ts early but starting off bad can make it hard to make your way back up. We sent a note to your mother and gave her a call. She said something about how you don live there and wished us luck finding you. She then called back after receiving our letter and told us you were probably dead. Now, theres a lot for us to talk about. First, do you need us to call anybody for you? ”
”No, Im fine. Im living at home. My mom is on some new medication, so she doesn always know whats going on. ”
”Okay, then what about your grades? You
e failing all your classes. Whats going on? You
e a senior; you need to pass your main classes to graduate at the end of the year. ”
”I know, Ive just had some stuff going on and am struggling to stay motivated. Ill try harder. ”
”Well, I talked to a few of your teachers and they said you
e handing in your work. So, is it just that you
e not understanding? If thats the case, I can give you the name of a good tutor. They charge $25 an hour. ” She starts writing down a name on an index card.
”Oh, Miss Charlton, thats okay. I actually have been thinking of getting a study group instead. I work better when I work with people I know. Thank you, though. ” She smiles and sets her pen down.
”Okay, Im going to trust you to get this under control. If you decide you want my tutor then let me know. I don want you to get left behind because you
e distracted. ” I leave with a smile. Shit, Terry was right. Why the hell would she tell the school that I was dead?
I sit back down in the library with my work laid out in front of me. I don want to do any of this. I see the ink smudge on my math book, and decide to put that subject off again. Next, I try to read my book for English and give up on that. I can only read the same page so many times, before giving up. I switch over to physics. I check the front of the book to make sure Im reading the right language before shoving it all in my bookbag. Maybe I should get a tutor. I obviously don understand a lot of this. Ive been ignoring my math class for so long they probably don remember I attend one. A tutor is expensive though, and I don really want to spend my new earned money on school.
My thoughts are interrupted when the bells goes off above my head. I heave away my bag of undone assignments and responsibilities to the next class I won be passing.
When I get to work, I still feel crappy. Its not like I care about school, but Im not going back next year. I don want to get held back my last year, because that would be embarrassing. I would definitely not have any friends after that either. Dads mom is also paying for my school, and I don know if shed do it an extra year. She doesn want to do it now. Im also a little terrified of her, not that she would come down here and have it out with me.
I only saw her once, and that was enough. My mom went to shake her hand and introduce herself, and she just stared her down. Ive never seen anybody stand up to my mom so well. She slowly lowered her hand right before ”grandma ” said, ”I would say its nice to meet you, but its not. I told him to never marry you. Shes a nasty, whore I said to him. Did he listen? No. Look where it got him. ” She said all of this in the calmest voice. It sounded as if she was just telling us how her drive there was. Like she was explaining the weather in Washington. My mother scoffed and crossed her arms. I could see she didn have the guts to say anything back, but didn want to seem like a pushover. She then turned to me
I remember seeing flashbacks to her and my mother. My palms started to sweat, and I was terrified. I was more worried to talk to my grandmother than the fact that I was now alone in the world with my mom. ”Whats your name. ” It wasn a question, but a demand.
”What a stupid name. ” She bent down and held my chin between her two fingers. ”Fits you. ” She said with an eye roll then stood up. ”I am your fathers mother. You shall not call me grandma, but you can call me Ann. ” I nodded, too scared to do anything else. She put out her hand with the most annoyed look she could muster. I took it very slowly, as if trying to pet a stray dog. She walked a few feet away from mother and sat me down on a couch. She sat next to me, but at a safe distance. ”What grade are you in? ”
”When you get old enough for middle school I shall send you to a good one. Your father asked me to help give you a decent education. I don know how good the education is around her, but itll have to do. Theres a private school in your town; I will send you to ones within walking distance. ”
”Thank you. ” I whispered not knowing what else to say.
”Don thank me child. I don do this or anything, for you. If I liked you I would take you with me, but I don . Don take it personally, though; its not your fault you were born. Nonetheless, I will follow my sons last wishes and send you to a nice school. I will send you mail on where it is when you get old enough. Don waste my efforts. ” She calmly stood up as if she didn just threaten a grieving 10 year old, and left. She walked out the door, and I never saw her again. She did as she said, though. She sent me to a nice school and always sent my school enrollment information through the PO box that she bought me.
As I clock in I feel so drained. ”Whats up wet blanket? ” Oliver says calmly as I sign into my till.
”Wet blanket? ”
”Yeah, you look like you
e going to be in a bad mood today. ”
”Well not everyday is perfect, thank you very much. ”
”Ah, so it will be a grumpy day. ” I roll my eyes letting out as big of a sigh as my lungs can handle to let him know Im not in the mood for his sarcastic humor. ”Okay fine. Whats up? Boyfriend say he didn want to hang tonight? ”
”No, Im just struggling to keep my grades up, and the schools got a stick in their ass about it. ”
”What subjects? ”
”All of them? Im passing gym and writing. Im failing math, physics, phycology, and whatever classes I go to during the day. ”
”You don remember all your classes? ”
”I don know. Classroom 233 first, then classroom 256, then gym. ”
”Okay I get it. ” He shakes his head annoyed.
”Do my academics stress you out? ”
”Hah, you call that academics? You don remember half of your classes. Thats just coasting. ”
”Coasting is better than crashing. ”
”Didn you say you were failing your classes? ” I glare at him to make up for my lack of response. ”Look, I still feel kind of bad for the thief thing. ”
”I told you its fine. ”
”It was pretentious, and I wasn raised to be judgmental. So, to make myself feel better about it. How about I help you with your classes? We have a lot of down time here. I could tutor you; I guess, while we work. ”
”Why would you? ”
”Because you obviously need some help and tutors are expensive. Also, why not? ”
”You don get anything out of it. ”
”Yeah, so what? I don need to get anything to do something for others. I volunteer at a childrens camp during the summer. It might seem crazy, but some people just like to help others. ” I squint my eyes at him, as if I could see any hidden motives doing so.
”Fine. ” I give up with a sigh. ”But only because I don want to flunk out my senior year. ”
”Okay, Ill take it. Whats first? ”
”I don know, what do you want to start with? ”
”What are you the farthest behind on? ” I think about that ink splotch on my math book.
”Mmm, physics. ”
”Perfect, get your math books. ”
”What? I said physics. ”
”Yeah, and you
e a liar. Struggling always starts with math. ” He nods his head toward the back room. I roll my eyes and get my things. I drop my stuff onto the counter, ”What the hell is all over your books? ”
”A pen exploded the other day. ”
”You didn clean it up? ” I scrunch up my face.
”Huh didn consider it. Oh well, its dry now. ” He shakes his head and starts opening the books. He helps me throughout our shift. He gives me instructions while he stocks the shelves, and we take breaks to help customers. By the end of the night, we finished all my math homework. ”Ill mop since you did all the stocking. ”
I shut off all the warmers and grab water. When I push the bucket out to the floor, Oliver is looking at the rest of my homework. He pulls out the book we
e reading for English. ”This is a good book. ”
”Yeah, thats what Ive heard. I can never concentrate enough to actually read it. ” As I ring out the mop, he starts talking.
”The night sky spoke to me, almost yelling. The sky yelled down and told me to turn around. Run it almost screamed. Why does the earth know what lies ahead of me when I don ? ” It takes me a minute to realize hes reading the book. While I mop the floors, he sits on the counter and reads. To my surprise I actually follow the story. He was right, it is a pretty good book.
”Done. ” I say before pushing the mop to the back and dumping out the water.
”Cool. ” He hops off the counter and grabs his stuff from the back room. ”Here are your things. ” He packed all my stuff back into my backpack. We lock the front doors as we leave. He waves and turns to leave.
”Hey Oliver! ” He turns and slides his hands into his sweatshirt pocket. ”Uh, I wanted to thank you for doing this. Im not sure if I come off appreciative, but I am. Also, I wanted to extend an invitation. Some friends of mine are having a party next week, I was wondering if you wanted to come? Its pretty casual, nothing that exciting. ”
”Uh, yeah sure. I assume its on a day we have off? ” I nod. ”Okay, sure. Oh, here. ” He takes out his phone and walks back over to me. He pulls up his phone number and puts it into my phone. ”Now you can contact me if you have any questions on your homework or anything. ”
”Okay. ” I suddenly feel awkward, so I give a little half smile.
”Alright, Im out. ” He turns and leaves this time. The walk back to the apartment is cold. Through the day the wind picked up and brought a chill with it. When I get home, its quiet again. The TV is on, but I don see anybody watching it. I lay down in my room, and for once I feel accomplished. I tuck my knife under my pillow and change into my pajamas. I sleep nightmare free for the first time in years. The morning was right, it was a good day.