High School lunch break breaking

by Dieu

I leave English class for lunch break.
Lunch break;
a break from what exactly?
Or is it that lunch breaks do exactly that;
they can and do break people inside
– they break those who sit alone in empty hallways
with empty hearts waiting for the next bell.

My backpack is heavy and my head is light.
Forgot to eat breakfast today.
My locker is at the end of the hallway
near the exit
but I don’t leave.
Walking by a classroom I see a teacher
eating a sandwich alone at his desk.
Why does that make me feel so sad?

Haven’t seen my best friend for awhile.
I hear she’s pregnant and MIA.

No one else is around, so
I eat lunch in the washroom.
Stall #3 has “Jennifer Nicholls is a slut”
scratched on the door.
Funny.
Popular Jennifer.
Jennifer the valedictorian.

I guess there will always be people
who will write on bathroom walls
that you are a slut
even if you are
valedictorian and blonde
and nice.

I see inside my lunch bag sits a note:

“Have a great day,
I love you,
Mom.”

Now, most times these 3 words
don’t mean much.
You hear them all the time that you forget –

You forget that for moments like these,
when you’re eating lunch alone
in a bathroom stall wondering
about how many more days of this
you can stand,
those 3 words can mean a lot.

So I take those words and throughout
the rest of the day
I carry them like
a poor warrior carrying
his shining shield.

And for awhile everything feels okay.

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