I could hear the gasps as I screamed those words. Lorelai dropped the journal and took a step back. Her bouncy red hair slipped out of her pony tail holder as she held that bewildered expression on her face. I bent down and picked up my poetry journal, my hands shaking.
“Adora, make sure others know who you truly are. If you hide in your shell forever, you may never see the sunlight.” Mother’s words always sunk in like that. I wonder if now she would be proud of me. For coming out of my shell.
The office staff arrived in the room, their faces stone.
“Which ones?" The principal asked.
“Those two.” Mrs. Whilby pointed at me and Lorelai.
Principal Marie looked shocked.
“Adora? You are so quiet and innocent, I couldn’t begin to imagine-”
“Then imagine.” I said.
Her eyes widened.
“Oh yeah she talks now,” Lorelai added, disgust crawling up her face.
I looked down at the floor as the two of us followed Principal Marie out of our classroom. The walk to the hallway was silent, but I could hear Lorelai’s stupid little heeled sandals pounding on the floor with every step. I felt the urge to bend down and tear the heels off of them, so she could walk like a human, but I bet I was in enough trouble as is. What happened to me, I thought. I hadn’t spoken since Mother died and I just did. Angry too. I feel a lot of things, but I don’t know if anger has ever been one. I clutched the journal in my hand, making sure I could feel its presence. She read it. She read it. I might as well die now. I put my soul into that book and the fact that it was exposed so easily… terrifying. I felt my eyes well up with tears and I stopped in my tracks.
“What the heck,” I could hear Lorelai mutter, as she started to strut past me, the office only a couple hundred yards away.
I could smell it. The disinfectant.
It reminded me of the moments after the crash. I rushed into the hospital, into Mother’s room. I could smell the disinfectant, the general hospital smell, burning at my nostrils. I cringed back only to open my eyes and see her lifeless body. I remember screaming, and the heart monitor silent. But, most of all remember the smell.
I stood still in the hallway, letting the smell sink in. It was coming from the principal’s office, but I’ve never been there. I would never know the amount of cleaning crap they used. Lorelai started walking backwards towards me.
“Are you really that scared?” she whispered, “Well ya know what? You messed with the wrong gal so you should be.”
The smell, the pain, the memories, the sorrow.
Lorelai groaned as I sent the sharp slap across her face. She grabbed the collar of my shirt and began to lift me upwards. I kicked her in the stomach and she dropped me to the ground. I could hear Principal Marie bark at us and it wasn’t long before a strong set of hands pulled me away from Lorelai. I shrieked, in disappointment, in agony. Why. Why can’t anything go right? I chucked my book to the ground and spat on it. I was angry. Angry at Lorelai, angry at mom for leaving me, angry at the world for working against me, angry at-
I whipped my head around as soon as I heard the sound of wheels screeching on the tile floor, of that elderly voice, that was searching desperately for comfort. Grandpa.
“Let’s go home,” he said.
The set of strong arms dropped me and I just got a glance at whom the arms belonged to. Ah, the janitor. Grandpa rolled closer and held out an arm to me. I gently placed my hand on top of him and he held me there for a brief moment before signaling for me to roll him out of the building. I did so with a sigh, and turned my head back to look at Lorelai. Tears streamed down her face, an unstoppable river. Confused, I stood there for a second, but I knew I didn’t have time to dawdle. I put my head down and pushed Grandpa out of the school.
“Why, my dear Adora, why?” He asked.
“I-I dunno,” I responded with my voice meek.
Grandpa quickly put his hands on the wheels, causing the chair a sudden stop.
“Your voice is beautiful,” Grandpa said.
I gave a small smile as he removed his hands from the chair, and once again started to push him. We reached the parking lot, but there was no cab this time. He must want to talk, I thought. We only lived a few blocks away, so it didn’t bother me. I hated the feeling of the chair bumping with every sidewalk crack and I winced every time a car passed. I still felt broken, but I came out of my shell. After all this time. I smiled...Mom would be proud of me. I just know it.
“Adora, let’s take a quick stop,” Grandpa suggested.
He motioned towards the ice cream shop up ahead and I started wheeling him there. But then I saw a flash of bouncy red curls. Lorelai? I thought. Guess she’s just getting ice cream. I wanted to avoid her until I looked a little bit closer. Beside her was a woman, younger than Grandpa, probably in her mid 30’s. She had flaming hair like Lorelai’s but it was in softer curls at her shoulders. Must be her mom. But, the best part about all of this, seeing her mom, was how she walked. Well she didn’t walk at all. That explained it. The look on Lorelai’s face when she saw my Grandpa, the tears running down her face. The way she turned back and looked at me, acknowledging my presence. Her mom was in a wheelchair.