© 2012 by ariestrash. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this book may be taken and reproduced without the written consent of the author.

chapter one-

I've always thought that the writing on the wall of a bathroom stall was like an analogue Twitter. Different thoughts all converged on the pale white walls in 140 characters or less, in all types of handwriting: fancy scripts, block letters, Sharpie scribbles. Random diagrams of Chad's partially circumcised "Cape Penis," like that's something you want to stare at when you're taking a pee. Replies and retweets. Every time you use the bathroom there was always something new to read.

It always made me wonder what compelled people to plaster the walls of bathroom stalls with their juvenile graffiti. Was it gratifying somehow? Was it their only outlet, the only way to get their voice heard over the swelling stammer of teenage gossip and lies? Did it make them feel special? The mere act of writing on the walls seemed to mean that you were essentially something special or had something transcending to say. I mean, wasn't that the whole point of graffiti art? Writers tagged their names everywhere because they wanted to be heard, they wanted to be remembered. They wanted to prove to everyone else around them that they were something special. That they were somebody.

I suppose I'm getting a bit carried away. After all, writing on the wall of a bathroom stall in a suburban high school really wasn't up to par with 1980's graffiti art on a New York City subway car. Yet, every school I've ever been to always had writing on the inside of the stalls. Different schools with different people, yet the bathroom writings were always the same: Did you here about Janis?->I did! Did she really throw up on Frankie McAllister? Omg Mr. Valencia is so mean! Nate is so hot!->I know right?->I'm totally gonna marry him! They were the same problems, the same concerns, the same hopes and dreams. There was something comforting knowing that there was one place in every new school where I could go and pretend nothing's changed.

My pretending was short-lived. I was in a new town at a new school and it was my time again to start a new life-whatever that might entail. I was never one for consistency, but consistency in change seemed to be my thing. I just wanted to hang low on the radar and be normal-whatever that might mean here. It was the only thing I was ever good at: being just like everybody else.

Sitting there on the toilet seat, I took a deep breath and composed myself. "Okay, it's time to do this," I said to myself. Getting up, I flushed the toilet even though I didn't really use it. It was merely to keep up appearances sort to speak. Unlocking the stall door, I made my way to a sink, turning on the faucet to wash my hands. I was alone in the bathroom. It was early morning and everyone was probably sitting in their homerooms still half asleep. I was late of course, but studying graffiti in a bathroom stall has become sort of a new school ritual.

Drying my hands, I took a look at myself in the mirror. My dark hair curled neatly about my face, trailing down my back and falling about my waist in a tangled mess. I passed my fingers through it once before turning back to my reflection in the mirror. My tired green eyes stared back at me and I smiled knowing full well that my mother most likely fell asleep on the couch while taking a break from unwrapping the china. We had a long drive up from South Carolina and well, it was safe to say I barely got any sleep.

It was mid-January and for the past twenty-four hours I'd been sitting shotgun in my mother's car, looking out for gas stations every four hours, as we made our sixth move to a new life. I don't really know what it is about my mother packing up everything and moving every six months, but she always does it and I'm always dragged along. I don't really take it too personally though. Ever since my dad died, well, she always seemed a bit unsettled.