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Point of retreat, p.34

  Point of Retreat, p.34

   part  #2 of  Slammed Series

Point of Retreat

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  She’s crying.

  “Lake. Open the door!” I’m really worried now. I know how stubborn she is and if she hurt herself she’s probably trying to hide it. I beat on the door and shake the door knob again.

  It’s quiet. She doesn’t respond. “Lake!” I yell.

  The door knob turns and the door slowly opens. She’s staring down at the floor, crying. “I’m okay,” she says. She wipes at her eyes with a wad of toilet paper. “You really need to quit freaking out, Will.”

  I step into the bathroom and hug her. “Why are you crying?”

  She pulls away from me and shakes her head, then sits down on the seat in front of the bathroom mirror. “It’s stupid,” she says.

  “Are you in pain? Does your head hurt?”

  She shakes her head and wipes at her eyes again. She brings her arm up and pulls the rubber band out of her hair and it falls down over her shoulder. “It’s my hair.”

  Her hair. She’s crying about her damn hair! I breathe a sigh of relief. “It’ll grow back, Lake. It’s okay.” I walk around behind her and pull her hair away from her shoulders to her back. She’s got an area on the back of her head that’s been shaved. It can’t be covered up, because it’s smack dab in the middle of her hair. I run my fingers over it. “I think you would look cute with short hair. Wait ‘till it grows out some more and you can get it cut.”

  She shakes her head. “That’ll take forever. I’m not going anywhere like this. I’m not leaving this house for another month,” she says.

  I know she doesn’t mean it, but I still hate that she’s so upset. “I think it’s beautiful,” I say, running my fingers over her scar. “It’s what saved your life.” I reach around her and open the cabinet doors underneath the sink.

  “What are you doing? You aren’t cutting the rest of my hair off, Will.”

  I reach inside and pull out the black box that contains my hair trimmers. “I’m not cutting your hair,” I say. I plug in the cord and take off the guard and turn it on. I reach behind my head and press it against the back of my hair and make a quick swipe. When I bring it back around, I pull the pieces of my hair out and toss them in the trashcan.

  “There. Now we match,” I say.

  She swings around in her seat. “Will! What the hell? Why’d you just do that?”

  “It’s just hair, Babe.” I smile at her.

  She brings her wad of toilet paper back up to her eyes and turns back around, looking at our reflection in the mirror. She shakes her head and laughs.

  “You look ridiculous,” she says.

  “So do you.”


  Other than going to the doctor yesterday, tonight is Lake’s first time out of the house. After the talent show, Sherry is watching the boys for a few hours so we can have a date. Of course, Lake got upset when I told her about our date. “You never ask me, you always tell me,” she whined. So of course I had to get down on my knee and ask her out. And of course, I’m keeping her in the dark again. She has no clue what I have planned for tonight. No clue.

  Eddie and Gavin are already inside with Sherry and David when we arrive. I let Lake sit next to Eddie and I take the seat next to Sherry. Lake was able to pull her hair back into a ponytail and hide most of her scar. I’m not so lucky.

  “Ummm…Will? Is this some sort of new trend I’m not aware of?” Sherry asks when she sees my hair.

  Lake laughs. “See? You look ridiculous.”

  Sherry leans into me and whispers. “Can you give me a hint as to what Kiersten’s doing tonight?”

  I shrug. “I don’t know what she’s doing. I’m assuming it’s a poem. She didn’t read it to you guys?”

  Sherry and David both shake their heads. “She’s been pretty secretive about it,” David says.

  “So has Caulder,” I say. “And I have no idea what he’s up to. I don’t even think he has a talent.”

  The curtain opens and Principal Brill walks up to the microphone and does her introductions to kick off the evening. With every child that performs, there’s a different parent holding a video camera at the front of the audience. Why didn’t I bring my camera? I’m an idiot. A real parent would have brought a camera. Right when Kiersten is finally called to the stage, Lake reaches inside her purse and pulls out a camera. Of course she does.

  Principal Brill introduces Kiersten, then walks off the stage. Kiersten doesn’t look nervous at all. She really is a miniature version of Eddie. There’s a small sack draped over her wrist with the cast. She lifts her good arm to lower the microphone.

  “I’m doing something tonight called a slam. It’s a type of poetry that I was introduced to this year by a friend of mine. Thank you, Will.”

  I smile.

  Kiersten takes a deep breath and says, “My poem tonight is called ‘Butterfly you.’”

  Lake and I both look at each other. I know she’s thinking the same thing I’m thinking, which is, “Oh, no.”


  What a beautiful word

  What a delicate creature.

  Delicate like the cruel words that flow right out of your mouths

  and the food that flies right out of your hands…

  Does it make you feel better?

  Does it make you feel good ?

  Does picking on a girl make you more of a man?

  Well, I’m standing up for myself

  Like I should have done before

  I’m not putting up with your

  Butterfly anymore.”

  (Kiersten slides the sack off her wrist and opens it, pulling out a handful of hand-made butterflies. She takes the microphone out of the stand and begins walking down the stairs as she continues speaking.)

  “I’d like to extend to others what others have extended to me.”

  (She walks up to Mrs. Brill first and holds out a butterfly)

  “Butterfly you, Mrs. Brill.”

  (Mrs. Brill smiles at her and takes the butterfly out of her hands. Lake laughs out loud and I have to nudge her to get her to be quiet. Kiersten walks around the room, passing out butterflies to several of the students, including the three from the lunchroom.)

  “Butterfly you, Mark.

  Butterfly you, Brendan.

  Butterfly you, Colby.”

  (When she finishes passing out the butterflies, she walks back onto the stage and places the microphone back into the stand.)

  “I have one thing to say to you

  And I’m not referring to the bullies

  Or the ones they pursue.

  I’m referring to those of you that just stand by

  The ones who don’t take up for those of us that cry

  Those of you who just…turn a blind eye.

  After all it’s not you it’s happening to

  You aren’t the one being bullied

  And you aren’t the one being rude

  It isn’t your hand that’s throwing the food

  But…it is your mouth not speaking up

  It is your feet not taking a stand

  It is your arm not lending a hand

  It is your heart

  Not giving a damn.

  So take up for yourself

  Take up for your friends

  I challenge you to be someone

  Who doesn’t give in.

  Don’t give in.

  Don’t let them win.”

  As soon as ‘damn’ comes out of Kiersten’s mouth, Mrs. Brill is marching onto the stage. Luckily, Kiersten finishes her poem and rushes off the stage before Mrs. Brill reaches her. The audience is in shock. Well, most of the audience. Everyone on our row is giving her a standing ovation.

  As Mrs. Brill announces the next performance and we take our seats, Sherry whispers to me, “I didn’t get the whole ‘butterfly’ thing, but the rest of it was so good.”

  “Yeah it was,” I agree. “It was butterflying excellent.”

  Caulder is called onto the stage next. He looks nervous. I’m nervous for him. Lake’s nervou
s, too. I wish I knew what he was doing so I could have given him some advice before he got up there. Lake zooms the camera in and focuses it on Caulder. I take a deep breath, hoping he can get through it without cussing. Mrs. Brill already has her eye on us. Caulder walks to the microphone and introduces his talent.

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