Author:S. Walden

My skin prickled with embarrassment, and I gathered my books quickly, sliding out of my desk and pushing past him for the door. I was pissed that a tear sneaked out of the corner of my eye, and I hoped he didn’t see.


I hid in the girls’ bathroom on the second floor of the school building for the rest of first period crying my eyes out, breaking my first and most important survival rule. I made sure to keep the orange onesie on while I blubbered. It helped with dramatic effect. I looked like a baby and sounded like one, too. And then I dried my eyes and remembered that I did a stint in juvie. I was supposed to be tough—a hardened shell with zero emotion. I drew in a deep breath, vowing to never cry again, not knowing at the time that I would break it that afternoon.


I stripped off the jumpsuit and planned to take it home to show my father as evidence for why I should be homeschooled this year, but I decided it wasn’t worth it. I doubted it would change his mind, and then I didn’t want to risk seeing his indifferent reaction. That would hurt worse than the prank. I tossed the jumpsuit in the trash and left the bathroom at the sound of the bell.


The rest of the day was uneventful barring the insults hurled at me every time I visited my locker between classes. Apparently I was a murderer, slut, bitch, drug addict, whore, crackhead, dyke, hooker, and Nazi fascist. When I asked one student what made me a Nazi fascist, she replied, “The fact that you’re a fucking whore!”




I had no idea what that meant, and I had no idea why people were calling me a whore. Well, to be fair, not everyone was calling me a whore. A few students said hello to me instead of calling me names. In any case, what did being a whore (which I wasn’t) have to do with a convenience store robbery? I mean, sure, I made out with Dean before we robbed the store, but how many people could know that? And anyway, it was just making out. I was a virgin, and I thought that was obvious. I had one serious boyfriend last year before being carted off to juvie, and he touched me between my legs once. I made him stop because I was convinced I’d go to hell for it, and he broke up with me two weeks later.


I noticed “Midnight in a Perfect World” never tried to find me at any point during the day, and I realized I’d have to visit him after school to learn what I missed in class. God, I hope they didn’t actually start a lesson. I was the worst at math and couldn’t afford to miss a sliver of class time. I didn’t plan on sticking around for more than five minutes, hoping he’d just shove the important papers in my hands and let me leave.


“You missed a lot,” he said when I entered the classroom. He didn’t look up. I thought I was pretty quiet walking in, but apparently he heard me. Or maybe he’d been expecting me.


“Sorry,” I mumbled. “I got caught up.”


“Your zipper got stuck?” he asked, finally looking up from his desk. The intensity of his gaze knocked me back a step.




“You said you got caught up,” he elaborated. “Did the zipper on your jumpsuit get stuck?”


“Yeah,” I replied, feeling that defiance sneak back. “I had to ask around until I located some scissors to cut myself out of it.”


He smirked. “Well, glad it all worked out for you.”


I ignored his sarcasm.


“Do you have any papers for me?” I asked. I checked my cell phone and realized I’d miss the bus if I didn’t leave in three minutes.


“Yes,” he replied.


I stood there waiting. He said nothing, turning back to his work.


“Well?” I said.


“Well, what?”


“May I have them? I’ve gotta leave in, like, a minute or I’ll miss the bus.”


“You take the bus home?” he asked.


I huffed and nodded.


“You’re a senior,” he said.


“Yeah. The lamest one here. Now may I have the papers so I can go?”


He handed over a stack of papers, and I shoved them inside my bag without looking. I turned to leave.


“You might wanna grab a textbook,” he suggested. “There’s homework tonight.”


I hurried to the back of the room and grabbed a green book off the table. I turned to my teacher and held it up.


“Wrong one,” he said.


I slapped it on the table and picked up a red one.




“Will you just tell me what color it is?!” I cried, checking the time on my cell phone once more.


“Blue. And it says ‘Calculus’ on it. You do know you’re taking calculus this year, right?”


I wanted to strangle him. “I know how to read,” I snapped, and held up the book. I pointed to the title. “Who puts a title this small on a book?” and I shoved it in my bag.


“I need to record your book number,” he said as I opened the classroom door.


“Seriously? I’m gonna be late. Can’t we just do this tomorrow?”


He answered my question with the homework assignment. “Pages eleven and twelve. Show me your work, or you don’t get credit.”


“Okay.” I hesitated in the doorway for a millisecond before sprinting down the hall.