By Elizabeth Aritonang
I am carelessly flipping through my math notebook, the equations and linear graphs a jumble in my mind.
Man, fuck this! Why am I doing this nonsense when I could be off with Natasha somewhere? We could be eating McGriddles and talking about the complexities of life. Now there’s something worth learning. Not this daily dose of bullshit. I’m never going to make it anywhere in life anyway. Why do I even come to school?
The bell rings and Mr. Ford stops me. I stand awkwardly in the doorway. He tries to give me a pep talk.
“Asshole,” I whisper to myself. I glare at him thinking, your sandy hair and blue eyes don’t faze me you bad Chad Michael Murray impersonator.
He pauses, looking at me confused. “Don’t you have any dreams?” He says this in such a way that I feel as if he is insulting me. I turn to stone and my face is burning. Before I know it, tears start to fall.
“I’m sick and tired of all you teachers getting all up in my business about my life. If I want to be a screw up it’s my decision. You don’t know me. I’m a screw up on my own. Nobody cares what my dreams are. So neither should you.”
As the next class pours in, I storm out, leaving Mr. Ford speechless.
I meet Natasha in a dingy stairway. Her bright pink bangs frame her big eyes that are widened with concern. “Lizzy what’s wrong?”
I giggle and say “Nothing.” I suggest that we leave school and get food.
After my encounter with Mr. Ford, I didn’t go back to math class for about a week and a half. I spent those hours taking long walks with Natasha and taking the 7 train to nowhere. We ran from her grandmother who chased her to school and we kept far from the place I lived. We cried under bridges and collected quarters for bagels.
I imagined myself giving a dramatic monologue to my math teacher, “My only dream, Mr. Ford, is to take away Natasha’s pain as well as my own.”
These days when I think of Natasha, she is just a beautiful memory – not a jerking heartache.
When I was thirteen I met this girl with colorful hair named Natasha Jezel Hoyos. We got into the same high school.
When I was fourteen I ran away from school and had plans of running away forever. Unfortunately we ran to Toys r Us, and unfortunately she had suspicious contents in her backpack.
Sitting in that dingy room, I was unhappy. Looking at my face in a clouded car window, I was unhappy. Watching Natasha get high and steal honey buns, I was unhappy. My life needed to change. I went to school, she left me.
When I was sixteen, I applied to 12 schools. I was a junior in high school with a 3.2. Natasha was still a freshmen and she ended up dropping out.
When I was seventeen I got into seven of those schools.
When I was eighteen I wrote about how I killed Natasha.
And I’m never looking back.
Writer Elizabeth Aritonang is a freshman at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is one of the most outstanding students that this college professor has ever had the pleasure to meet.