“All of a sudden, we heard the fire alarm go off. The smoke in the room got worse. I turned around to realize that the reaction never stopped, and I finally pulled the fire alarm button and everyone went in panic mode.”
It was 8 a.m. and it was time to get out of bed and start my first day as a senior at Valley High. I walked into the kitchen, grabbed my lunch from the table and walked to my blue convertible. I started the engine and drove down Pine Lane to pick up my one and only friend Laney. It took us 15 minutes to get to school and we parked outside. It was senior orientation and the principal gave us the welcome back to school speech and we got our new schedules. My first class was AP Calc BC with Ms. Tang.
I went to my locker, the same one I had for the past three years, to unpack my bag and grab my binder for class. As always, I was late to class and ended up sitting next to Jack, the most gross guy in school. I looked around and happened to see Janice on her phone, as always checking her Instagram likes, while Josh was taking a nap. Ms. Tang walked over and screamed in her Chinese accent, “Wake up! You’re not at home. You’re at school and at school you learn.”
Ms. Tang was characterized as the most hated teacher in school, not because of the class she teaches, but because when she talks no one can understand her. I used to love math before Ms. Tang joined Valley, but now I hate it, and it’s has become my worst subject. When Ms. Tang taught us, she would take three days to cover a topic. One was to learn the concepts then next day without practice while the last day was quiz day. However, Ms. Tang was never confident at what she was teaching as she barely answered all the questions that the class asked her. The bell finally rang, and first period was finally over. Now just 4 more to go. I ran out of the room as fast as I could, and walked up to Laney by her locker which was right next to mine and complained, “That was the longest period of my life! Seniors year sucks. I can’t wait to get out of this hellhole.”
“Janie, it’s okay. You’ll get through it. What is your next class? I have AP Lit,” Laney said in an optimistic tone.
“British Lit,” I said.
I hated Shakespeare. Who is supposed to understand what on earth he is trying to say? The bell rang and we both were late for second period. Ms. Moore, my English teacher, was British of course. At least with her accent I could understand her, but wished I didn’t. The first play that was assigned to read was Othello. I was ecstatic when she said Othello because I had read the book over the summer, when I took a summer English class to get more credits for my transcript. So I decided then that I wasn’t going to do anything for this class, and instead stress over the fact I might not get into college.
Three years of high school has already passed for me and I can’t change that. My average has been the same each year, and an average of an 81 is not going to get me into a really good college. I was so worried that instead of going to lunch with Laney, I decided to visit my college counselor, Mr. Paxton. He was the funniest counselor I had met in the school. I knew from the moment I met him that he was different. He had long brown hair down to his shoulders and he always had a stash of junk food in his left drawer. I knocked on his door and said, “Hey Mr. P, what’s up?”
Mr. P said in an Australian accent, “Ow-yar-goin mate?”
“I’m worried about my grades and that it’s not going to get me into a good college. I’ve always been a slacker and that’s not gonna change. My parents think that the only college I’ll get into is Pine Valley Community College, which is like the worst school ever!!”
He said, “No drama, mate. It will work out fine. If you work hard this year for the first semester and show you’re trying to make an effort and raise your grades a little, you’ll be fine. Now nick off, you’re bothering me. I was eating my fifth twinkie before you walked in. Go eat lunch!”
I went to have a quick chat with Laney before I went to AP Chemistry. In my head, I thought, this is the easiest class ever. Science has always been my strong suit. I loved learning about the elements of the periodic table and I wanted to learn more about Organic Chemistry. I can definitely pull my grade up for this class. Mr. Kuplar was the most serious teacher in school. He loved chemistry and loved teaching it for the past three decades. Our lab that day was to learn more about reactive metals such as sodium and potassium. Once our lab was completed, we had to write a lab report concluding our data and findings.
As I started thinking about our lab, I started to daydream about the cutest guy in school who happened to be in my chemistry class. His name was Niall and he was the quarterback of the football team. His sea blue eyes mesmerized every girl in school. He has a big sense of humor and always has a jock that makes the class burst into laughter. Not only do people love his cute face and sense of humor he also loves to sing, dance, and play the guitar. Even all the guys gave him the nickname “The Triple Threat.” I imagined him asking me to senior prom, but while day dreaming I hadn’t realized that I had put some potassium powder in water. All of a sudden I heard bubbling noises. I woke up and saw that the potassium mixed with water. The mixture created potassium hydroxide which can lead to an explosion. Just as it was about to explode, I yelled to the class, “Everybody get down!!!” and a small explosion occurred.
Mr. Kuplar was in the back of the room, saw the explosion and fell to the ground. We all gathered around him, and I shook him to wake him up thinking he fainted from what he saw, but he wasn’t waking up.
Someone shouted across the room, “Janey, you gave him a heart attack. You killed him.”
All of a sudden, we heard the fire alarm go off . The smoke in the room got worse. I turned around to realize that the reaction never stopped, and I finally pulled the fire alarm button and everyone went in panic mode.
“Run!” Niall said as he ran out of the room.
We all were gathered around outside in the school’s football field. Mr. Jenkins, the school’s principal came running to the school field franticly looking to see if everyone was okay.
He walked straight up to our class and said in a loud angry tone, “Can someone explain to me what happened to Mr. Kuplar and what caused the fire?”
I didn’t dare to speak, but I knew that if i didn’t, I probably would be in more trouble than I was already in. So I decided to suck it up and confess. I walked up and said, “This is all my fault, sir!!!”
“How so?” he said.
“Well, we were doing a lab assignment and I was not paying attention and caused a chemical explosion,” I said.
“You think this was a mini fire!!! Everyone evacuated the building. You caused a disruption in every class. Tomorrow come to my office and we’ll talk about the consequences. As for everyone else, school is over for the day. See you tomorrow.”
I walked to the school parking lot to head home and Laney found me and asked me what had happened. As I drove her home, I explained the whole story to her. Laney exited the car and said, “Don’t worry. Everything will be okay.”
As I drove down the road, I thought to myself, what are the consequences that I might receive and what will happen to me? I didn’t want to face my punishment or the reality.
When I got home the maid said, “Your parents are out for the night at a benefit and won’t be home til late.”
“Okay, ask the cook to make me Chinese food tonight.”
I went up to my room to check social media about posts of what had happened today. Everyone in the class told everyone what had happened on Facebook. I started to get frustrated about the situation as people started to make up stories. One crazy story was that I started the explosion on purpose because I hated school and everyone in it. That story spread around and everyone was commenting about how crazy I was and how stupid of an idea it was.
I couldn’t face my classmates tomorrow. I didn’t want to be the laughing stock of the whole school. Words travel fast in Valley High and once they hear gossip it never ends. I was tired to doing nothing for the past few years. I wanted to be more independent and outgoing and the only mind that I thought would help me get there was to go somewhere else. Some where no one knew me. I always had a hidden interest in going to Morocco to learn Arabic, as well as to learn more about their culture and gain a whole different on perspective in life.
I decided then and there to leave to Morocco. I wanted to get away, far away as possible. Not only was it across the world but my friends and family would never think that I would decide to go to there. I walked up to my parents room and opened my mother’s drawer and took 5,000 dollars, which was all of the money left in the drawer and purchased a one way ticket to Rabat, Morocco in a different name. I walked into my room looking for my luggage and started packing all the things I could fit in my luggage.
As I was walking down the stairs I got a call from Laney. In a rush to leave I hit ignore.