فصل 18

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فصل 18

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  • زمان مطالعه 11 دقیقه
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دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

این فصل را می‌توانید به بهترین شکل و با امکانات عالی در اپلیکیشن «زیبوک» بخوانید

دانلود اپلیکیشن «زیبوک»

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دانلود فایل صوتی

متن انگلیسی فصل


Days 16 and 17

In order to make up for missing Friday, I decide to tell Embryo about Violet. I don’t mention her by name, but I’ve got to say something to someone other than Charlie or Brenda, who don’t do more than ask me if I’ve gotten laid yet or remind me of the ass-kicking Ryan Cross will give me if I ever make a move on her.

First, though, Embryo has to ask me if I’ve tried to hurt myself. We run through this routine every week, and it goes something like this:

Embryo: Have you tried to hurt yourself since I saw you last?

Me: No, sir.

Embryo: Have you thought about hurting yourself?

Me: No, sir.

I’ve learned the hard way that the best thing to do is say nothing about what you’re really thinking. If you say nothing, they’ll assume you’re thinking nothing, only what you let them see.

Embryo: Are you bullshitting me, son?

Me: Would I bullshit you, an authority figure?

Because he still hasn’t acquired a sense of humor, he squints at me and says, “I certainly hope not.”

Then he decides to break routine. “I know about the article in the Bartlett Dirt.”

I actually sit speechless for a few seconds. Finally I say, “You can’t always believe what you read, sir.” It comes out snarky. I decide to drop the sarcasm and try again. Maybe it’s because he’s thrown me. Or maybe it’s because he’s worried and he means well, and he is one of the few adults in my life who pay attention. “Really.” My voice actually cracks, making it clear to both of us that the stupid article bothers me more than I let on.

After this exchange is over, I spend the rest of the time proving to him how much I have to live for. Today is the first day I’ve brought up Violet.

“So there’s this girl. Let’s call her Lizzy.” Elizabeth Meade is head of the macramé club. She’s so nice, I don’t think she’d mind if I borrowed her name in the interest of guarding my privacy. “She and I have gotten to be kind of friendly, and that’s making me very, very happy. Like stupidly happy. Like so-happy-my-friends-can’t-stand-to-be-around-me happy.”

He is studying me as if trying to figure out my angle. I go on about Lizzy and how happy we are, and how all I want to do is spend my days being happy about how happy I am, which is actually true, but finally he says, “Enough. I get it. Is this ‘Lizzy’ the girl from the paper?” He makes air quotes around her name. “The one who saved you from jumping off the ledge?”

“Possibly.” I wonder if he’d believe me if I told him it was the other way around.

“Just be careful.”

No, no, no, Embryo, I want to say. You, of all people, should know better than to say something like this when someone is so happy. “Just be careful” implies that there’s an end to it all, maybe in an hour, maybe in three years, but an end just the same. Would it kill him to be, like, I’m really glad for you, Theodore. Congratulations on finding someone who makes you feel so good?

“You know, you could just say congratulations and stop there.”

“Congratulations.” But it’s too late. He’s already put it out there and now my brain has grabbed onto “Just be careful” and won’t let go. I try to tell it he might have meant “Just be careful when you have sex. Use a condom,” but instead, because, you know, it’s a brain, and therefore has—is—a mind of its own, it starts thinking of every way in which Violet Markey might break my heart.

I pick at the arm of the chair where someone has sliced it in three places. I wonder who and how as I pick pick pick and try to silence my brain by thinking up Embryo’s epitaph. When this doesn’t work, I make up one for my mother (I was a wife and am still a mother, although don’t ask me where my children are) and my father (The only change I believe in is getting rid of your wife and children and starting over with someone else).

Embryo says, “Let’s talk about the SAT. You got a 2280.” He sounds so surprised and impressed, I want to say, Oh yeah? Screw you, Embryo.

The truth is, I test well. I always have. I say, “Congratulations would be appropriate here as well.”

He charges on ahead as if he hasn’t heard me. “Where are you planning on going to college?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

“Don’t you think it’s time to give some thought to the future?”

I do think about it. Like the fact that I’ll see Violet later today.

“I do think about it,” I say. “I’m thinking about it right now.”

He sighs and closes my file. “I’ll see you Friday. If you need anything, call me.”

Because BHS is a giant school with a giant population of students, I don’t see Violet as often as you might think. The only class we have together is U.S. Geography. I’m in the basement when she’s on the third floor, I’m in the gym when she’s all the way across the school in Orchestra Hall, I’m in the science wing when she’s in Spanish.

On Tuesday, I say to hell with it and meet her outside every one of her classes so I can walk her to the next. This sometimes means running from one end of the building to the other, but it’s worth every step. My legs are long, so I can cover a lot of ground, even if I have to dodge people left and right and sometimes leap over their heads. This is easy to do because they move in slow motion, like a herd of zombies or slugs.

“Hello, all of you!” I shout as I run. “It’s a beautiful day! A perfect day! A day of possibility!” They’re so listless, they barely look up to see me.

The first time I find Violet, she’s walking with her friend Shelby Padgett. The second time, she says, “Finch, again?” It’s hard to tell if she’s happy to see me or embarrassed, or a combination. The third time, she says, “Aren’t you going to be late?”

“What’s the worst they can do?” I grab her hand and drag her bumping along. “Coming through, people! Clear the way!” After seeing her to Russian literature, I jog back down the stairs and down more stairs and through the main hall, where I run directly into Principal Wertz, who wants to know what I think I’m doing out of class, young man, and why I’m running as if the enemy is on my heels.

“Just patrolling, sir. You can’t be too safe these days. I’m sure you’ve read about the security breaches over at Rushville and New Castle. Computer equipment stolen, library books destroyed, money taken from the front office, and all in the light of day, right under their noses.”

I’m making this up, but it’s clear he doesn’t know that. “Get to class,” he tells me. “And don’t let me catch you again. Do I need to remind you you’re on probation?”

“No, sir.” I make a show of walking calmly in the other direction, but when the next bell rings, I take off down the hall and up the stairs like I’m on fire.

The first people I see are Amanda, Roamer, and Ryan, and I make the mistake of accidentally ramming into Roamer, which sends him into Amanda. The contents of her purse go spiraling across the hallway floor, and she starts screaming. Before Ryan and Roamer can beat me to a six-foot-three-inch bloody pulp, I sprint away, putting as much distance between them and me as I can. I’ll pay for this later, but right now I don’t care.

This time Violet is waiting. As I double over, catching my breath, she says, “Why are you doing this?” And I can tell she isn’t happy or embarrassed, she’s pissed.

“Let’s run so you’re not late to class.”

“I’m not running anywhere.”

“I can’t help you then.”

“Oh my God. You are driving me crazy, Finch.”

I lean in, and she backs up into a locker. Her eyes are darting everywhere like she’s terrified someone might see Violet Markey and Theodore Finch together. God forbid Ryan Cross walks by and gets the wrong idea. I wonder what she’d say to him—It’s not what it looks like. Theodore Freak is harassing me. He won’t leave me alone.

“Glad I can return the favor.” Now I’m pissed. I rest one hand against the locker behind her. “You know, you’re a lot friendlier when we’re by ourselves and no one’s around to see us together.”

“Maybe if you didn’t run through the halls and shout at everyone. I can’t tell if you do all this because it’s expected or because it’s just the way you are.”

“What do you think?” My mouth is an inch from hers, and I wait for her to slap me or push me away, but then she closes her eyes, and that’s when I know—I’m in.

Okay, I think. Interesting turn of events. But before I can make a move, someone yanks me by the collar and jerks me back. Mr. Kappel, baseball coach, says, “Get to class, Finch. You too.” He nods at Violet. “And that’s detention for the both of you.”

After school, she walks into Mr. Stohler’s room and doesn’t even look at me. Mr. Stohler says, “I guess there really is a first time for everything. We’re honored to have your company, Miss Markey. To what do we owe the pleasure?”

“To him,” she says, nodding in my direction. She takes a seat at the front of the room, as far away from me as she can get.

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