This is a work of fiction.
Any resemblance to
real persons living or dead
and purely coincidental.
This is a work.
there was a girl who was quiet and got good grades and was editor of the school newspaper. she tried to kill herself when she was about 13. the reason is fairly irrelevant, but that's where the story begins.
the girl’s mother, worried and unsure of what to do after her daughter's attempted suicide, talked to her best friend charles, a social worker, who in turn mentioned it to his lover michael, another social worker. michael, being a bit nosy and thinking he was doing someone a favor (though years later, the girl's still not clear who), gave his buddy at the school district a call but didn't tell the girl's mother.
the girl was sitting in the auditorium in her 100-person history class when emily gold, the "trust" counselor, walked in. everyone knew that the trust counselor came for the kids who had problems. and the girl was humiliated as mr. bronstein, her teacher, pointed her out and the trust counselor marched her out while everyone looked on.
it was ironic that ms. gold was called a trust counselor, since it was michael's meddling that had led to this meeting. but, alas, the irony does not end there.
back in ms. gold's office, the grilling/therapy session began. time seemed to be slowing down.
"so, i hear you tried to kill yourself."
"and i understand that your mother is a lesbian?"
embarrassed, frightened, and bewildered by the questions, and unsure whether she should say anything at all (but it's an authority figure -- she thought -- i have to tell her what she wants to know), the girl turned herself off and submitted to the examination.
a few days after the the trust counselor took her out of class, the girl was sitting in her french class, taught by ms. muskat, who also taught journalism and was the sponsor of the school paper. (yes, they did call her muskrat behind her back. wouldn't you?) the door opened, and in walked mr. peter colman, everyone's favorite science teacher.
mr. colman was a favorite because he cursed a lot and made crass jokes in class and had a partially-dressed and be-wigged skeleton at the back of the room named "anna rexia." and, like ms. muskat, mr. colman was involved in various extracurricular activities at the school. he ran the science bowl and sponsored the junior national honor society.
"this is my free period," mr. colman informed ms. muskat. he asked if the girl could come by his classroom now to get a list of names for the article she was writing about the honor society nominees.
"sure, no problem," ms. muskat said.
"can jessica come?" she asked. her best friend jessica didn't write for the paper but was in the same french class.
"no, i think you can go by yourself," ms. muskat replied.
the girl smiled apologetically at her friend and followed mr. colman to the science wing, excited to get out of class for a few minutes.
the only time she can remember her mother going to parents' night was early on in eighth grade. she remembers her mother talking to mr. colman, everyone's favorite science teacher. she remembers being excited that her mother was going to meet him.
"you know," he boomed, "some people say you can't teach minorities. but i can. she's proof."
"yes, well," her mother said pausing, eyeing him suspiciously. "i know my daughter's very smart. and she always has been."
"of course," he offered with a smile. "and she's a delight to have in class."
real persons living or dead.
when mr. colman and the girl got to his classroom, he went over to his desk and shuffled through stacks of paper.
"okay, where did i put all the honor society stuff?" he asked himself aloud. "ah, here. i think this is what you need," he said, pushing a manila folder towards her.
while she flipped through the papers, he moved around the desk and stood beside her.
"you know," mr. colman said, "i was talking to ms. gold."
the girl didn't look at him, her face burning as the words dripped through her like molasses. time was slowing down.
"you know, when i was a kid, my mother had a lot of lady friends over a lot." his hand was on her shoulder, and then her back, and then her other shoulder.
"i always thought they were just friends," he said. "if you'd like to talk to me about anything, you know you can trust me." his hand moved down past her collar bone.
she turned herself off and submitted to the examination.