Hallways are always busy between classes. It would make more sense to move the teachers from room to room instead of moving all 850 of us students, but rarely does anything happen at this school that makes sense. The thought of salmon swimming upstream always crosses my mind as I weave my way to my locker. Too many text books to carry all the time.
Thirty-two right, fourteen left, eighteen right and pull. Someone hits me in the back. I spin and glare at one of the freshman sprawled on the floor after having been pushed into me. Frustration boils up inside as I realize I can’t kick the poor kid and I’m not sure who amongst the laughing crowd was responsible for pushing him in the first place. I shove my history text into my locker, yank out the biology text, and slam the locker door shut. I give the lock an extra spin and turn to face the salmon stream when I see her standing behind me.
My heart catches in my throat even as I flash a smile that isn’t returned. She holds out a note, folded up into a triangle. There is a seriousness in her eyes I’ve never seen before and without a word she turns and melds into the crowd.
I look down at the lined notebook paper missive in my hand, and the weight of it grows the longer I hold it. I don’t even have to open it to know what it says, but I open it anyway. Goodbye. Breaking up. Sorry. The words pierce my eyes and heart. The hallway empties out and I’m left standing in front of my locker. Alone. The tardy bell rings.