Prompt book chosen by my daughter, Miller.
(For the record, replacing a chalk board is more expensive than you might think.)
(But I wasn’t going to tell Bernice that.) (And neither was Viv.) (It had to be our secret.) (You should know that none of us were good at keeping secrets.)
“We can’t just leave it like this,” Bernice said, putting her hand on her full hip. “It literally has the word ‘A SUICIDE IS COMING’ carved into it.”
I bit my lower lip till it bled. (It’s a thing I do. You know, to remind me I’m alive; that things inside me, like blood, flow even though my outsides feel like cement blocks. Mostly immoveable.)
“Mr. L’s gonna call a mental health day for the entire school,” Viv said, rolling her eyes. “Doesn’t he know that a mental health issue cannot be solved by a day of pyjama wearing and reading paper books.
She was right. (But I liked wearing my pjs to school, and I really, really liked reading paper books.) I shrugged my shoulders.
“Look, we should just tell Mr. Brogen that the chalkboard was like this when we came in to clean it,” Bernice said. “It’s not a lie. And, we don’t know who did it, so we can tell him that too. I don’t see what the big deal is.”
(The Big Deal, Bernice, is that someone in our school is contemplating suicide. That is a Big Deal. Someone is reaching out for help, Bernice.) (I didn’t say.)
“You’re right about telling Mr Brogen. And you’re right that Mr. L will likely call a mental health day. But you’re wrong about it not being a big deal,” I finally said.
Viv looked at the clock above the chalkboard. “Shit, we better go now before the bell rings.”
I tilted my head to the side. There was something familiar about the way the letters were carved. (I wasn’t sure what, but there was something. I didn’t mention it.)
“We can’t leave it like this,” I said. “I mean, it’ll cause…you know, a ruckus.”
“A ruckus?” Bernice blew a laugh out her nose. “Nice word, nerd.”
(It was a nice word. I am a nerd. Hashtag proud.)
Viv walked to the back of the classroom, and started rummaging through a stack of bins. “We’re in the drama room, peeps, there’s gotta be a costume or blanket or something we can throw over the board to cover it.”
“Smart, very smart,” Bernice said, walking to the back of the class to help look through the bins.
I looked at the chalkboard. “It’s on wheels.”
“What’s on wheels?” Viv said, her face in a bin.
“The chalkboard. It’s on wheels. We can just turn it around,” I said, staring at the wheels. “This thing is ancient.” I started to turn the board around. “It’s a quick band-aid, but with whatever you find to cover it, I think we’ll be good for today’s class.”
(Turning the words away was not solving anything but enough to postpone a ruckus which would most-likely be followed by a wave of
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