“Ms. Gail was making goo-goo eyes at Mr. Pinn in the cafeteria. You should have seen how lovey-dovey they were.” Neal gossips to the students crowding around his desk. “No way that there’s a single person in this school that doesn’t know what is going on between the two of them.”
I know what he means, the two teachers have tried to keep their relationship a secret but the students weren’t fooled. The class is a ruckus, each student with their own story of the lovey-dovey teachers. Laughter rings throughout the room. It’s nice, having this kind of atmosphere surrounding me.
“Hey, Gaby. You’re spacing out again. You OK?” My best friend Kat stared at me. I had been spacing out more often than usual today. She must be worried.
I breathed out a sigh. “Yeah fine. Don’t worry, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather today. I’ll feel better once school ends.”
“Yep. School is just so stressful. Hey, your parents are coming back from their second honeymoon tomorrow, right? You have one more day of freedom. Want to do anything special with your awesome best friend?”
“Haha, I’ll think about it. Maybe we can…” The bell sounds, interrupting me.
“Alright class, listen up. Take out your notes from yesterday…” Ms. Kras goes on with her English lesson. I stare at my pencil, twisting it this way and that. I already know what Ms. Kras is talking about so I paid little attention to her lecture. Time seems to flow by slowly.
Halfway through her instructions, a knock sounds on the door. I can tell how irritated she is that something was disturbing her very important lesson on passive voice. Actually most of the school knows that she could get irritated if someone interrupted her lesson. She goes to see who it is with a huff and opened the door to two police officers. Her face quickly looks concerned and they speak in hushed tones.
“Oooooh. Looks like someone’s in trouble. Wonder who they’re here for?” Neal says, unable to keep his snide remark in.
The entire class is whispering now on what the police could be here for. Ms. Kras’ hands go to her mouth as a gasp escaped. The female officer came through the doorway, and asks, “Which of you is Miss Gaby Cox?” Seeing me slightly raise my hand she goes on, “We need to speak with you. It’s about your parents. Please come out to the hallway for a moment.”
Heart racing, I make my way to the door. My friend is right behind me, but stays behind as the officer slightly closes the classroom door.
They walk me down the hall. Not far enough from prying eyes from the classroom but far enough that nothing will be heard. I can see the small window on the door showing a room full of curious students, wondering what was going on. The officers turned to me.
The policewoman gets ready to speak. Her name tack, white against her black uniform, reads Palmer. “Miss Gaby, your parents were coming home early. They were on a train that had derailed halfway to its destination about four hours ago. By the time the emergency team got there… Well… I’m sorry Miss Gaby. Neither of your parents made it.”
I’m not sure what happened next, but my feet couldn’t hold me up anymore. If there hadn’t been a wall behind me, I would have fallen. I slump against the wall. I can’t believe what these people were saying to me. There’s no way that my parents are… There’s no way that I’m…that I’m alone. No…no way. It’s not true. It can’t… can’t… be… true?
“Is there someone you want to call? Miss Gaby?” I can’t answer them.
I hear running footsteps and then warm arms surround me. I shift my head up to find Kat, looking terrified, her arms wrap around me. He holds me tight, like I might run away if she didn’t hold me.
“Gaby, what’s wrong? Gaby?” Her tone sounds concerned, no panicked. And my face felt oddly wet. I raise my hand to my cheek. It touches wet tears. Am I crying? Why?
Wait. What these officers said to me isn’t true. So why am I crying? It’s not…it can’t be true. My breathing feels labored. I can’t take in enough air. It feels like my head is spinning. Why is my chest so tight? Why are my fingers tingling?
“Gaby? Hey, come on. Talk to me. Gaby?” Kat. She’s still holding me. But I can’t breathe. I can’t look at her. I need to fix this. My mind can’t focus. Everything is moving… Everything is moving too quickly.
I can see the door to the classroom is now wide open. Ms. Kras is at her desk, her hands are still clasped around her mouth. My classmates stare back at me, most whispering to each other.
Officer Palmer moves to the doorway, saying something to the class. Her back is turned to me and the only sound I can hear is the swoosh of my blood, pumping through my head, by my heart.
Someone grabs my things, bringing them to the doorway. Neal. He seems shaken. His face devoid of a smile. That isn’t like him. He’s normally smiling and laughing at the jokes he makes. Why’s he look so…conflicted
I want to see my parents. I need to feel their beating hearts. I want their warmth. Right, warmth. Kat is still hugging me. The policeman leans down to her and tells her something. She gasps and tears start to snake their way down her face. Oh, that’s what he told her.
Now Kat is crying. No… If she cries, I’ll cry even more. I don’t want to believe this. I really want this to be a dream. I just want to wake up. I want to wake up with everything being normal.
I bury my head into her shoulders, trying to breath, to not panic. But it’s no use. I’m alone now.