October 20 by Margaret Ozmet

empty school hallway in older school buildingGod, it’s hot in here. Why can’t she just open a stupid window? How am I supposed to study like this?

I hate 8th period study hall.

Of course, my pencil is broken. She’ll flip out if I go to the sharpener. “Boys and girls, this is a study hall, not a social hall.” What a crap job.

This pencil is gross. I chewed on it so long the paint is almost gone. Maybe I should use pen. Dad will be so pissed if he sees this. “Margaret. I didn’t shell out a thousand dollars for those damn braces just so you could gnaw on pencils and screw it up.” He just looks for stupid things to get pissed about.

I can’t concentrate.

Terry Sherman has the worst B.O. Can’t he smell himself?

Why is it so hot in here?

How does Steph Signett get her hair that high? I voted for her for homecoming queen.

Come on, focus. I have to do Algebra. Why is it so confusing? It’s not even second semester and I’m already lost. Maybe I should give up and take Consumer Math.

Troy Fowler is hot. Would he ever date a freshman? Probably not. Even if he would, he definitely wouldn’t date me.

Maybe I should try to do Bio. Tomorrow we’re cutting up a pig. What if I barf? That would be bad.

Why is Mr. Leber here? Someone’s in deep shit. Probably Brad Willis. He spends more time with Mr. Leber than Mrs. Leber. Ha. I’m hilarious.

Why do all principals wear polyester? Hey Mr. Leber, it’s 1986. You can put your bell bottoms away now.

Why are they whispering? Wait, why is he looking at me? They’re both looking at me. I didn’t do anything. I totally didn’t do anything. Stop looking at me.

Margaret, can you please go with Mr. Leber? You’ll need to take your things.”

I don’t even know what I did but my dad is going to kill me.

Stop looking at me. Why is everyone looking at me? Don’t trip. Don’t trip. Don’t trip. Is that my brother in the hallway? Shouldn’t he be in class?

Margaret, your mother called. Your father has been taken to the hospital.”

What?

You need to get there as soon as possible. Your brother has signed you both out and you have permission to take his car. Your mother is waiting for you.”

Why does he have that look on his face?

Ok.”

Why is everyone so quiet? This is weird. Maybe I can get a reprieve on Algebra homework. Why is my brother in such a hurry?

Hey, slow down. What’s wrong with Dad? Why are you in such a rush? Can we stop and get a soda before we go to the hospital? I’m dying. It was so hot in study hall and Mrs. Fowler wouldn’t even open the window. How stupid right? Why did you have them pull me out in the middle of everything. I looked like a moron. I mean, the bell was going to ring in like 10 minutes. Why didn’t you just wait? What’s the big rush? Why aren’t you talking? Is it something big or what? I mean it’s no big deal right?

Jesus Christ Margaret! Shut the hell up! Dad is dead!”

What?”

Dead Margaret. Dad is dead. So shut your mouth and get in the fucking car. Mom is waiting.”

But I had breakfast with him this morning.

Margaret Özemet

Margaret Özemet’s essays and short stories have been seen in various print and online journals including New Letters,  Stone’s Throw Magazine, Ducts.org, Drunken Boat, Gargoyle Magazine, Red Fez, Anderbo.com, Istanbul Literary Review, and Western State Press' Anthology - Manifest West and Escape Into Life.  When she’s not writing, Margaret is a theatrical costume designer, wife and mom all of which provide a wealth of material for her humorous blog, Pushing 40, Aging Gracelessly. She currently lives and works in Indianapolis, Ind., with her husband Gökhan and son Teoman.

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