The Room Where it Happens

Submitted into Contest #49 in response to: Write a story that takes place in a waiting room.... view prompt



Oh great. 

This is my 2nd time that I’ve been sent to the principal's office today, and it’s only eleven o’clock! 

Okay, to be honest, it wasn’t me. I mean, Chris was passing the note to me! It was in plain sight!

I sigh.

“Matthew, principal's office. Now.” My teacher, Mr. Kinsy says to me.

“Yes sir!” I salute and head out the door.

I walk to the office waiting room. The office is only a few doors down, but it feels like a long way. I walk in.

“Mr. Matthew. Here again?” Ms. Hembrert, the office supervisor, asks me while raising her eyebrows at me. 

“Umm...yes ma’am .” I say. Don’t tell anyone I thought this, but I personally think Ms. Hembrert is creepy. She has dark circles under her eyes and folds of fat all on her body. It’s just weird.

She motions to an empty seat and I sit. The waiting room is full, which is no surprise considering the all rules in this school.

I sigh, and wait.

The room is light blue, with chairs around the walls. On the wall across from me, the Principal's office door is there. Ms. Hembrert keeps an eye on all of us.

The door opens and a crying third grader comes out. He is sobbing, something about my dog eating my homework. He walks out back to his classroom. 

“Next.” A firm, mean voice says.

A second grader walks in and closes the door behind her.

I silently sigh, and wait.

There’s an unspoken rule that there is no talking in the room. I don’t know why, but people think if they talk, they will get in trouble. 

Everybody is bored.

My friend, Derek, is sitting next to me, and he is scribbling something in a notebook. He loves notebooks, so it’s no surprise.

He looks up at me and motions to look at his notebook.

He’s written in it. He says:

U bored?

I respond:


I don’t understand why we have to go to the principal's office all the time! 2 many people come that we don’t get any school done! It’s ridiculous!

I know right! But it’s the rules. Stupid rules.

Yeah, and the waiting room sucks. We literally have nothing to do. We could be learning! Lol

Haha! I know, but we have to do it.

What did you get in trouble for?

Oh. Passing notes. It wasn’t me! I swear! It was being passed to me from Chris and it looked like I was passing it! It’s not fair! You?

I didn’t listen to Ms. Paradi and put too much citric acid in something in science. Not a reason to be sent to the principal’s office, but it made a huge mess.

Haha! You always do that.

Just then, the second grader walks out. It looks like she is crying a little bit.

“Next.” The exasperated voice says from the inside of the room.

Nobody walks in. It’s like everybody is holding their breath.

“NEXT?” She yells out the door.

A scared looking third grader stands up and walks into the room.

We go back to the notebook. Derek has it. He writes and then hands it to me.

Dude, I got scared for a sec! I mean, that lady is scary!

Shut up! If she sees this, we’re dead.

Oh right. It’s not like this is the most protected notebook in my house.

Lol! Ms. Peterson, sneaking to your house, trying to find that one notebook in your hundreds of notebooks!

Haha! Now that would be weird. She would be like a spy, with like that spy music.

Yeah. This notebook is actually more entertaining than anything else in this room!

I know right! The time is passing so much faster!

Mhm! But I still am bored.

I know! But I think I’m next to go into the principal’s office, and you go after me.

Just then, the third grader walks out, sniffling, and the voice, like always, yells out,


Derek looks at me, and he stands up and walks in.

I look around at the group of people around me.

There are about 6 people there. I’m the next person to go, and all of the other people came in when I wasn’t looking. 

I am usually scared, but for some reason I am not as scared right now. I don’t know why.

The door of the office opens and Derek walks out. He looks calm and collected, but I see him shoot a nervous glance back behind him.


I walk in. Ms. Peterson is in there, looking at me. She is tall and thin, and has a scowling expression on her face.

“Here again, Mr. Matthew.” She says, with a tone of dislike.

“Yes ma’am. I was sent because of passing notes, ma’am.” I said, nervously.

“Was it you who wrote the note, then?”

“No ma’am. It was another student who wrote it, ma’am. He was passing it to me.”

Meanwhile, Ms. Peterson was staring at me.

“Are you lying to me, Mr. Matthew?”

“No ma’am.”

“I have a question. Why do you use ma’am so much in your speech?”

“I live with it. My mom is a waitress, so she talks about manners all the time.”

“And what about your dad?” She says,

I look down at my shoes. 

“He passed away a year ago.”

I hated talking about him. Every time, I felt like I was going to cry. I miss him so much.


Ms. Peterson was looking at me with a peculiar expression on her face. 

“I lost my husband 10 years ago. I know what that feels like. Have you gone to the school psychologist?”

“No ma’am. They don’t help.”

“Okay. Well, no punishment.”

I look up.



“Well, thanks.”

“No problem.”

She motions to go out.

“And,” She says, “I’m sorry.”

I look back at her. Her eyes are glistening.

“Thanks.” I say softly.

I walk out of the room. I go back down the hallways, but first go to the bathroom.

I go into a stall, every step feeling like a needle stabbing into my chest.

I feel like I need to cry. It grabs my throat and tears start falling down my face. I never talk about my dad. That was the first time in a year that I’ve talked about him. The pain is still there.

I realize that Ms. Peterson went through this exact pain. Maybe this is why she is what she is now.

After school I go back to her office. I look at her, and I say sorry.

She looks at me, with a wistful expression on her face.

“It’s okay.”

I go home.

July 10, 2020 18:24

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Sarah Freeman
17:18 Jul 24, 2020

This story is really interesting! I mean, first you think it’s about some kid that gets framed for passing notes and hates going to the principal’s office, but then it morphs into this wonderful tale about finding common ground with someone you thought you’d never like! The ending is very dramatic and it gives a certain feel of them understanding each other, finally. Really nice job!!!


Avery G.
18:40 Jul 24, 2020

Thank you Sarah! Exactly! Matthew thinks Ms. Peterson is mean, but there are backstories. Thank you for reading!


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Coco Longstaff
00:31 Feb 07, 2021

Aww so lucky that he doesn’t get into trouble and he gets to relate and talk to the principal! Nice work!


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Marcail Nevaeh
20:34 Dec 02, 2020

I’m just gonna say i love the title for some unknown reason


Avery G.
22:41 Dec 02, 2020

Yup, same here.


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C.j 🤍
03:42 Sep 30, 2020

Awesome story !!! Good job!!!


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02:09 Aug 28, 2020

🤧🤧🤧😭😭 Aww, this is so emotional, (the ending, that is) Quite a turn of events, so sad.🤧🤧🤧🤧 Cheer up Ms.Peterson and Matthew, it'll be alright. Another excellent story Avery! I envy you!


Avery G.
03:02 Aug 28, 2020

Thank you sooo much!! You are so sweet!


23:25 Aug 28, 2020

😊😋🤗 You're welcome!!!


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The Daltons
01:31 Aug 16, 2020

I agree with what Sara Freeman says! Completely! And, also, did you name it "In the Room Where it Happened" after the song (or something like that) in Hamilton?


Avery G.
01:47 Aug 16, 2020

Thanks! Yeah, I did rename it after the song.


The Daltons
02:16 Aug 16, 2020

I thought so.


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Maya Reynolds
20:29 Aug 08, 2020

Aw, this story was so sweet! Great job!


Avery G.
22:03 Aug 08, 2020



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Sunny 🌼
02:47 Jul 28, 2020

This story really pulled a 180, and it worked. I saw this as a kid waiting to meet his doom from the principal, and instead he sympathizes with her. It's sweetly simple. OMG I JUST READ YOUR BIO! I actually read the title because it reminded me of a Hamilton song! I'm so happy rn you don't even know!


Avery G.
02:51 Jul 28, 2020

Yeah I just wanted to have something from Hamilton! The title actually matches the story, (sort of) and I thought it was a great fit! Thank you so much!


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01:11 Jan 10, 2021

I LOVE HAMILTON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! which means that i am obsessed with this title :DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD


Avery G.
02:25 Jan 10, 2021

ME TOOOO YAY!! How are you doing, Brooke?


13:35 Jan 10, 2021

YAY! Good! How are you? We haven't talked in forever!


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