"My brother is a brave person. He never complains or asks for much. He just wants me to stick by his side until the day he dies. My brother has defied all odds. He is on of the longest surviving lung cancer pat-" I was cut off by the overhead speaker.

"Gracie Grey to the office, Gracie Grey to the office"

My heart was pounding in my chest. I dropped the sheet with my speech on it. It fluttered to the floor aimlessly. I couldn't feel my body. You know that prickling feeling in your foot when you don't move it for a long time? That's how my whole body felt. Numb.

My feet carried me down the hall, straight to the office door. There was a little window, peeking into the other world we freshman called "hell". Two secretary tapped away at computers. Their lips painted red, and nails painted pink. They did not know of the outside world, where Seniors attacked Freshman. Where Freshman stood outside the door, crying inside, smiling out.

I guess I must of been standing for a while, because one of them finally looked up and saw me standing there. She hurried over and opened the door for me. I felt like screaming out, asking what I had been called down for. No one was ever called down to the office. Not even if they stabbed a teacher.

Around the corner, there were several other offices. The guidance counselor had one. I remembered it well. It was colourful, and full of homemade posters. You see, our school was so small that all grades were crammed into one building. There were several main offices, and several bell systems. Different speakers reached different parts of the school building. It was huge, with 5 seperate wings. Yet, our class reaches the sad number of 15 students.

We're a rich school. We have so few students, so we can spend more money on everything else. Don't have to buy excessive equipment, or use so much paper and ink. What I'm getting at here, is that I've had the same guidance counselor for 10 years. She's always had the same, red-blonde, feathery hair. She's always worn sun-dresses in the summer and spring, sweaters and jeans in the fall, and then festive dresses in the winter. It doesn't get too relatively cold in the winter. She always remembers to wear tights underneath.

As I was saying before, however, she has an office in the office. I wasn't exactly surprised when she came around the corner, but I was when she walked up to me. She smiled that fake smile, the one she only wore when something was wrong. I stared at her with a blank face. She placed a hand on my shoulder and directed me into her office before she began to speak.

"Hello, Gracie. How are you?" her hair fluttered in the breeze coming from the open window. She was wearing a sundress. It was spring time, when things were growing. We've already been out with the old, so now it's time to bring in the new. When farmers plant crops, and animals start to peek out of their dens, babies in tote. "I heard you were a freshman this year. Exciting!"

I looked around the office. It was a little different from last time I had seen it. It had gained more posters. She had a new laptop. It was bright pink, with little stick children on it. I thought it was appropriate. Slouching in the corner, was a large green bean bag chair. One of those chairs that swallows you when you sit down in it. Her bookshelf seemed fuller. Probably with the latest editions of teen magazines. Anything to make us comfortable.

"So!" she clapped her hands and blew air out through her mouth. It was almost a sigh. "How do you like my office this year? It's different from last year. Did you notice?" Her smile was kind.

I nodded and carefully maneuvered my way into the new chair. I was growing too big for stuff like this. My legs were too lanky, my bust too full. I was a high schooler now, and it was harder than ever to hide anything from me. I was good at acting, though. I kept my cool, and played it out.

She seemed a little flustered by my silence. I had visited her so much in the past. I was her most talkative visitor, as well. It was halfway through my Freshman year, and this was the first time I'd been in her office since last year. I was too old for this. I had friends now, and I didn't have to seek advice in a lame adult who dresses like a child.

"Look, if you're going to give me some big, bag news, tell me now. I'm a big girl. I can handle it"

"Now, now, sweetie. What makes you think something's wrong?"

"Everything! No one ever gets called to the office. You could assault a teacher and you'd never be called down to the office! Your smile is also fake. You only give a fake smile when you need to make use feel better. So that means there's something wrong. You think I'm still ignorant enough to not notice the signs? Just tell me."

"Oh, sweetie. I don't know how to tell you. I think you'd much rather hear it from your moth-"

"That lying b*tch? No way. I've always hated her. She ruined my life."

She stared at me, shocked. I couldn't breathe. I had just insulted my mother. My blood and kin. This was too much.

"Sweetie, if you feel that way, then I guess that gives me the entitlement to tell you?"


She went silent again. She shuffled some papers on her desk, and straighted a stack of books. I sat there, in the green chair, with my arms crossed for about 15 minutes. The bell rang. We continued to sit and stare at each other. The wait was gut-wrenching. It was only when my mom came in, that I realized what was wrong. My mom was in tears. Her makeup ran down her face, and stained her clothes.

"Oh, Gracie. He's gone..."

The End

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