The Passed Note Issue 8 October 2018 - Page 13

Whoever it is goes in the other stall. She coughs, unzips, pees, wipes, and flushes. She comes out to the sink and tries to wash her hands in the trickle. Good luck with that.

Then, just as I think the girl’s about to walk out, she says, “Sibley?”

I sigh, but I don’t answer.

“Ms. K told me to come in here and look for you.”

I squeeze the toilet paper in my fist.

“I know you’re in there. I can see your shoes.”

“I’m fine,” I tell her. “Just maybe a little… sick. Allergies or something.”

“Ms. K says you can write about whatever you want. It’s totally up to you.”

I open the stall door.

“I’m not in here because I can’t write a freaking essay. Is that what Ms. K thinks?”

The girl nods and then shrugs.

“I’m just sick. I have allergies. I’m gonna go to the nurse.” This isn’t the kind of lie that matters.

“Okay,” the girl says. I don’t really know her. Her name is Melanie, maybe. Something like that. Ms. K is always calling on her for the answers and asking her to read her stuff out loud. She didn’t go to my middle school – she went to the art charter on the other side of town. I have seen her sketching in her thick book and eating alone on the top floor of the art building during lunch. I go up there when I have Art Club. Trent hates it when I go – so I have to make it sound important. He wants us to eat lunch together every day. He needs me, he says. And he always wants to drive off campus.

“Do you want me to walk you to the office?” Melanie asks. She has short hair – super shot – shaved, really – and dyed pink. Her eyes are blue – like mine – but hers have this sheen to them, I don’t know – a silver tint or something. She looks happy. Even alone, sketching and eating a flat sandwich in the hallway – around all the groups of people coming and going – she doesn’t mind it. I mean, she seems to like it.

“No, it’s okay.”

“Sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure.”