“I have a great power. I am one of them, I just have to be.”
“Miss Park?” Mr. Tendermill groaned, “Can you explain to us why 6 is the correct variable?”
I closed my notebook and looked up at my always frazzled algebra teacher. Of course I couldn’t. “I need use the bathroom?” I could hear the smirk in my own voice.
“There are twenty minutes left in class. Last time you used the restroom in my class you never returned. Why don’t wait until the bell rings.”
“I have my period and it can’t wait,” I said.
He sighed, “You don’t come back this time and it will be reported as you cutting class.”
“Yes sir.” With the smirk still planted on my face, I shoved my small notebook in my back pocket and jetted to the door.
* * *
An empty school hall is much better to walk down than one filled with watching eyes.
I slowed my gate as I passed room 266. Peter was sitting reclined in a seat near the front of the classroom. He pushed his curly blonde hair out of his face as he jotted something down on a piece of paper. I coughed. He looked up. His eyes squinted down as his lips slid into a discreet smile. I ducked out of the doorway before Miss D could see me. I leaned up against the lockers and listened to Peter ask to be excused.
“In order to achieve the ‘ride to college get out of here plan’ you need to actually do good in school.” Peter whispered as he elbowed me in the side playfully.
“I can’t focus today.”
“Algebra makes me want to pull my hair out.” I ran my fingers frantically through my hair. “Let’s duck out early and head down the shore.”
“We have Warped Tour tickets. I’d like to go. Ever since mom found out Nick got Lisa pregnant she’s been on a war path.”
“No one is surprised about that one.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Well my mom was.”
“Let’s just head to the mall, I could use a smoothie.” I slid my arm through his, “Please.”
Jesse shook his head, “What’s up with the attempting to flee?”
“My mom comes home today.” I sighed and let my arm fall back to my side. “Have a smoke with me then?”
“Let’s get to class, after school we can grab blizzards and hang. I don’t feel like getting in trouble today.”
“You are no fun.” I pouted.
“You aren’t the only one who wants out of here.” Peter’s lip flattened into a thin line. A small dimple formed in the left corner above his mouth. Peter’s reasons for getting out of this hole of a town were as good as mine. Kids don’t get to pick the families they’re born into…unfortunately.
“I heard Valerie La Vorne say she’s gonna try and hook up with you at Summer’s party this weekend.” I changed the subject in hopes of distracting him.
Peter laughed, “She’s gonna hook up with somebody.” His soft blues eyes settled on me, a familiar warmth passed from him to me. “Hang tough with your mom. The first few days are always the worst. Don’t believe what she says, it’s never true. She’s just trying to hurt you for putting her away.”
“Again..” I added. My eyes fell to my chucks. I kicked at nothing. “Yeah, I just wish they stopped letting her out.”
“Me too..” Peter began to step backward. My sound mind seemed to be only possible and achievable when I was him. I came across a throw pillow in a bookstore in the Village once that had the saying, Friends are the Family you choose, embroidered on it. It made me think of Peter.
“I’m heading back to class, you?” Peter’s smile unfolded into a mostly straight line again.
“Nay, I’m gonna go grab that smoke.” I winked and turned off for the nearest exit.