Throw back sick day: THE NEXT DAY

Okay so I’m still stupidly sick so I posted this. Impressive for a sick day huh! Lol no, I wrote this about…. 10 or so years ago for school or something I can’t remember. It’s an alternate ending to the book ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ By Jay Asher. If you haven’t read it, you should. 

I tried to match his writing style so every time I read it it’s a little weird to me, but I’m still super happy with how it turned out. 

“Sir?” she repeats. “How soon do you want it to get there?”

I rub my fingers above my left eyebrow, the throbbing had become intense.

If I didn’t send them how long would Tony take before he sent out the tapes? Was there a certain amount of time he would wait if I didn’t send them today? Perhaps he’d think that I just simply couldn’t send them right now.

“Sir?” she sounds annoyed now because I’ve been standing her for three minutes without answering her; I let my back pack slide off my shoulder as I place my hand on the package.

“Never mind.” I say and she rolls her eyes before pushes the box back towards me.

I slide it off the counter pushing it deep into my back pack before swinging it back over my shoulder and pushing the door to post office open. I stood there for a moment before I turn left heading to school. Part of me wanted to turn around, go in the other direction as far way from the building as possible. But it didn’t matter when I returned; eventually I’d have to face the others on the tapes.

Deep behind my left eyebrow, my head is still pounding and the closer I get to school the more I want to collapse. To just fall on the sidewalk and drag myself into the ivy; because if I had to sit there in first period the only pace I could image looking is the middle of the room, one desk to the left.

The empty desk of Hannah Backer; people stare at her desk everyday but today, for me, it would be different than before. So I’ll take my time at my locker or wander through the halls.

I follow the sidewalk along the out edge of the school parking lot across the front lawn and through the double doors of the building. The halls are empty minus a few other students late for school, gathering their books. Every step I take seems to echo.

I reach my locker and rest my forehead on the cool metal; then I slowly turn the combination dial. With my forehead still on the locker I turn my head just enough to see the always-open door to first period.  Right there, outside that door, is where I last saw Hannah Baker Alive.

I close my eyes; how many times did I stand here thinking I would never get a chance with Hannah? I had no idea who she really was. Instead I believe what other people said about her. How many times after the party did I stand here thinking my chances with her were over? Too afraid to talk to her again; and then when she died those chances disappeared.

In the distance comes a familiar voice; one voice that would never sound friendly again.

“I need someone to take this to the front office for me.” It creeps down the hall straight at me. Mr. Porter, number thirteen.

A chair squeaks followed by footsteps leaving his classroom. I slowly open my eyes. My knees feel like they’ll crumble when I see Tony walking out of Mr. Porter’s class.

He doesn’t say anything just keeps his pace, moving closer to me.

Suddenly the box in my backpack feels heavy on my shoulders and I have to look away from him. I knew Tony would send them out if someone broke the rules; but how long could someone keep the tapes secret before that? Would people have completely forgotten about Hannah Baker by time he released them?

He walks up close, but I still don’t look at him. Should tell Tony that I wanted him to send the tapes out? But then I’d have to explain why.

I sighed rubbing my finger over my temple as the all too familiar headache started throbbing again. Why did I want him to release them? Why didn’t I just send them at the post office this morning?

Why: because I was in love with Hannah Baker and now she’s dead; dead because of the people on those tapes. But it was more than that; I didn’t feel that having them listen to the tapes was enough. They needed to be held accountable for their part in her death and not just by Hannah Baker or the others on the tapes, but by everyone.

I step away from my locker and see Tony still making his way down the hall. I didn’t really need him to send the tapes; I wasn’t even sure if I was going to.

I pass the door to Mr. Porter’s room and in one glance take in more than I expected. The empty desk in the center of the room, empty for two weeks and the rest of the year.  People turn toward me. They recognize me, but they don’t see everything. And there’s Mr. Porter, facing away, but starting to turn.

A flood of emotion rushes into me and I quicken my pace continuing down the hallway.  I keep walking, thinking, trying to decide what I was going to do. I find myself thankful that the halls are empty because I don’t think I could deal with any one right now. I keep walking until, before I know it, I’m on the other side of school staring at another set of double doors.

The bell rings signaling the end of first period and I find myself automatically merging with the other students heading to their next class. I take my time, lagging behind students, barely moving. I reach my next class sitting down just as the teacher asked us to pull out our textbooks.

I look down at the bag resting against my leg, the bag currently holding Hannah Baker’s thirteen reasons for killing herself. I pulled the bag close but didn’t bother trying to fish out my textbook. I was sure if I had to look at the box again I wouldn’t be able to make it through the rest of the day.

Second period, and the rest of the day, seem to drag on. Each minute takes an hour to pass. The farther in the day it got and heavier the box seemed to feel. By fifth period I can’t handle it any more, I need to get ride of this box.

I make my way back out the double doors of the main building. I walk on the edge of the school parking lot. My eyes pass over Tony’s truck. And last night replays in the back of my mind as I veer to the sidewalk. I follow it around the ivy heading back towards the post office.

When I walk in I’m greeted by the clerk behind the counter; a different one from this morning.  I pull the box from my back pack holding it in my hands for a moment; I still didn’t know what I planned on doing. I walked over to one of tables pulling a label out of the small metal bin. I make sure it’ll cover the address I had written earlier before peeling off the back and placing it on the front.

I use the pen to write out the new address, a newspaper in the area, and then put the package on the counter in front of the clerk.

“How soon do you want it to get there?” she asks

“It doesn’t matter,” She takes the package and places it on a rubber pad, then punches a sequence in the computer. The amount displays on a small screen and I pull a few bills from my wallet and put them on the counter.

“It should arrive at this address tomorrow,” she says. “Maybe the day after.” Then she drops it in the cart behind her.

“Do you want a receipt?” she asks and I shake my head. The small printer clicks one out anyway. I watch her tear it up and drop it into the trash before leaving not bothering to return to school.

There’s only one post office in town. I wonder if the same clerk helped the other people on the list. Did they keep their receipts as sick souvenirs? Tuck them in underwear draws or pin them up on corkboards as some kind of reminder? I suppose at this point it didn’t really matter whether they did or not.

In a few days, when the tapes go public, they’d have the only reminder they’ll ever need. (1,414 words)


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