day one | a stray asteroid
Feet screech against the tile,
the morning sun peaking over the horizon,
dew clinging to the grass still cold,
not even nine o’clock.
The doors open,
and his nerves calm-
letting the nicotine wash over him.
He stomps the cigarette onto the pavement,
the embers dying under his boot.
The bell has already rung.
Students are no longer lingering,
talking to their friends,
or displaying public affection in the halls.
He lingers by the first set of lockers,
wondering if it’s even worth his trouble today.
Maybe his first period teacher will let him skip again,
even though she’s already let him twice this week.
He flinches at the sound of his own name.
And there she is,
his first period teacher,
His demeanor darkened as the young woman called to him.
He reaches for his pack of cigarettes,
fiddling with them,
hoping it suffices for actually lighting one between his teeth.
“Felix come on, class has already started and I can’t have you missing another class,”
she says distressed.
Despite his rash behavior and constant attitude,
she did really want the best for him.
She’d watched him go from a quiet boy who sat in the back of class,
to the rebel who also sat in the back of class.
She knew what had happened.
the whole town knew.
Not everyone had a daddy who liked to play with guns.
Not everyone had a killer living in the room adjacent to theirs.
But Felix did.
He just didn’t find out until it was too late.
He looks the other way,
walking in the opposite direction of Ms. Brown’s room.
He wasn’t going today.
Her face falls as he walks away,
and she wonders if he’s ever going to be the same kid he was before that night.
But she knows that he can’t change,
Shaken and panicky,
Felix turns around and begins to walk out of the building.
His thoughts run rampant.
How could he even think he would make it through today?
The warm sun beats down on him as he exits back through the double doors.
His fingers instantly cling to the pack of cigarettes in his pocket.
He plucks one from the pack and lights it.
His beaten up rep car stares back at him at he approaches it.
From far away it looks like an older car.
Up close it looked like a disaster.
Paint was chipping in nearly every corner,
rust lined the edges of the bumpers and doors,
and there was a crack in the front windshield.
The car reminded him of himself,
what his life was like.
There wasn’t always rust and paint peeling away and rust deteriorating the metal.
At one point the car looked new,
but along the way it became damaged,
aged poorly with everything that was thrown at it.
He sits there,
leaning against the driver’s side door,
the cigarette still dangling between his lips.
watching the empty football field across from the gym.
And then he heard the squeal of tires,
and saw a car flash past his vision.
blonde hair blew in the wind as she stuck her head out the driver’s side window,
just as she crashed her car into the back of the bleachers.