I So Don’t Want to Be Here (Excerpt)

by Lilly "Sheila" Verkaik, age 15
I So Don’t Want to Be Here (Excerpt) Lilly is fifteen and hates the color green.

“‘I’m here for breaking dress code,’ she explained, rolling her eyes in irritation. ‘God forbid I wore something I actually wanted to. To be fair, it was an accident. They change the dress code so often that half of the time I don’t even know what’s in it.'”

“I so don’t want to be here.”

Desiree looked up at the blonde girl in surprise. “Why?” she asked her.

“Why? Why? Isn’t it obvious why I don’t wanna be here? We’re in detention,” she said, a flash of irritation in her eyes.

“No — I know that,” Desiree told her, “What I meant is… why are you talking to me?”

Alice thought for a moment and shrugged.

“I — I don’t know,” she mumbled.

“Do you even know my name, Alice?” Desiree asked her, a hint of amusement laced in her voice. Alice said nothing.

“Yeah… didn’t think so.”

Alice still said nothing.

Desiree smiled softly at Alice. “Would you like to know my name, Alice?” she asked.

Alice nodded. “Yes please.”

“It’s Desiree,” she told her and extended her hand so that Alice could shake it, but Alice didn’t budge. Perhaps a handshake was too formal of an action for situations such as these, and Desiree put her hand down on the table in a failed attempt to seem natural. She picked up her pencil and began writing.

“So why are you here, Desiree?” Alice asked, as she proceeded to examine the state of her most recent manicure. She began picking the pink polish off her nails, watching it fall to the table in small pieces. Pick, pick, pick. This action greatly annoyed Desiree, seeing as the chips of nail polish were getting all over the table, and the two would probably have to clean them up afterwards, but she said nothing about it. Instead, she sighed heavily and answered the question she had been asked.

“I’m here for a pretty dumb reason.”

“Oh?” Alice raised an eyebrow, her eyes still focused on the nail polish she was picking off. “And what might that be?”

Desiree thought this was quite rude, but seeing as she was still writing her essay and not fully paying attention to the conversation either, she didn’t really have a right to criticize.

“I’m here for breaking dress code,” she explained, rolling her eyes in irritation. “God forbid I wore something I actually wanted to. To be fair, it was an accident. They change the dress code so often that half of the time I don’t even know what’s in it.”

Alice snorted in response. “Yeah, you were right.”

“About what?”

“That is a really dumb reason.”

Desiree smiled. “Tell me about it. At this point, I’m not even writing an essay. I might as well be writing a book. And instead of writing about what I did wrong and what I can do to fix my ‘dreaded behavior,’ I’m writing about why the dress code is stupid.”

“So rebellious, Desiree,” Alice mumbled, more to herself than anyone else. Desiree pulled at one of the strands of her frizzy, brown hair.

“Yeah, you’re right. I’m not rebellious at all. I guess that’s the thing about me. I follow the rules, even if I hate them. This is really the first time I’m speaking out against them.”

Desiree put her pencil down and turned to face the girl. She was still picking at her nails, completely oblivious to the large mess she was making.

“What’s the point of getting them done if you’re just gonna pick the polish off?” Desiree asked her.

Alice’s head snapped up. She looked at Desiree.

“I’ve got no fucking clue,” she told her.

“Huh. Interesting,” Desiree muttered, and Alice nodded. “Well, regardless of that, will you please stop picking off the nail polish? You’re making a huge mess.”

“Oh.” Alice became flushed with embarrassment. “Yeah, sure. Sorry.”

“It’s fine — ”

“Hello, you two. Have you completed your essays?”

Desiree turned, only to be met face-to-face with the school’s biggest asshole and assistant principal, Ms. Ronen, who stood in front of them with her hands on her hips. Everyone in the school liked Ms. Ronen — everyone but Desiree. She hated this woman with every fiber of her being, mostly hating her for the obnoxious voice she had, which was the voice a person uses when talking to a dog or a baby. It made her feel extremely insignificant and insulted her greatly, though nobody else seemed to care or have any issue with her whatsoever. Desiree also hated Ms. Ronen because she always seemed to get into some sort of trouble whenever she was around — which she hated because she was a good kid. She was always well-behaved — always had been, too, but for whatever reason, she always ended up doing something wrong.

Desiree nodded and handed Ms. Ronen her essay. The woman stood there, shocked as she realized that there were now five back-to-back pages in her hands.

“Is that good enough? I could always add ten more pages.”

Ms. Ronen’s eyes widened in horror at Desiree’s suggestion. “Oh! Oh no, no, no, that’s — that’s fine, Desiree. You’ve done great.”

Desiree smirked. Bet she’ll have a great time reading that, she thought.

“And what about you, Alice?”

Desiree looked over to where Alice was sitting, looking bored and uninterested. She sighed.

“I don’t have my essay.”

“Oh? And why is that?”

“Because I didn’t want to write it.”

The assistant principal looked appalled. “You do realize that you can’t just not write the essay… right, Alice?”

Alice shrugged and turned away.

“I barely did anything, though,” she whined.

“You skipped class, Alice,” Ms. Ronen huffed, “That’s a pretty big deal.”

“But I have to write an essay about why I feel bad for doing what I did,” Alice told her.

“And? Your point is?”

“My point is that I can’t write my essay because I don’t feel bad. I don’t care.”

Ms. Ronen’s face reddened in anger. “Just — just pretend you care… okay?” She sighed, obviously too tired to deal with Alice’s shenanigans. Alice nodded.

“Fine… ”

“And hurry up, too. It’s almost time for you two to leave.”

At this, Alice’s eyes widened fretfully. “But — I can’t! I can’t finish an essay in such a short amount of time!”

Ms. Ronen sighed as if she knew that something like this was going to happen. “Okay, fine. Just — finish it at home and bring it in on Monday.”

Alice nodded vigorously. “Okay! Fine by me! Can we leave now?”

There were more words exchanged between Alice and Ms. Ronen, but what they were exactly Desiree wasn’t sure. The only thing that Desiree cared about in that moment was the use of the word ‘we.’ ‘Can we leave now,’ Alice had asked, not ‘Can I leave now.’ She wondered what Alice meant by this, because as far as she was concerned, there wasn’t a ‘we.’ It’s probably nothing, Desiree thought. She probably just said that by accident. Even so, Desiree planned to ask Alice about this later on… well, if they ever talked again, that is.

Desiree knew for a fact that they probably wouldn’t.

 

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