This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2004 by Sincada All rights reserved.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this story or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

Dedication: This story is dedicated to teenagers all over the world who feel like the world is crushing down upon their shoulders. As always, though, this is a story provided to entertain…and whatever mysterious things stories do to people to make them want to read it.

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I hate you, I love you…I wish I never had to see your stupid face…I would die without you…When I think about it, I start to wonder about how these sounds make me feel…the emotion that goes with the sounds, these words. Words mean so much, and I don't know why…I wish I could understand…

"Nei?"

"Huh? Wha?"

My English Two Class bursts into muffled giggles.

"What does Sydney Carton symbolize?"

"Memory."

I need to stop going on these excursions…

The class scoffs at my answer. The girl next to me, I forget her name a lot, looks over to her friends and remarks loudly. "She's such a dork."

"On the contrary, Miss Cross, Nei answered correctly."

The teacher corrects Miss…whatever…and all the guys go on with their "Ohhs" and "You got tolds". The bleached blonde looks over at me, her green eyes checking me over again, and rolls her eyes, flips her hair, and smiles at her newest boy toy across the room. I, simply, sit, remembering that my life could be so much worse. Although, at times, I am vain and completely insist that mine is the worst.

"Miss Koh, could you prove your answer for Miss Cross?"

"Uh, sure." I say, fumbling with my book. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see…Miss Ross, or something…, her arms folded, waiting for me to screw up, so I supposed. "The Jackal, Book Two."

"Very good. Did you hear her, Samantha?"

"Yeah, whatever."

Inside, I smile, as I watch her cross her legs and look away. Someone in the middle of the class whispers hoarsely. "Nerd."

I could feel something in my chest tighten, but I let it go just as quickly. The kids around me laugh, but I don't say anything. It's not like I don't do the same sometimes, right?

That's how the rest of the day went for me. Go to class, answer right, get laughed at for being smart, go to lunch, eat and hang out with people I can't remember the names to, then go to class again. Eight hours of torture. A couple of people I know agree when I say that school is just a prison in disguise. Then again, they aren't really people that I know, just the ones that I can remember more often than not.

I sit in my fourth period class, Team Sports a.k.a. Physical Ed…or P.E. or whatever you want to call it.

Coach…Billings, my P.E. coach, who is also the same man that coaches basketball, has a rough voice that hurts my ears. My class is coed and I sit in the middle of the gym, looking around at all the little groups, and waiting to answer our backward roll.

"Nei Koh."

"Here."

"Tora Jackson."

"Present!"

"Victoria…"

I've got a bike, you can ride if you like. It's got a basket, a bell that rings, and things to make it look good...I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it…You're the kind of…

"Nei!"

"Huh?"

"Go get dressed!"

"Yes, sir!"

I grab my things, and behind his back, I salute him with my left hand shaped in a gun. I see a nickel on the ground and pick it up, shoving it into my hoodie pocket.

I turn the corner three times, and come upon a room of a bunch of girls getting undressed. I pick my same old spot by the end of the bench nearest the door, and get my shorts and long, gray t-shirt out of my bag.

I change into my shirt first, slipping out of my other shirt like daily routine. I start to take off my pants, and wiggle into my shorts. I finish my change, put lotion on my legs, and look at all the other girls wearing sweat pants and long-legged outfits. One of the nicer Mexican girls named…er…Rose...Rosa…walks by me and looks down at me in mid-apply of my raspberry-smelling lotion. "Oh, my God. You're legs are so pretty! Oh, my God, I'd die if I ever got caught wearing shorts."

"Why?" I shake my head, shrugging my shoulders and adding a final swipe to my thigh.

"Uhn. I hate my legs."

"You hate them?"

"Yeah, they're so ugly. I just don't like 'em."

She walks off, leaving me in confusion.

My legs aren't pretty…they've got scars and scratches, and they aren't toned enough for me…

I look down at my legs, smelling the lotion. They're tanned, from being outside, and, from the lotion, shine when the lights above hit them. I take some final looks in the mirror, tying my waving, brown hair back into a ponytail to keep it from flying in my face while doing jumping-jacks.

You know, if I cut my hair…

"Everybody out in the gym!"

All the girls start finishing up their last appliances dispersing in singles, before finally rejoining on the big, hard floor. I end up being the first girl out, and I take my place on the floor, watching the guys jump on each other and the oncoming girls talk about them.

My legs aren't pretty…they're long, and brown, and you can see my muscle bulge if I do this…but…they aren't pretty…I mean, they're legs…you use 'em to walk…I mean, I like the complement and all, but…THEY'RE LEGS…can you really hate your legs…Ugh…I need to stop obsessing over stupid stuff…Legs…nnn…stupid…

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"Stop being so negative with yourself. Sure, you can look at both sides, but if you look at the positive side more often, you'll start to feel better about yourself."

"Yeah…right"

"See."

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