Breaking out of Ignorance – A short story – Part 2

By Carmella Dileonardi

Cover photo by Anna O. Photography

Making it out of the courtyard and back into the high school, Grace glanced at the ceiling. She shook her head and swallowed her sadness. Grace felt weak for letting some elementary-level bullying get to her. Stopping at her locker, she looked around; the halls were still empty due to lunch being in session. She hadn’t even noticed when she came in.

Grace snatched her locker’s lock and quickly attempted to twist in the numbers so she could get in, but her hands provided no avail. She found herself closing her eyes as her thoughts consumed her.

Maybe moms right, I should be home schooled, maybe Trevor has a right to make fun of me. I mean, it’s me…I can’t even tie my shoes…

“Excuse me? Are you alright?” a voice asked. Her eyes snapped open as she lifted her head from the cool locker, quickly swiveling to face the voice.

Grace dropped her hands from the lock. The boy must’ve realized she wasn’t going to answer because he spoke again. “You seemed…I don’t know, it looked as though you were going to faint.”

That was the first thing she noticed. The way he talked. It was different. “Did Trevor send you? Hm? Heath? Was what happened in the courtyard not enough? Well I hate to disappoint, but I’m all out of jokes,” she fired back.

His eyes mimicked a wounded puppy’s, and Grace instantly realized where he was from. He was the boy she saw in the morning, after her altercation with Trevor.

“What? Trevor? I’d never participate in that,” he replied. Grace paused, feeling like the morally right thing to do would be to apologize. She didn’t—she wouldn’t.

Grace tried once again to open her locker. The boy was relentless as he continued to speak. “I’m Kit. You’re…Grace, right?” He asked softly.

She tried the lock again, finally getting it to work. Letting out a breath, she turned her head to look at him. “Yes My name is Grace. And no, I‘m not going to faint, so if you could please let me have a moment to myself that’d be great…Kit,” she told him, giving a forced polite smile before pretending to look in her locker for something.

“I saw what happened out in the courtyard. I’m sorry they treat you that way. You should tell someone.” Kit added quietly.

Grace’s eyebrows furrowed as her hand gripped the door of the locker. “This is high school, bullying isn’t taken seriously. My incident report would probably sit on someone’s desk and collect dust while I’m being shoved into lockers and made fun of,” she whispered with resentment, not even bothering to look at him.  “So please just go. Let me be.” After about two minutes, she turned her head to see that the hallway—besides herself—was empty.

The bus ride home was quiet. Grace didn’t really know anyone, and those on the bus who knew of her never made it their mission to speak to her. After today, she was more than grateful for it.

She stepped off the bus, grabbed the mail, and held the two envelopes between her teeth as she unlocked the door. Bumping it with her hip, the door opened and she quickly stepped inside, shutting it behind her.

Grace slid off her shoes on the mat and walked past the living room, dropping her book bag in the process before making a b-line for the kitchen. She opened the refrigerator and grabbed out a pitcher of tea. Pouring herself some, Grace lifted the cup to her mouth, just as her brother Nick entered the kitchen.