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Time for a Change It was the same town I’d lived in for eleven years of my life, but something was different. The air had a bitter taste and the sky appeared thick with darkness. It was only a little before sunrise, but I didn’t hear any birds chirping. Then I remembered it was February. I looked out the window, and though there was no snow, everything appeared glazed in frost. Resentful of the fact that I’d have to scrape my windshield, I made my way downstairs. I picked up my backpack and grabbed my English book. Why did my backpack seem so much heavier? I tried to avoid an encounter with my mother as I looked for the cordless telephone. I called John to tell him that I was going to school early and couldn’t give him a ride. He seemed irritated, but I wasn’t sure if it was because I’d awaken him or because he might have to walk to school. On my way out the door, my mother called out my name. I did my best to ignore her. Her voice seemed especially shrill this morning, and I knew that she only wanted to remind me not to forget my little brother. On the way to school, I thought about why I was going early. I had to get help with my English homework; I always needed help with English. But I knew that Mr. Hinze would just look at me the way he always did and leave me to figure it out on my own. I guess he knew as well as I did that if I’d relax and concentrate, I would be able to figure things out for myself. At school the halls were dark, like the sky. Our cheap district refused to use electricity, so the halls were lit by skylights. It wasn’t raining, but water dripped from the ceiling. A trash can was supposed to be catching the drips, but some smart-ass kid had kicked it over. For what? Was it really that funny to watch empty soda cans fly down the hallway? Apparently it was; another trash can lay dead in the adjoining hall. As usual, my

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