12. Bulletproof Masks

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"No one can wear a mask for too long

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"No one can wear a mask for too long."

MAYA

"How are you today?" Mr. Standall asked, sipping his black coffee while looking at me through his kind honey brown eyes.

"I'm good," I replied. And I meant it. It was Friday morning, a bright cold day in late January. Two days had passed since mom's funeral and I felt better.

There were moments when I repeatedly realized that I would never see mom ever again. Her beautiful chocolate brown hair and her pretty blue eyes complementing her lovely smile. Her sweet and passionate personality. Her terrible cooking. Her awesome fashion sense. I even missed the times we use to FaceTime and she always hung up on me when she got a call from work. It was a terrible and self-centered habit of hers, but I got so used to it that I kind of missed it now.

"Are you still angry with your mom?" He asked, putting his coffee mug down before leaning back in his seat.

It was something about Mr. Standall that made me open up to him quite easily. Maybe because he was the only person in this school who cared enough about the school's perfect queen bee to ask if she was okay that day before I jumped. I still remember I lied straight to his face, even though all I wanted to do was scream and cry out the truth.

I sighed. "I was. A part of me always will be. But I can't be angry with her forever. If I'm going to let her go, I need to forgive her. I can't be selfish. She doesn't deserve that."

He smiled. "Those are wise words, Maya."

I chuckled before smiling back. "I'm a big fan of wise."

He continued asking, "How's your dad? How's it going between you two?"

"Good. We're getting along pretty well. I've forgiven him because, after everything he told me, he was lonely too. Just like I was. So it's okay. I'm okay with it."

"Are you sure? You don't have to be okay with everything," he said, eyeing me with a look I wasn't able to figure out the meaning of.

"I know, and I won't be that any longer," I assured, firmly.

Mr. Standall smiled. "Good."

"Can I ask you something?" I questioned, slightly nervous as I fiddled with the hem of my beige sweater.

"Sure." He looked at me with a questioning gaze.

I inhaled a deep breath. "Are you - were you angry with me when you found out that I jumped?"

For a small moment, Mr. Standall sat in silence and stared at me. Eventually, he sighed and took off his glasses, putting them aside.

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