Finding Hope in Texas
involved? Hope, this can’t go on.”
    “It’s not, Lizzy. I’m about to end it,”
putting the emphasis on the words end it . I stomped to
class. The counselor had told me that I would have to be in Mr.
Peet’s first period for the remainder of the week before she
switched me over to his dual credit class. That’s where I was
headed, to find the little blonde haired cheerleader who wanted to
go after my family.
    Rounding the corner and tracing down the
hall, I saw Mr. Peet standing at his door, a smile on his face.
    “And how is my crack student this morning?”
he grinned.
    “Just dandy,” I acknowledged as I floated by
him. I scanned the room briefly before I saw the shining lock of
hair sitting on the far side.
    “Hope, you okay?” Mr. Peet asked as I went
down the back of the room, but I didn’t answer. I was seeing red
and it wasn’t my hair. It was the little floozy and she was about
to get what she deserved. I rounded the last desk and tapped her on
the shoulder. Her hair flung around and her eyes met mine. For a
second I paused. This wasn’t me. I had never thrown a punch in my
life, but here I was about to give my best jab to some girl that
was out to make my life tougher than it already was. But when I
looked into those eyes, those cold puddles of blue, and saw the
little grin on her face, it was just all too much for me. My right
hand went forward. It was a cheap shot, but no cheaper than the
haymaker she had given me on my second day of school. My knuckles
met her face right between her top lip and nose and her head
flapped back before she fell to the floor, a cascade of blonde
following her.
    I stood over her, but could feel people grab
my arms and hands and pull me back. “If you want to attack me,
that’s fine. But if you ever go after my family again, I’ll
beat the living crap out of you!” I heard a few snivels coming from
the clump of hair on the floor when the teacher interrupted.
    “What is going on here?” Mr. Peet yelled at
the assemblage of people. He noticed Jody on the floor and two guys
holding me back. “Let her go! Kilpatrick! Office! Now!” I gave Mr.
Peet the evil eye, glared back at Jody in time to see a sinister
grin on her face, before storming out of the room. I had punched
like a butterfly and stung like a ladybug.
    Mrs. Tremble was out doing her morning duty
when the secretary told me to sit in her office. My adrenaline was
gone and my anger and frustration carried with it. It had been ten
minutes since the tardy bell sounded and all I could feel was a
chilling bitterness sweep over my body. What was about to happen?
This was where the bad students sat getting ready for their
punishment, not me. I began to breathe deeply, but before I even
noticed, my arms had wrapped around my stomach and I was bent over
crying my heart out. God, what kind of emotional wreck had I
become? Other students must have thought I was a nut, a crazy loon
they had released from some penitentiary. I pulled my hands out in
front of me and couldn’t stop them from shaking. They felt so cold,
so useless. It was beginning to hit me that even with my plug of
her mouth that Jody was winning. She was making me do things that I
would have never done before, making me stoop to her level, and it
felt so horrible to do so.
    “I can’t win. I just can’t win,” I announced
before beginning my sobs again.
    “Actually, with a right jab like that, you
might be able to win at a chick’s boxing match.” It was Mr. Peet’s
voice and I leaned up to see him over my shoulder as he entered the
room taking the seat next to me, handing me a box of tissues. “How
are you doing, slugger?”
    I wiped my tears away as Mrs. Tremble entered
and shut the door behind her.
    “Mr. Peet, leave the Miss Kilpatrick alone.
She has had enough going on this morning without you tormenting
her.” Mr. Peet smiled but didn’t come back with a rebuttal. “Now,
Mr. Peet has said that you walked into his room and, as he put

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