I've officially finished my first trimester at a mainstreamed high school and still, not one person has said a word to me.  Even in group work, I'm ignored.  It's like they all had a private meeting and decided to automatically shut me out.  But I honestly don't mind.  There's nothing worse than small talk. If I survive two more tries, I'll be a senior in high school and that means I can get out of here.  That's the funny thing--that was my goal.  Finish high school, you can leave, get a degree, go make yourself into something to prove that your parents were a moron.  But I don't know if I'm ready to anymore.  I went in just assuming I would hate my foster home, that I would want to major in ASL interpretation.  But here I am, wondering about a possible medical degree.  I love biology more than anything, especially genetics and DNA.  But I'm not sure what to do with that.  It's about all I can think of as I'm standing at my locker, trying to gather all of my homework.

"Levi's coming over tonight.  You think you can be nice?"  Jenna swings her lanyard of keys, wrapping it around her wrist over and over again.  

"No," I sign behind my back, violently chucking textbooks back into my locker.  And they wonder why they're so beaten.

We leave, meandering through the empty hallways.  "Please.  It's not that hard."

"It's not that hard to not disrespect a culture either," I retort.  

She stops me with a surprisingly hard blow to the shoulder.  "What's your issue?  Why are you so prejudiced against him for getting implants? for regaining the sense he should have been born with?"

I look her dead in the eyes, but she remains unintimidated, staring me down with an unwavering stance.  "It's not a curse, Jenna, it's a privilege.  That's the main difference between you and me."

I stride for the door, finally not being the one ahead and not caring about the other person.  I yank the car door open, slam it, and wait.  Five minutes pass.  Then ten.  Then twenty and she's still not here.  

An equal mix of two emotions flo

od me--anger at her for waiting and temptation to just walk the ten miles home, and a pounding fear that something happened to her.   Just as I'm about to call Karen, she arrives, still fuming.  

"Where were you?"  I force myself to ask.  

She shoves the key into the ignition, her jaw set while she violently thrusts the car into drive.  "Why, dear?  You worried?"

"Yeah.  When someone who has plenty of history with dangerous guys disappears for a while, I get nervous, regardless if she is on her period or not."

She yanks the wheel so hard to the left we actually hit the curb. "Get out. Right now."  


"Don't say my name.  Get out of my car right now or I'm calling the cops."

When I don't move, she shoves my shoulder toward the door, making my forehead hit the window so hard I think it might bruise.  As my hand flies for the wound, she almost cracks and apologizes, but instead, she reaches over me to open the door and shoves me out.

I barely land on my feet, watching her speed away and holding the goose egg already forming on my head.   Why did I say that?  What in the world would let me think that was okay?  I slump to the curb, prepared to sit here all night if I have to.  Jenna had every right to do that to me, but my resentment grows as surely as the cold seeps from the sidewalk I'm sitting on to me.  First, I waited for her to be done with her academic team practice.  Then she wouldn't come out of the building for an eon.  And now, here I am, still lost.

The sun slowly sets and I'm still slouching on the curb, not even reading or listening to music.  I'm about ready to force myself to attempt the eight or so mile walk home when the station wagon pulls up, Karen's grim face behind the driver's wheel.  She just motions for me to climb in.

"What happened?"  She looks at me dejectedly, so beyond caring that I'm surprised she's even pretending to.  "Jen wouldn't even tell me."

I slink lower into my seat, ashamed of causing a problem.  "Well, there was a chance that we were arguing and I might've suggested that it was...her time of month.  I know I shouldn't have said it, but she made me wait so long and then she was trying to argue about cochlear implants--"

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