Too Late

By Julie Moreno

* * *

        “Why are you late?” Mr. Valdez looks at me waiting for my answer. I’m standing in front of the classroom with everyone staring.

        Will you like to ask my siblings that? “I woke up late,” I murmur to him. He nods at me and tells me to don’t be late again. I quickly go to my seat at the back corner, hoping to shake off the stares.

        “She’s in this class?” I hear someone whisper as I pass through the aisle. I quickly glance at that person and realize its Henry. The girl next to him, Samantha, starts scolding him to be nice. You can easily tell they are together from the way they act upon each other. At least she’s trying to tame him.

        When I’m in my seat, I look up I saw my friend, May, smile at me. Her smile holds sympathy and worry, which means she most definitely heard him. She is an aisle away from him.

        I send her a half smile and shrug. She playfully glares at me and turns around exposing her dark brown hair in a ponytail. My attention adverts to my AVID teacher who is trying to get the projector working again. There is chatter filling the room but nobody dares to get up from their seats.

        My thoughts go to Henry as I remember his earlier comment. We’ve started this school year two weeks ago and he doesn’t remember me. I’m not surprised he asked if I’m in this class out loud, he always seems to speak his mind. This is one of the reasons why he always gets in trouble and why I’m not so fond of him. Everything has a limit, and Henry always goes beyond that limit. He doesn’t seem to know who he is hurting. I don’t want to judge him too much because I don’t know much about him.

        The bell breaks me away from my thoughts. Is class over that fast? “Sorry guys, I couldn’t get the projector working. We’re going to have to do today’s task on Wednesday,” Mr. Valdez says as everybody withdraws from the classroom. I grab my binder and hold it against my stomach as I exit the classroom.

        When I’m outside, May comes to my side and asks why I was late. “My siblings take longer to get ready than I do,” I reply as we exit the science building. Mr. Valdez has an Earth Science and an AVID class, which is why our AVID class is here.

        She giggles softly but then becomes serious. “Don’t let what Henry said get to you. I’m sure he was just messing around. You know how he is,” she says.

        “Are you talking about how he always speaks his mind? If so, then yes I know how he is,” I calmly reply. I notice we are almost at the spot where we part ways, until we meet again at the end of the day.

        “Just don’t let him take away your sunshine,” May sternly says, trying to hold a straight face. I know she does care, she just can’t take things too seriously. I don’t mind that because I can’t take a serious situation that involves me.

Too late. “I won’t,” I say and send her a smile. She smiles back as she makes a turn to her class. Without looking back, she disappears around the corner.

Lotus Flower, Innisfree Garden, Millbrook, NY

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