Short Story # 2
“The Back to School Blues”
Instructor: Angus Woodward
July 27, 2004
“No! I am not going!” I yelled down the hall to my mother.
“Oh yes sir you are! Get out of bed and get your clothes on this instant
you are going to miss the bus. You know that the bus always comes early on
the first day of the school year.” She shouted back.
I did not want to go back to school, but before I knew it, I was standing
on the corner waiting for the bus. The bus by the way was five minutes
late, not early; once again, my mother did not know what she was talking
about. I tried to tell my mom that nobody would know if I did not show up
for the first day of school, besides I told her no one would believe what
they were looking at when they saw how much I had changed over the summer,
or at least that’s what I had hoped.
The bus rounded the corner and I could feel my palms begin to sweat.I
usually always look forward to the first day of school, but not this year.
This year I was wishing that this summer would never end, but I guess I did
not wish hard enough. This year I was the first one on the bus route.
“Good Morning!” Exclaimed the bus driver.
“Morning.” I muttered back.
“How was your summer?” She asked.
“It was okay. Nothing out of the ordinary just the same old, same old.”I
replied as I thought to myself; why didn’t she just come out and ask what
she was really thinking…”Good gosh Sarah!You sure did pack on the
pounds! What are you parents feeding you?”
As I walked down the aisle of the bus, I knew this was only the beginning
of the questions about how I had gained so much weight. The empty rows of
seats seemed to fill up so quickly and before I knew the bus had pulled up
to school. It was time to confront my worst fears or I could just crawl
under the bus seats and hide until the bus driver parked the empty bus in
the shopping mall, but what would I do for the entire day. I got off the
bus and got my schedule out of my book bag.Just perfect, I had locker
number 245, which was in the main hall; this meant no matter how hard I
tried to hide everyone would see me.
“Porker!” the crowd of boys yelled at me as I struggled with my locker
combination. I did not need to look up, I knew exactly who it was. It was
Sam Jones, the rest of his little pack had zeroed in on me the first day of
school, and ever since then, they had teased me. I was well aware that I
had put on weight during the summer and I had already been embarrassed to
start my first day of middle school with my newly grown curves and awkward
rolls growing around my belly. I had hoped that no one would notice, but
leave it up to Sam and his newfound popularity to make sure that everyone
who mattered noticed.
Sam was your typical middle school boy. He was shorter than almost all the
girls were and he had soft brown hair fashioned in a low maintenance bowl
cut. You could almost always find him sporting a t-shirt flashing the
expression “BLANK is life, the rest are just details.”You can fill in
that blank with any sport you can imagine because this kid had them all.
Suddenly this year all the girls decided he was the new hottie, they all
fantasized over him, but he did not give them the time of day.This only
made the girls talk about him and doodle his name on their notebooks.Once
all the boys saw the way the girls reacted to Sam, they all could not wait
to be just like him. Every move he made, they all would follow.
After the gang of boys had passed, and I finally got my locker open, I
drudged to math. I could not stand this class more than any other, not
because of the subject, I was actually pretty good at math, but because of
our seating arrangement. You see the first day of school the teacher set
out our places and it just so happened I was placed right next to Sam.
Each day in the class was pure agony. I immediately learned not to answer
questions aloud and certainly not to ask them, because Sam never failed to
harass me about it.
On my way down the very jam-packed hall, I began to feel very weird.
Nothing looked familiar to me; I could not quite place my finger on it.
Everyone was moving this way and that, I felt confused and very out of
place. I was looking all over to my left and right whipping my head back
and forth. People were shouting and pushing their way through the halls
hurrying to class.
“Sarah let us go you’re going to be late!” someone said as they passed, but
it did not even register in my mind. I could not respond. I began to feel
very dizzy and light headed. My stomach was in knots and I felt like I had
no strength to hold myself up. I did not even notice that the halls were
almost bare now. My heart was pounding, everything seemed blurry, and I
was seeing light twinkles around in my peripheral vision.I have never
been so scared in my life. Everything was such a blur.Questions zipped
through my head. Am I dying? What is wrong with me? I began to sob and
dropped to the floor.
Mrs. Morrison, a seventh grade instructor had been walking toward me to
push me on to my next class, but seeing me now she began to run.”Sarah
what’s wrong? What happened? Are you alright?” Her questions just seemed
to blur together and echo in my head. She leaned over to help me up, but I
cringed and arched my back pushing her away.
“Don’t touch me!” I sobbed. “Something is wrong with me but I don’t know
At this point, I was seated on the floor crying hysterically, rocking back
and forth. My entire body was shaky and I was compulsively running my
hands through my hair and fidgeting without any notice. I have no idea how
much time passed as I did this, but it felt like hours.
Finally, I began to calm down enough for Mrs. Morrison to help me to the
school nurse’s office. I was so weak and tired, my legs felt like jelly.
I was still sobbing, but I was no longer in the state of extreme panic and
shock. I was just in a state of complete confusion.
I was sitting on the plastic covered sick bed in the office, leaning my
back against the wall, when the nurse walked in.I had never seen her
before at the school. She was a rather large woman with short tightly
permed hair. As she walked toward me, her inner thighs rubbed together
making a swishing sound from the texture of the white fabric her pants were
“Are you sick Sarah? Mrs. Morrison told me you had an incident in the hall
a little while ago. Are you okay? Can you tell me what happened?”
“I don’t know what happened to me… I…I …I was just walking to class
like normal, and then I…I…um I freaked out I guess.”
“Can you explain to me what you mean by ‘freaked out’?”
I tried my best to explain to her what had happened, but everything had all
happened so fast, it was rather blurry. I felt like I was just rambling
and stumbling over the words to describe the whole incident.I was so
tired and frustrated I began to cry again as I fumbled and reached for
words, but nothing seemed to fit what I was trying to say.I thought the
nurse would get tired of this nonsense and send me back to class, but she
just sat there and listened very carefully as if I was making sense.
Finally I gave up, unsatisfied with my description, but I felt that I was
not getting anywhere.
“Well dear, you can stay in here and rest as long as you like, we already
called your mom at work, but she can’t come get you just yet so you have
got to tough it out. If you feel better in a little while you can go back
to class. Your math teacher has already been told, so if you start feeling
like that again, you just let him know, and he will get you back down here
to see me. How does that sound?”
“Thank you.” was all I could say. I knew there was no way I could bring
myself to go back to my math class today. Because of how I not only felt,
but also because I knew Sam would just run wild with this news.Not only
am I fat, but I am a weirdo now too. Wow, all the new possible nicknames
rushed through my head. No way, I definitely was not going back today.
I hid out the rest of the day in the nurse’s office, resting most of the
time. After school, I retrieved my backpack from outside and waited for
the bus with all the other kids, hoping no one would notice me.I saw my
bus pulling up to the parking lot, “YES!” I thought to myself in a sigh of
relief. However, I had spoken too soon.
“Hey fatty! So, what you fake sick now to get out of class?I know you
were faking it because I saw you right before class, and you sure looked
sick that’s for sure, but being ugly is not a fair enough reason for you to
get to miss math! HAHAHAHA!”
Sam’s evil laugh pierced my ears. I felt the tears fill up my eyes and I
tried to swallow the lump in my throat. I had never let him see me cry
before; I had always been able to hold it back until I got home.Thank
goodness, the bus was there just in time and I climbed on as fast as I
could to get away from that place. I was never before so happy to see the
That night when my mom got home, I had to go back through the painful
events of my first day back to school. It came a little easier this time
because I was much more calm, but never the less I was scared out of my
My mom was very scared of what my “freak out” could have been. Since there
were some very serious physical symptoms, she thought it could be anything
from hypoglycemia to diabetes. She took me to a doctor and I had blood
work done, but they found nothing.
Through out the next few months it seemed as if everything got worse.I
cried and begged my mom every day not to make me go to school.Sometimes
she would actually let me stay home, but most of the time she told me just
to “tough it out.” I started having my “freak outs” right before math at
least once a week, and the doctors still did not have any answers. To make
the situation worse, the rumors began to spread around the school.Every
corner I turned people were laughing and pointing at me.Sam was crueler
than ever. He went out of his way now to make snorting pig noises and yell
hurtful remarks at me when before he only did it when he was forced to be
around me. All my grades dropped because I missed so much school, and when
I was actually there, I could not concentrate on the material that was
Close to the end of the year, the school nurse met up with me again. I had
visited her every time I freaked out there at school and she was always so
compassionate and concerned in how I was feeling.
“Dear, I have contacted your mom and gave her the name of a psychiatrist
that I think might be able to help you. His name is Dr. Braud and he is
very good at what he does. You would really like him and it would be good
for you to have someone you can talk to about everything that you are
experiencing, and he is much more qualified than I am. He might be able to
pinpoint what exactly your little attacks are.” She had grown accustomed
to calling them my “attack” because she thought it was a more gentle term
than “freak out”.
I resisted for a while with both her and my mom because I really did not
want to see a shrink. I fought it but eventually they forced me to come
here to talk to Dr. Braud.
Nevertheless, I am just so thankful that they did. I have not had a panic
attack in four years now, and I eventually learned how to handle Sam’s
painful comments. I forgave him for the way he treated people like me,
because I really do not know anything about Sam, and he could have been
wrestling with something in his life that was painful for him that no one
knew about. But I must admit, I was rather pleased in eighth grade when
bowl cuts went out of style and Sam went right along with it.