer, looking down to my hands, scared that if I look him in the eye he will drag the truth out of me, which I know I should never share.
What if I told him everything and his idea of helping me would be getting people to place me in foster care? What would happen to my mom? Sure, I agree, my mom should stop thinking off all of us at once and think about us in a more logical way. Maybe get a place at the shelter just so that we can all have a proper sleep, even if that means I have to go to a different shelter.
“Why are you not sleeping Cory? Is there problems at home? I know your mom had to sell the house. She gave up your new address here at school,” he says. “I understood from her that you are currently living with your aunt?”
And there it is. The pity I don’t want to see in people’s eyes. The reason why I don’t want to tell people that we have lost everything and so much more.
“We’re fine. I’m just a bit tired,” I repeat myself, clenching on my teeth in order to not lash out at Mr. Watson again which I am fairly certain would not be a good idea.
“Okay Cory. Then we leave it at that for now. But any more trouble and I will be forced to give you detention,” Mr. Watson says standing up from his chair and walking over to the door.
As I stand up and walk towards the door he is opening for me he touches my shoulder and says; “There is no problem so great that it can’t be fixed.”
I just look at him, shrug off his hand and walk out of the office.
“Shows how much you know,” I mumble under my breath as I ignore the smile of Miss Hallow as I walk past her into the hallway.
Just as I enter the hallway thinking about maybe skipping class for a nap the bell rings and doors all around me open to a sea full of students trying to break out of class and get some lunch before yet another class starts again.
“Fuck…” I mumble under my breath as the first person shoves against me trying to get to their next point in such a big hurry that one would swear the world is at its end.
“Sorry?” the person says and turns around. “Did you say something?”
I get ready to tell the person to get a life when I look straight into the eyes of Jaycee. With his perfect blue eyes, blond hair, and his asshole attitude where he thinks he’s the most beautiful person on earth, he locks me down with his look. Sure, maybe he could be in the top ten most beautiful gay guys on earth with those cheekbones, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a nice person. I can’t even understand why Patrick would have gone for him, even if he was drunk.
“I said ‘fuck’ because you walked straight into me,” I say, looking him square in the eyes. Luckily his band of cheerleaders isn’t behind him as well to back him up, which makes it a little bit easier for me to stand up to him.
“Well, well, well… I can almost see what Patrick sees in you. You’re a real feisty one aren’t you? Well. See you around kid.” And with that Jaycee turns around and walks in the other direction again, not saying that he’s sorry at all. I’m sure that if he had long hair he would have flipped it in a very diva way as well.
I didn’t even have a chance to take a full two steps when a hand fell onto my shoulder and I had to stop again. I almost wanted to punch the person behind me without looking, but I was glad I didn’t when I saw Patrick’s face.
“What the hell was that all about?” Patrick says as he takes my hand and starts walking with me to the nearest exit out of the school. A part of me wants to register that this is our first time hold hands in public, but I’m just too tired to think.
“I was tired and irritated. I’ll apologize to Mrs. Hamburgh tomorrow,” I answer.
“Not what I meant, but thanks for clearing that up. I assure you it would have been my second question. What I meant was Jaycee? What the hell was up with that? He looked like he was about to spit poison at you,” Patrick says as we walk out the building allowing the sun to make my squint.
“He bumped into me and I cussed,” I answer, still not completely registering what Patrick is saying.
“And he said what?” Patrick prompts.
“He said I’m feisty,” I say and let out a little giggle which I didn’t mean at all. Maybe I am tired to the bone.
“Cory… You look like shit. What the hell has been going on with you the last few days? Why are you avoiding my texts?” Patrick asks. He looks worried. A different kind of worried from what Mr. Watson had, but worried none the less.
“I don’t know,” I say as I feel myself going busy.
Then everything goes black and I feel myself falling.