Part 53

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I didn't hear anymore from Wes last night. That shouldn't worry me as much as it does. I have this sinking feeling that he's going to go too far down that dark hallway to ever find his way back out. What if it's a dead end? I know he said it gives him hope, but what if he's left with despair? The thought alone breaks my heart.

I use the book I brought out to graduation practice to fan my face. It's hot out here under the sun, and I have almost completely drained my phone of its battery refreshing it in hopes of another email from Wes. I can't concentrate on anything besides what Wes might be doing right now. I just want to know if he's okay.

When the valedictorian gets up to give her speech, I fight back a groan and try to swallow down my boredom. I pull out my phone one last time and bring up my calendar. Maybe I can set a date to leave so I can plan my way out of this town. Maybe if I stay here for the first month of summer I can work as many shifts as possible to save up the cash.
Rich is a few rows ahead of me and to my right. He waves at me and then turns back around to talk to his friend. He thinks I'm staying here in this town forever. His plan is for me to follow him to his school and get a place to stay there so I can go to college by him. Maybe a year ago I would have been excited at the chance to follow him somewhere, but everything changed when he hit me. The first time I was in denial, but now I know he'll never change and if I don't get away from him there is a chance one day he will do a lot more than a split lip and bruised cheek.

Last month my plans were different. I thought about following him to college (since things were going well between us). I thought maybe being with him for a few more years would help me get out of this town. He was working very hard to try and control his anger and I foolishly believed that maybe he'd be able to change in a positive way. His hand had slapped that thought right out of my brain.

I check my mailbox, and find it still empty. Then I go back to the calendar and look at the month of August. I close my eyes for a second and think about Arizona. Could I really live there? Would having a friend in the city be a good idea? What if Wes and I didn't get along in person? So many what-ifs to figure out. I scan back to July and look at the dots on a few of the days that let me know I have something scheduled. I open the days and read what's planned and then move on to the next. Just as the principle takes the microphone to instruct us to go line back up to try the procession one more time, I realize that there is something very important missing from my calendar. As quickly as that, I'm in the Dark Hallway. 

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