CHAPTER 1 | My Alarm Went Off

Death, in fact, is what I wished for. But, I will wake up today hoping that is something I never wish for again. 

Beep! Beep! Beep! 

The noise of my alarm grows louder and louder every second I come closer to becoming conscious again. I hate that noise, it brings me back to the ninth grade when I had to get up this early to go to my living hell.

After listening to my alarm for what feels like an eternity, I awake from my sleep, glance at the ceiling, and think. This is it. This is my first year back in public school, but also my last year of school overall.

Why is it my first year back in public school?

Ninth grade.

John Mason.

I get chills just thinking about everything he has done to me. From me getting pushed in the lockers, to me getting a tray of food dumped on me every day– it wasn’t what I planned my first year of highschool to be, but it was. I wanted to get good grades, become friends with a lot of people, but never did I know the people I wanted to become friends with, would be the people who tried to bring me to my death. I thought it would’ve eventually stopped, so I just ignored all of it until around the end of the year when I went into my mom’s medicine cabinet, grabbed a bottle of pills, and tried to swallow them. But, my mom walked in and forced them out of my mouth.

I was scared. Not scared of dying, but scared of what was to come after I swallowed those pills and never woke again. What if there isn’t an afterlife like everyone says? What if I just sat in the dirt to become rotted? Is that what I really wanted? Yes. As long as I got away from him, I would’ve finally been happy.

I finally clear my head of the lingering thoughts and stumble out of bed, which makes a squeaky noise as I arise from it and step onto the cold hardwood floor. Why did I choose to get hardwood instead of carpet? I would choose to get carpet in a heartbeat now.

Should I do this? Should I go back to school or back to bed? I prefer bed, but I can’t. I have to go to school, this is my last year of highschool and I want to spend it in an actual school. I just hope that what happened back in the ninth grade doesn’t happen to me again.

I stumble to the bathroom, almost tripping because I can’t see, and turn on the lights which hurt my eyes because I just woke up. I don’t even know why it’s hurting my eyes, the lights aren’t even bright because I only have one light bulb in since the others burnt out.

I walk to the shower quietly, trying to not wake my mom up who is downstairs, grab the blue shower curtain, yank it to the left of me, find the faucet, and turn it to the left to get warm water. As I’m standing waiting for the water to turn warm, I think about what my main goal is to accomplish this year, and I know exactly what it is.

Valedictorian.

This is a thought that has never ran through my mind until now, but why now? I guess the reason could be that I want to look back at me standing on the stage, reading my speech knowing that I have accomplished something, and I can accomplish even more that I set myself up for.

“Ouch”  I say through gritted teeth as the hot water burns my hand. I grab the faucet, turn it to the right, to make the water less hot, and as the water becomes cooler, I take my red and blue plaid pajama pants off and get into the shower.

This feels good. I’m finally warm. I face the shower head and think about a lot of stuff, such as friendships. I want to make friends, actually a lot of friends that I can trust and count on to be there for me whenever I need them. All I have to do is be myself, but how? I’m a shy, anxious kid who thinks that I get judged for whatever I say to people. I’m hoping that this becomes better this year, and instead of me going to talk to people, people would come and talk to me. I grab my shampoo, put it all in my hair. Grab the body wash and wash my body. I have to smell good for my first day. I rinse everything off of me, reach for the wet slippery faucet, and turn the water off.

I could stay in this warm shower my whole life.

I grab the now wet shower curtain, yank it to the right, and I feel a cold wave of air hit me and I instantly have chills all over my body. I knew I should’ve stayed in the shower. I hurry up,  get out of the shower, and dry myself off as fast as I can. To me, the shower is my happy place, the place where I think endlessly. I feel as if the only way to come up with ideas is if I’m in the shower, or of course in my bed. Who else doesn’t think in their bed? Especially when I’m going to sleep, and my brain won’t turn off.

If only we had an on and off switch, then my sleep would be way better.

I walk over to the mirror, wipe the fog off, and look at myself. I can do this. I can walk in that school and make a ton of friends and just be myself.

I’m lying.

I can’t do this.

I’m scared.

Even though this is my last year of highschool, and I feel like I’m always going to have the fear of getting bullied, of not being able to be myself. But I have to do this– I have to walk into Southside High School and be myself and to not care what anybody thinks. I do care though, I care what everyone thinks. It’s part of being anxious all the time. My anxiety is another part of me that will always be with me and will never leave my side. Not until I find a way to overcome it. I turn the water on from the sink, grab my toothbrush, put some toothpaste on it, and brush my teeth. This toothpaste tastes horrible. Where the hell did my mom get this? The landfill? I spit it all out of my mouth, turn the water off, and wipe my mouth off.

I walk out of the bathroom and run to the closet, almost slipping, so I can get clothes to hopefully get rid of the cold chills that are still on my body.

I really need to stop sleeping with a fan on all night, but if I don’t then I feel like I am laying out by the pool in one hundred degree weather.

My closet is pretty big for someone who barely has any clothes. I’m not poor or anything it’s just that I don’t care if I have the latest and greatest clothes, at least I have something to wear. I look around in my closet to try and find some clothes to wear for my first day. It doesn’t really take long to find a certain type of clothes because all of mine are pretty much the same. Black, Navy blue, and Gray. Three of my favorite colors, especially navy blue. So, I grab the navy blue shirt and a pair of light blue skinny jeans and put them on.

Mmm, I’m finally warm.

Except for my feet. I find a pair of socks which are blue, of course, and get a pair of dark brown shoes and finally feel the warmth from my body heat travel down to my toes.

I stand up, look at the mirror, and look at myself to make sure I look good, and I do. I grab my blue hairbrush, brush my hair to the left side, and play with my brown colored hair a little to make it a messy look. Maybe I should get something other than the color blue next time? I feel like I’m inside a blueberry, which in my opinion are good.

I sit on my bed again and think. I don’t know why I’m scared. What would I be scared of? Me not having any friends? Me getting bullied again? I don’t know, all I know is that I hate feeling this way. Ninth grade has ruined me, all because of one person. I shouldn’t be scared to start my senior year, I should be happy that this is my last year of school overall and after this I will be done. That’s all that matters. Well, atleast it does to me.

I stand up, now feeling confident to start my senior year, and walk to the bedroom door to leave, but turn around and look around my room. I’ve been in this room for two years. This was my school. Not some public place I would show up to every weekday. I’m going to public school now, and the thought of me going makes me want to just lay back in bed and never get out, but I have to do this.  I just have to walk into my new high school and deal with it. It’s my last year of school and I can get over anything that comes my way. I hope.

As I am walking downstairs I think back to the ninth grade when I was bullied.

“Oops.” John said as he purposefully dumps his tray of spaghetti all over me. 

I got up and ran as fast as I could out of the cafeteria into the hallway. Hearing everyone’s laughter in the background all because of a tray being dumped on me. Why didn’t I do anything?  Probably because I can’t. There is no point in trying to stop something that I thought would never end.

I awake from my daze as the noise from every step creaks. I knew this house was old, but not this old. I remember a while back when I was in the shower, and I could smell something burning, I thought it was in the house, so I ran out of the shower, down the steps, and slipped. I didn’t get hurt, but all of that happened all because of someone burning leaves outside, and of course the hardwood steps. My mom and I should really consider getting carpet.

As I enter into the kitchen, I see a picture of my dad on the refrigerator. His name was Dan Coates. Or as everyone else called him Officer Coates. He was amazing for what I remember. He died of cancer when I was 2 years old, and even though I was a baby, I still remember him, but it didn’t affect me because I was still young. It did affect my mom though. Late nights drinking, crying, and staying in bed all day. Now that I look at it I know that she was depressed, but back then I thought it was what adults did. I was young, I didn’t even know there was such a thing as depression. But I do now, since I went through it in the ninth grade. In the picture, my dad is in his police uniform. I wish he was here, for when I was in the ninth grade and for now as I’m about to start my senior year. I want my dad to be there when I walk across the stage at graduation, be there when I get married, and when I have kids. But that won’t happen. He’s not here. And he never will be.

I stop looking at the picture and turn around as my mom walks out of her room, bringing me out of my daze.

“Good morning Jackson, are you ready for your first day?” My mom says still half asleep.

“Yea- just kinda nervous.”

“You’re gonna be nervous, it happens to everyone on their first day. Are you ready?” She says trying to make me feel better, yet her facial expression says it all. She is scared for me.

“Yes. Just let me get my bookbag and I’ll meet you in the car.” I say, rushing to get my book bag. Why am I rushing though? It’s not like I want to hurry up and get to school.

“Okay” My mom says walking out the door to get in the car.

I get my bookbag, go to the refrigerator, grab a banana and water, and head out the door.

It’s so sunny outside and warm, and I feel like it is going to be such a great day. But then again it is a Monday and the first day of school.  So, this could either go good or bad. Mondays are always bad to a lot of people and the first day of school is a start to either a good or bad  year.

I open the door to my mom’s silver Honda Accord, almost dropping my water bottle as I place it in between my forearm and my rib cage. I get in the car, place my water bottle in the cup holder, peel my banana, and start to eat it.

“Did you sleep good last night?” My mom says as she turns the key to start the car.

“Yea.” I say still eating. I actually didn’t sleep that good, but I don’t want her to worry about me. She doesn’t need to try and get me to be homeschooled again, which I’d like to be, but I can’t, I need to do this.

“Okay. I’m glad you did.”

“Yea.” I say wanting to quit talking about this subject, even though it isn’t bad, it’s just boring.

“So, other then your sleeping, what is your goal for this year?” My mom says cautiously.

“Well, I guess I’d like to try and be valedictorian.”

“Wow. That’s never come out of your mouth.” She says astonished. Was that really unexpected? Does she not believe in me? I’m pretty sure she does. Hell, I didn’t even know I wanted to become valedictorian till this morning.

Well duh. I’m only a senior once and you can only be valedictorian for your senior year. “Well, I want to look forward to something this year.”

“Well Jackson, I’m glad that you’ve thought about this and I’ll be here for you every step of the way.” My mom says sounding proud.

“Thanks mom.”

My mom is my parent, but she’s also my bestfriend, and I feel like I can talk to her about anything. I should be able to, it’s only been us two for a while, so I should be able to talk to her about a lot of stuff other then my sleep. I also wish my dad was here too. I would love to be able to talk to him about this stuff. My mom would always tell me how great and overprotective he was as a person. He would always make sure I was safe and in no harm’s way, but shouldn’t every parent think that, I was only 2 years old. But, I’m just happy to know that my dad was a great person.

I look up out of the window and see the sign that reads Southside High School. I can’t believe I’m actually doing this. Who knew that after everything that has happened in the ninth grade I’d be back here doing this again. I hope what used to be my living hell doesn’t repeat itself again.

“We’re here.” My mom says seeming excited by the fact that I am actually doing this.

“Yea. We’re here.” I say not as excited as my mom. Like I’ve been all morning. I’m scared.

“What’s wrong Jackson?” My mom says while she pulls into the school parking lot.

“Nothing, I guess I’m just scared.”

“Listen, you don’t need to be scared. You are a great person and will make a ton of friends. I promise.”

“Thanks mom.” I really needed to hear that.

“I love you Jackson and please try to have a good day.” My mom says as she leans in to hug me.

“I love you too mom.” I say as my head is full of her hair.

I grab the handle of the door, pull it and get out of the car.

I stand in front of the blue and red school and say to myself. “I’m here, This is it.”

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