Segment 4: The Man in the Truck
Contributor
Written by
Tracy Elizabeth
July 2011
Contributor
Written by
Tracy Elizabeth
July 2011
The next day at school I had my head down listening to my half balding blond French teacher talking about linguistics and then later on verb conjugations along with sentence-verb agreements by drawing examples for formal and informal ones on the board. My eyes were puffy again from staying up late and my CBGB’s shirt I’d bought off of an old guy at the bar around the corner felt sweaty, heavy humid from having slept in it with the window open letting out all the cold air. My eyeliner had run under my eyes when I’d wiped them one or more times to wake myself up and to stay alert so as I passed myself in the diamond wire rimmed glass reflection of my next math teacher’s wooden door I appeared doped up sedate, comatosed. I repulled the strands of knotted hair into a better ponytail and I straightened myself up and moved towards the back of the room hot and heavy from the humid air coming in through these airless classrooms and their open attic slit windows on this third floor. I didn’t manage to wash my clothes everyday because I got too into my books sometimes too much so to come out of my room. I’d tossed my piles of jeans, t-shirts, and underwear in the corner behind the plant that the previous owner had left so I appeared worn making a habit of sniffing the insides of my shirts when no one else was looking to check out what other people’s first impressions would be. There was a notebook under this desk that had been flattened by a desk falling on it so that the binder was ripped at the top, the plastic peeling over it was lavender and the person on the front of it had drawn several eyes until they’d gotten the middle one to look more like an actual one and I ran my chipped black finger nails over the cover. I flipped inside it to find papers half out of their metal binder clasps, some holding on by the end at the third hole with notes jotted on the sides, some necessary, others thoughts about if there were dirty notes under the pile of teacher’s paper on his desk, how many numbers of female students he kept hidden inside his desk drawer, or from why they wrote their cursive all slanted on their boards. In the pocket at the front was a paper with an address and a phone number ripped at the last two numbers, some sheets of paper, and a piece of blue construction paper made of plastic matte, shiny, that I thought maybe they’d gotten from the art class on the second floor. I held the whole binder up to my nose and found myself biting on the tip of it when I got nervous looking around the room watching everyone scribbling fast on a sheet of notebook paper, glanced at the blackboard to see something (I had glasses and I needed them right now, I was so far back in the room) that was an immediate assignment and realized I’d gotten off task. The teacher eyed me and made his way walking down the left aisle between the desks walking to the back where I was still holding the binder up to my lips and biting it and he said to me, “Do you know what you are supposed to be doing?” He had on glasses and he was bald and he was holding his hands behind his back. “Um I must’ve gotten off task, sir. Can you remind me?” “Is that your notebook? With the cursing on the back?” “?” I looked at him wondering what he was talking about. I looked down on the back of the binder and there were different F U’s to a girl named Casey Barns, Mr. Tagglia (this guy), Ms. April, and bands (namely Sid Vicious) in lettering that had been double scratched over to make it stand out as razor cutting. I stayed quiet to keep out of the other students staring at me and jumping to conclusions so I kept quiet while they kept writing things on their papers, but in the mean time the teacher had motioned for me to get up and walk outside with him and I kept my head down still with the notebook and he stepped outside writing on a slip of green paper for me to go to the principal’s office right before I gave my case and claimed that this notebook was someone else’s, my name was Virginia. He took the notebook but not before I grabbed the piece of paper with the address that I slipped behind in my jean pocket so that he could flip it open to search for an identity on the inside. I should have protected this person somehow by taking the fall for them and going to the principal’s office then finding them and letting them know what I’d done in exchange for a tag along to their party or something. I could have a made a new friend. But no, my teacher told me to go back inside, read the board first, go back to my seat and finish up whatever assignment I could to get a grade better than a zero, which I did. But I didn’t stop thinking about that notebook. I’d find that person wherever they were, I didn’t know their name, hadn’t looked long enough and hard enough in it to find out, but I’d go to that address today and see what I’d find and see another way about making it up to them. When I left class however I followed slowly behind my teacher as he took up the notebook heading towards the principal’s office on the left. I walked behind him and stopped short of the open doorway bound by a metal door stopper clasp and hid my back against the yellow of the cheap frame till I could tell he was done telling the secretary what he’d found. I walked in just as another girl was complaining that her ride wasn’t here and that she’d swore her mother had called in for her early dismissal to the dentist. When the secretary got up I flipped through the notebook smiling at the girl next to me and walked off with it hurrying down the hall and to the left to my next period class.

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