I walked down the hall, for the last time. I cannot believe I just finished my last day of high school! Every nerve tingled, and it was all I could do to not draw attention to myself. Not that any of this crowd would notice. The whole school was buzzing with excitement. It was offically Christmas Break. Then again even if it wasn't break, they probably wouldn't notice me. I hadn't spent much time around the underclassmen this year. There didn't seem to be a point to it since I was leaving at the end of this semester. Which was actually about 5 minutes ago.

I bumped into one of the teachers. "Excuse me." I said absentmindly.

He just scowled. "Kathlene." I wrinkled my nose slightly in reaction to my full name. I hated that name. It took me a second to recognize the cranky old math teacher. He knew I was leaving, in fact he tried to stop the school board from letting me. He felt that 17 was too young to be out on my own.

Then again, if he had his way, he'd lock the entire student body up in two gender segregated rooms until we were 25. I didn't let him bother me. I just smiled and said, "Have a Merry Christmas sir." He just nodded and walked away.

I continued on my way, waving to the one or two sophmores I knew as they called out my name. I had to slow down a little in the junior hallway. The freshmen and sophmores weren't allowed parking spots, so they all had to catch buses, which around here were on strict schedules, so if you didn't get to it in time, you were walking. That made them clear out a little quicker.

The juniors and seniors on the other hand, all had cars. It was something of a necessity in our area, since very few students lived in what could be called the town. Most lived out in the "luxury complexs" out by the lake, or on various farms on the opposite side of town.

I finally got to the senior hallway, and my pace went down to a crawl. Everyone wanted to stop and say bye to me. It was a really weird sensation. I'm not popular. I'm not a beauty or a fem-jock. I don't really fit into any category. The only time I ever got this much attention was when I sang. I wanted to push through the crowd and run to my car, but that would make a scene. So instead I smiled and talked to everyone, keeping it as short as possible. Luckily for me, everyone was ready to go home, and get away from the finals, or I could have been there for hours.

When I finally got past the crowd to my locker, all my friends were gathered around it. They were also blocking the entire hall, but hardly anyone was around to care.

"Hey guys, what's up?" I glanced from them to my locker. They'd decorated it. It was plastered with streamer and ballons. Signs read "Congratulations" and "We'll miss you!" "You guys did this?" I wanted to cry, but I make a point not to so insted I gave them all great big hugs.

"You guys know I'm going to miss you right." I turned back to my locker and opened the lock. "Oh! I almost forgot, I made you guys these. The card has my recipie AND my phone number, email, and address on it. I expect you guys to keep in contact with me." I handed out bags of their favorite cookies. They all claimed that my cookies were the best.

Oatmeal for Mandy
Chocolate Chip for Katie
Triple Chocolate for Selena
And Macadamea for Georgia.

I'd already said goodbye to my guy friends in a less emtional scene earlier that morning. My group of guy friends always baffled the girls. I'm not a fem-jock, but I love to play basketball. During the summer, and into the fall, you can usually find me out at the school's outdoor court in a full court game with all the guys. I one of the few girls that can keep up with them.

Georgia started to cry, but then she cries at everything. Katie, as usual worked to calm her down. Mandy just started babbling. Selena, as always, sat back and observed. There were my best friends. They had been since…I don't even know when, it was so long ago. All five of us were so different, but we were the best of friends. Our own parents considered us sisters. It was no surprise to any of them when we all ended up at one of their house for a sleepover. They'd even revoked the no-school-night-sleepovers rule when we hit high school. We could have stood there for ours but we all had to get home to help with Christmas stuff, so we said our goodbyes. Before she'd let us leave, Mandy made us promise to get together on the 28th for breakfast.

After they left I took the time to clean out my locker. Luckily for me that didn't take long. It was another of those things I didn't waste time on, so I never got around to decorating it. There were a couple of notes I pulled out and saved, mostly silly things.

Once that was finished, I decided to take the time to say goodbye to a couple of teachers. My last stop was the library. I'd spent the last semester working as an assistant there, and somewhere between reorganizing the library and dealing with the weekly middle school literature class trips, the librarian and I became friends of a sort. She was waiting for me.

"Hi Mrs. Jones. Here's that last book. I found it in my locker." The library had a 3 book limit, but Mrs. Jones always overlooked it for me. Well to be fair she overlooked it for any senior doing research too, but she let me do the same for reading books as well. As a result I must have had at least 7 of the school's books. I walked behind the desk, hardly believing that it could be the last time, and went through the familiar process of checking the book back in.

"So how does it feel to have graduated?" Mrs. Jones had her head stuck deeply into a cabinent in the backroom, but I understood her anyway.I could hear her rummaging around for something. I laughed a little as I heard her mutter, "Now where in the heck did I put that? I swear anything I put down grows legs."

"Weird, but a good weird. I can't wait to start next semester. Actual CHALLENGES! And bookstores!" I'd had a serious problem staying interested in the curriculum here, it was all stuff I already knew. That was my main reason for wanting to graduate early. There were only three teachers—four if you count Mrs. Jones, who could keep my interest during classes, and they'd run out of classes for me to take.

Mrs. Jones popped her head out of the cabinet. "Found it!" She handed me a book, "I thought you might like this. I've found it about a month ago, and it seemed like a good idea." I flipped through the book, seeing as there was no title. It was very old fashioned, leatherbound, with gold designed printed on it, but the pages were blank.

"A journal?" I thought about it for a second. It certainly couldn't hurt. If nothing else I could write story ideas in it. "Thats brillant, Mrs. J!" I rarely called her that. Only when she came up with a really cool idea.

"I thought since you want to be a writer, it certainly couldn't hurt. You could write your stories in it, instead of spreading them around in your notebooks." She considered this a deplorable habit. I just smiled, my mom often said the same. It did get annoying sometimes, but I never knew when the idea for a new story would strike me, and it was a pain in the butt to carry arround an extra notebook just for that.

"I'll do that." I glanced at the clock. "Crap, I have to go. You have my email, and I won't forget to write, I promise. Thanks for the present. I'll come back and visit too, just as soon as I have a break.

"Oh, just go" She said. The last thing I heard as I left the library was Mrs. Jones's laugh. It seemed like a good omen.