Grade: 10th grade
Age: 15

He and I Are One

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It was around eleven thirty, and he was laying on the roof of his old elementary school. He had nothing but a blanket, his sweater as a pillow, and his backpack with a laptop and charger in it. Zach had gotten into another fight with his mother and left home. He didn’t want to be near her any longer than he had to, she was emotionally abusive, all she ever did was complain about what he did wrong; she was a perfectionist, yet she was the furthest thing from perfect. She couldn’t see how hard he tried to meet her standards, all she saw was that her standards were not met. Since elementary school Zach had been a straight A student, but his grades began to dip down into A’s and B’s in the 6th grade, then to B’s and C’s in 7th through 8th. He barely passed the 9th grade with almost all C’s, an F and one A. He slept through his classes, and he never did homework. He managed to ace the tests and quizzes though, which was the only reason he passed most of his classes. His teachers always told him that he was a smart person, and he knew it too. He was also moderately athletic, he was always the fastest kid at school, even now, no one he knew could beat him in a race.
He laid there on the roof for what seemed like hours, but when he checked his watch it was only twelve fifteen. Zach began to think about what he would do the next day. He couldn’t stay there for the entire night since it was a school day and there would be kids and school staff arriving early in the morning, and he still wanted to go to school so he could see his girlfriend, Iris. She was always there for him, she would listen to him rant on about how badly he wanted to move out of the house and live on his own, maybe even across the country, to put as much space between himself and his mother as he could. He has told her things even his parents and close friends don’t know about. Zach’s grades began to slowly drop because he began to realize there wasn’t really a point to doing the work, he began to realize that he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, and most of all, he began to think that life was meaningless. But she made him feel like life was worth living, she made him want to go to school and get his grades up. He wanted to be good enough for her, he wanted to make her proud.
At about twelve thirty he decided to go home. His school required students to wear uniforms, and he didn’t have his with him. He was considering staying there awake until the next day, and just going to school without his uniform, but he knew he would eventually fall asleep in class. He climbed down the ladder, and climbed over the fence separating the school from the rest of the city. On the walk home he passed by the slough, and he heard a very quiet but distinct ‘shh’. His head snapped toward the direction of the sound, but there was nothing there. He decided that it must have been his imagination, so he kept on walking. A few seconds later he heard it again, ‘shh’. He said, “Who’s there?” No one replied, but again he heard it. ‘Shh’. He started to run home, as fast as he could. Once he crossed the street he stopped, gasping for air. After waiting a couple of seconds, he heard nothing.
A few minutes later, he arrived home. His hands felt like they were freezing but were warm to the touch. He walked up the stairs to find that both of his parents were still awake. He tried to sneak into his room without them noticing, but his mother heard him unlock his door.
“Zach?” His mom called.
“What?” He replied angrily.
“You idiot, what were you thinking, leaving the house like that?” She began to yell.
“Mom please I don’t want to do this right now, I just-” he began
“No, we will talk about this right now!” She was screaming now. Zach’s dad came into the hallway.
He said, “Can you two not do this right now? Zach, you have school tomorrow and you need to get some rest.”
“That’s what I was trying to tell her before she-”
“Do not start with me right now, all you’ve done today is-” Zach walked away and slammed his door. He sat on the edge of his bed and began to cry. She didn’t care about him, she didn’t love him. Even if she knew about all the times he had cried himself to sleep thinking about how she treats him, she still would not care. At best, she would act nicely toward him for a few days, at most a week, then it’d be back to normal. When the school called her to tell her that they found him cutting himself with a broken pen, all she said on the phone was, “Oh.” Later on that day when he got home, his parents started asking him, “What’s wrong with you? Why are you acting so stupid?” Zach’s dad wasn’t as bad as his mom though, he was never able to understand why Zach acted the way he did, but he tried, which was more than his mom has ever done for him. As a kid, he would cry whenever his mom yelled at him. He had thought about telling a school counselor what he felt about his parents, but he didn’t want to get put into adoption, he liked everything about his life, except for his mom… As the writer of this story, I can’t say I feel bad for Zach or pity him, since he and I are one.

2 thoughts on “He and I Are One

  1. This is a hard one to comment on, since this seems like a personal story and the writer/speaker is clearly in pain.
    Commenting on it as a story: no character development, no arc of a story, but plenty of conflict. No resolution. As a reader, I really wanted to know what the “shhh” part of the story was. I thought that part might go somewhere.

  2. This is well written, but most importantly, I worry that this is a nonfiction/personal essay than a fictional story, as the last sentence was chilling. Is this student crying out for help and used this assignment as a way to get their teacher’s attention? On a far less important level, I was confused by the “shh” noises heard in the dark. Why introduce that information if it didn’t matter to the story?

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