The spectacle at lunch had drawn a huge crowd of students, and an even bigger wave of gossip and rumors. Then again though, can you really expect anything different? It’s a small town, not much happens so the smallest of things can get everyone all riled up, we have to keep ourselves entertained somehow after all. I pondered this in the last class of the day, physics, which I absolutely, positively hated. I mean seriously, who the hell is going to use all of this?
We were about to start our experiment with Mrs. Tatensworth, a young, chipper woman, with short brown hair and green eyes, she was my favorite teacher, I just absolutely hated the subject she taught. We were going to measure the slope of a ball rolling off of a hill or something boring like that.
Then a surprise happened to come about, Caleb walked into class, but something was off, he looked pale and rather scared, his entire body taking on a different aura. He wasn’t just shy anymore, he was dead scared.
Mrs. Tatensworth and the rest of the class seemed puzzled by this new late comer, but Mrs. Tatensworth just took his pass and sat him down across from me at my table and had me explain some things to him. He just nodded, his greyish eyes staring down at the table in a blank, null gaze. We started the lab and he helped a little, but whatever had happened in the principle’s office had shaken him severely. When the class was close to over I pulled him over to the side to talk to him for a little bit.
“Are you okay?” I asked, searching for a gaze that I almost knew wouldn’t be returned, “Why aren’t you in detention or at home or…” He finally looked up at me, a pained look in his eyes.
“My dad’s picking me up,” He said, “And that’s the worst thing I could’ve ever asked for.” He looked back at me, the pain in his eyes very evident. I didn’t know how to respond to that, I really didn’t. I’d never dealt with someone’s problems before, that was dad’s job, or God’s, not mine.
Finally I decided on what I would do, as the bell rang I grabbed Caleb as we headed out towards our lockers and when we got there I took out a small piece of paper and a pen and wrote down my number, folding it up and handing it to him.
“Call or text me if you need me, or want to hang out or something.” I smiled as he looked down and the paper and he managed to smile back, genuinely.
“Thanks,” He said slipping it into his pocket, “I’ll be sure to do that.” He smiled at me one last time as he weaved his way out of the crowds of people. I smiled, knowing I had done something good for a change.
I grabbed my bags from my locker and as I walked out of the school doors hurrying towards my bus. And as I did I caught a glimpse of Caleb climbing into an SUV with a buff, older, and ultimately angrier version of him.
I whispered a silent prayer that everything would work out for him in the end…