The dam cracks, crumbles, and everything is released-my anger, my frustration, my half-digested breakfast of toast and milk I was forced to eat this morning. All over the threshold to my fifth-grade classroom. I look back at my classmates, the mess dripping down my chin, meeting their horrified expressions. Every single one of them has forgotten that it’s silent reading and there’s no talking aloud, and if you put your book down you’re in trouble. Even my teacher, usually so stoic and strict, has her mouth slightly open, her eyes full of shock. I turn and race out of the classroom.
I finish throwing up in the bathroom and sink to the floor, leaning my back against the cool stall door. My face is throbbing and not just because I’m sick. It’s suddenly like all the air has been vacuumed out of the bathroom and I can hardly move. The acidic taste of vomit lingers in my mouth, but it’s nothing compared to this tightness, this urge to be anywhere but here, this need to disappear and become a million specks of dust and drift into the air vents and out of the school and far, far away. Their expressions of horror are burned into my brain and I bury my face in my arms, not caring about the mess I leave on my fleece. I should’ve stayed home. I shouldn’t have come to school. I certainly wouldn’t have, if I had a choice. But no, the decision was not up to me, as usual, and so now I’m here, crumpled in a vomit-covered heap on the bathroom floor, longing to become nothing, nobody, to utterly vanish.