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I never thought it would be possible but there I was. Saturday school detention. Room 36. It’s not at all what I expected; there was much more variety of people than I thought there would be. In my mind, Detention was a place only one type attended. Delinquents.
You know those troubled teens with a negative attitude. The ones who ran around causing problems. Starting fights. Disobeying. The ones who had no clue about life. Lost in a maze. Trapped in a dark tight room.
Disappointment filled me. I would have stood out if my expectations were met. I wanted to stand out. Oh, how I loved attention; it gave me the power to reject it. To have a choice. Sometimes, though, it’s better to lived unnoticed, but now was not a moment.
I sat in the blue room filled with occupied seats. A blonde dressed in all black was curled in a desk at the corner reading her book. The boy on the teacher’s desk with his feet planted on a chair played with the meter. Another guy sat two seats in front of me, drumsticks in his hands. Two girls had isolated themselves and were gossiping in Spanish at a high speed. Working on math, a senior sat by the closed door trying to gain his credits. Including me there were four girls and three boys.
Three minutes before nine, Aaron walked in. As soon as he spotted me he quickly lowered his head. Too late. I already saw his face. The damage. The beating Damian Smith had given him left purple, blue bruises around his face. It could have been worse. It would have been worse. Fortunately for him I was there to stop it all.
It was Thursday. I was on my way to French but there was a huge crowd blocking my way. When I had realized it was a fight, I cleared a path to the center. The first thing I saw was Damian. My sight was then directed to the victim, but I couldn’t see him clearly. Blood ran down his nose and smudged all over his face. Dread took over when I recognized the boy. It was him Aaron Murvihill.
At that moment I hadn’t cared about the past-our past. All I wanted was to end his pain. All I ever wanted was to protect him. Pushing my memories and emotions away, dropping my books, I became someone else and pried Damian off. When he regained his balance, he found a small problem in his way. Me. To get to Aaron, he would have to get through me. Wanting to get past me, Damian furiously tried to push me aside. No can do, I thought as I blocked his punch. He tried to get to Aaron again so I pushed him back with such force he fell on his back.
Being spared a few seconds, I glanced towards my back. Staff Members. Damian, I remember, tried to make a run for it but the vice principal, Mr. Penalozza, caught him. When I turned again I nearly died. Aaron. Two teachers practically had to carry him to the nurse’s office. My knees weakened but I knew it wasn’t over.
Somehow I was able to follow the group leading to the offices. In there I copied the path to the nurse’s office but a hand on my shoulder stopped me. Still in my protective zone, I had twisted the arm until I heard a yelp. Ms. Basanelli. I was so surprised at myself I couldn’t speak or say sorry. Her eyes told me she forgave me. Of course she forgave me. To her, I’m some sort of pathetic child just because I had some counseling with her in fifth grade. Well I don’t think so.
I turned to sit on a chair by the nurse’s office. From there I could see Damian across the room trying not to break anything. Just the sight of him like that made me laugh. I shouldn’t have for once he heard it he lost it. He stormed towards me, clutching his fists, furious. I remember his reaction only made me laugh more. Crazy? I know.
Anyways, he had knocked his chair down when he stood and the vice principal heard him. Thank goodness, for when Mr. Penalozza opened the door from the nurse’s, he was able to catch Damian once again. Ms. Basanelli snapped Damian out of it and ordered him to wait inside the principal’s office.
So there I sat playing with my hair, two adults glaring at me. Troublemaker, they probably thought, but they were wrong. I was the Peacemaker. I had stopped the fight. They didn’t know me. They still don’t know me.
The tension lightened when the nurse informed them that Aaron was conscious and capable of enduring a visit to the principal’s office. He must be fine, I thought, in pain but alive. I was slightly relieved at this but then reminded of out past. I quickly blocked the thoughts.
In the office, I found a small green sofa by the window and settled down. Hearing the doorknob turn, I braced myself for the sight. It wouldn’t have mattered if I had a day to prepare I would’ve still been torn.
Poor Aaron. I couldn’t allow him to see me upset. He shouldn’t know I still obtained feelings for him. If he did he would do anything to get me back but all I do is hurt him. I had to continue pretending I was over him.
Fighting my emotions, I observed. The effects of the incident were probably too much that they had to cover up his face. From my view, the left side of his face was blocked by sticky gauze. The other side was covered by an ice pack he was holding. His dark grey eyes, barely opened, were surrounded by blue and purple gushiness.
Aaron was surprised to see me there. I knew no one had told him what happened during his unconsciousness. He looked around for an explanation but all he got was a “sit.” Mrs. Robinson, the principal, had finally arrived.
I stayed silent for the first few minutes until Damian said Aaron attacked first. That, I had not believed. At first I was annoyed but then I got mad because Aaron just sat there, not speaking up.
“Ask him! Go ahead and ask him. Let’s see if he denies the fact that he started it!” Damian had yelled at me just inches from my face. I stayed still, not backing up, unafraid.
“Aaron?” Not removing my eyes from Damian, I waited for him to prove me right. I fought the anxiety creeping on me caused by his silence. Then I heard it. The answer.
No. It couldn’t be. I must have heard wrong. Breaking the connection with Damian, I turned to check for any hint that I had heard wrong. I found none, but it couldn’t be. Aaron couldn’t have started a fight. No, but there he was just sitting there. He stared at his hands, avoiding any eye contact, avoiding my eye contact.
That wasn’t the same guy I knew. No, not my Aaron. He wouldn’t have hurt anyone on purpose. Hurt, shocked, and unable to breathe I slumped on the sofa clutching my stomach.
Wait. No. Aaron wasn’t supposed to see me upset so I quickly composed myself and sat straight. When I looked up, I had found all eyes on me. Damian with a wide smirk. Mr. Penalozza filled with curiosity. Mrs. Robinson uncaring as always. Ms. Basanelli looked concerned. And Aaron. I could pick out shame, sorrow, and concern right away. Searching deeper I notice longing, regret, and a bit of hope.
Does he know then? Have I blown my cover? Can he see that I’m not over him and never will be? Maybe. Maybe not. My plan can still work. I must continue pretending I had no feelings for him. It was my only choice.
“Why?” Completely composed, I remember asking. I needed to know. I couldn’t have stood not knowing why he had attacked.
At first there was only silence. Not even the principal spoke; she was waiting for an answer also. Silence and more silence. Then he spoke. The words seem to flow easily out of him. I knew he wanted to stop, to shut up, but he couldn’t. I could see it in his face. He didn’t want me to know.
It was because of her, Courtney Wilson. Courtney and Aaron went out in eighth grade for about eight months. Actually it was 3.5 and then later again for about 4. Near the end they were having trouble because of me. Yes, me. Later they broke up because of me.
“He was trying to get further with Courtney. Well that’s what I heard and I’m pretty sure it was true. He was being such a jerk to her. He slapped her because she slapped him… I got so fricken pissed. Seriously when you love someone you don’t do that. All I was thinking when- when I heard this was of making him pay. He had to pay.” After sighing, he whispered the last words. “I just wanted to kill him.”
These words replay in my head now as I sit in detention. I just wanted to kill him. Again, again and again. I shut my eyes tightly trying to block his words out. It doesn’t work. Taking a deep breath, I open my eyes and there he is. He’s sitting diagonal from me, a seat closer to the front. His messy black hair is shorter than I remember it. The familiar gray eyes search my face for any emotion. There’s none so he looks down, giving up. When I sigh, he quickly tilts his head up.
“Thanks… you know for Thursday.” Aaron speaks carefully as he waits for a reaction. I hide any emotion from him, though. He wouldn’t like what I was feeling.
“Whatever,” I say, still blocking any emotion. This hurts him I can tell but I have to make it clear I feel nothing towards him. Turning away from him, I reach for my blue book bag and pull out one of my notebooks. It’s the dark blue one labeled Poems. I open up to a clean page and begin to write but I can’t.
“What do you want?” I look up and Aaron is still there, analyzing every move I make. Probably trying to figure me out, I thought. Well that’s impossible. No one had ever- I mean ever- been able to understand me. No one probably ever will.
“I just-” There’s a thud and the front door falls to the ground. All heads turn to stare at the person stepping inside. Damian. Steadily, he aims his gun around the class. Stunned into silence the teacher sits. The others are frozen, shocked, and instantly afraid.
My eyes stay on Damian as he points the gun at Aaron. Being sure he won’t fire, I catch a glimpse of Aaron. Fear registers only in his eyes but I know him better. It’s not fear for himself. It’s for me. He’s not even looking at Damian. He stares at me. Damian is staring at me. All eyes in the room are on me once again.
Peacemaker, I remind myself. I’m the Peacemaker. I’ve always been the Peacemaker. Always. I shut my eyes and count to ten. Breathe. Be strong. Ready. Eight. Nine. Ten. Open.
Smiling at me, Damian tilts his head. He must know something, I figure, something useful. I search his face and I’m relieved. The pistol will be used. Someone will die, but it’s not going to be Aaron. It’s going to be the Peacemaker. Me.
I died. Damian figured that by killing me he would make Aaron pay for everything. Smart boy. No, I’m not in heaven nor am I in hell. I’m here. On Earth. With Aaron.
Aaron broke. Men don’t cry, they say but he wasn’t a man. He was a boy in love. When the gun was fired, his heart shattered. Nobody got near my dead body until he fell asleep seven hours later. I was gory but he didn’t care. He loved me. Still loves me.
Damian left. That killer just calmly walked out of the room. He’s the perfect example of a delinquent, with the mind of a criminal. They’re trying to find him. The agents. Good luck with that. He’s loaded. Not with bullets. He’s loaded with brains.
Courtney heard. Someone told her and now she knows. Her ex is gone. Her rival is dead. And best of all… that boy is single. I’m alright with it. He needs somebody, anybody. She’s human.
The Peacemaker lied. She does not make peace, if anything she causes trouble, conflict.
Especially within herself. She’s dead but alive. She’s gone but always with him. Neither heaven nor hell I repeat. I’m a ghost. So much for being the Peacemaker.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
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