By Hasita Kovvuri ’22
Jade took a deep breath as she watched Mr. Kerkon teach her 11th grade class about the Ancient Egyptians. She closed her eyes and imagined him falling flat on his pink, pudgy face.
“Cleopatra was-” His eyes widened as he spectacularly tripped and banged his forehead against Jade’s desk in the front row. She looked down at him smugly, and the class erupted into laughter.
Mr. Kerkon’s face went beet red and he made a groaning noise, trying to pull himself up to his feet. As he stumbled around the front of the classroom, chuckles rippled through the room.
“Are you okay, Mr. Kerkon?” Jade asked, smiling.
“Yes, thank you for asking, Jade,” he responded. Then he looked up. “Why are you… smiling?”
Jade immediately twisted her smile into a grimace. “I’m not smiling, just imagining how much that must have hurt. Ouch.”
Jade knew Mr. Kerkon thought she was the best student to ever set foot in his classroom. He had no idea what she, and everyone else, actually thought about him and his pink face.
After realizing that not everyone was as ‘empathetic’ as Jade, Mr. Twerkon scowled. “Class, stop laughing and get back to work!” He limped back to his desk, breathing hard, and plopped into his chair.
The class was now very confused. Wasn’t Mr. Kerkon in the middle of a lesson a minute ago?
Hannah raised her hand. “Um, Mr. Kerkon? What work?”
Mr. Kerkon looked up, irritated. “What?”
“What work are we supposed to do?”
“Well, uh… um… oh.”
Everyone snickered as Mr. Kerkon waddled back to the front of the class. Jade sighed inwardly and sat through the rest of her uneventful history class.
As Jade walked out of her classroom with her textbooks in tow, she thought about where she was going to go after school. Yesterday was her third day camped out in a dark alley a few blocks behind the Empire State building. The trash company would come by today, so she couldn’t be there anymore. Maybe she could move to the–
Suddenly, someone rushed by Jade and knocked her books out of her arms. Jade’s green eyes widened and she stared at the offender who didn’t care to say sorry as he rushed to the main door. He turned around a bit before opening it, and widened his eyes at the mess he made before running hastily out the door.
Jade scoffed indignantly and glared at the students watching the scene from their lockers. They whipped around and pretended not to notice her. She shoved her books in her locker, slammed the door shut, and stalked to the main door. After making sure no adult was watching, she walked onto the pavement in front of the dirty brick school building. Where was that jerk? Jade squinted and noticed him running into the middle of the busy New York streets, where cars began honking sporadically. He had a terrified expression on his face.
Jade closed her eyes, and imagined him safely back on her side of the sidewalk. She waited for 3 seconds, and when she opened her eyes, he was there. His face had changed from scared to confused, and he was looking at Jade inquisitively. Jade put her “you’re-gonna-be-sorry-you-messed-with-me” face on, and walked over to him.
“Where do you think you’re going?! You didn’t even turn around and say sorry, much less help me,” she glared.
The boy opened his mouth, then his grey eyes widened and he started to choke on something. It was Jade’s turn to look confused. Was he okay? He ran his hand through his dark hair, as if frustrated about something. He didn’t look like there was physically something in his throat, just as if he couldn’t talk. It was almost like he was choking on air.
Jade’s expression slipped a bit. “Umm.. are you okay?”
The boy started to speak. “I…my voice…hnngh,” he wheezed. He sounded so hoarse that she shuddered thinking of how dry his throat must have been. The boy’s eyes widened almost imperceptibly, but after years of surviving by perceiving the imperceivable, Jade saw it. “Wa..ter..?” he said.
Jade’s eyes narrowed suspiciously, knowing that something was up. However, she didn’t see a reason not to give him water, so she nodded. “Wait here, I’ll grab my water bottle. Don’t run into the streets, you idiot, you’re gonna get killed.” As she turned, she saw the boy studying her, as if he was trying to figure something out.
Jade walked in the doors of the school and grabbed her water from her locker. Thank goodness her locker was right near the entrance. She absentmindedly fiddled with her water bottle as she walked back to the doors.
Jade looked up and stopped in her tracks. The boy was gone.