Fifteen Minutes (Revised 12/13/18)

I glance up at the clock perched just behind Ms. Bray's left shoulder. 11:35, fifteen minutes till class lets out. Posters of the human skeleton and muscular system take center stage on the wall to my left while the windows to my right are edged in diagrams of the reproductive system and STD warnings. My foot starts bouncing under the desk that’s too small for my mile-long legs. I sneak my phone out of the front pouch of my oversized Jackson High hoodie and peek at the screen as it lights up. 11:35 stares back at me from the digital screen before ticking to 11:36. Fourteen minutes. Fourteen minutes before I can plug my headphones in and shut out the world.

"Mr. Williams!"

“Wha?" l jerk up from my phone, fumbling to get it back into my pocket.

"I see that phone one more time and I'm confiscating it." Ms. Bray warns.

"No phone here ma'am," I say lifting my hands as if I were under arrest. A couple snickers leak from my fellow inmates and a grin tugs my lips up into what I'm sure looks like an arrogant smirk to our uptight health and science teacher.


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Fifteen Minutes

I glance up at the clock perched just behind Ms. Bray's left shoulder. 11:35, fifteen minutes till class lets out. Posters of the human skeleton and muscular system take center stage on the wall to my left while the windows to my right are edged in diagrams of the reproductive system and STD warnings. My foot starts bouncing under the desk that’s too small for my mile-long legs. I sneak my phone out of the front pouch of my oversized Jackson High hoodie and peek at the screen as it lights up. 11:35 stares back at me from the digital screen before ticking to 11:36. Fourteen minutes. Fourteen minutes before I can plug my headphones in and shut out the world.

"Mr. Williams!"

“Yes!" l jerk up from my phone, fumbling to get it back onto my packet.

"I see that phone one more to me and I'm confiscating it," Ms. Bray warns.

"No phone here ma'am," I say lifting my hands as if I were under arrest.

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It’s a green house in balmy Florida. The paint is old and chipping and the color makes it fade into its surroundings. Odd for a building that stands to strikingly in my memory. The floors are real wood and in some places nails protrude from the floor boards, waiting hungrily to impale the next unlucky foot to pass by. I knew where all those hungry nails were and how to avoid their reach.


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At a Snail's Pace

Have you ever wanted time to speed up only to find it doing the opposite? Like when you really need to get to work or class, but traffic is horrible and time just seems to drag on, while at the same time passing normally? Or when you just want to go home and unload the groceries so that you can sit on the couch and veg out, but you’re stuck in the checkout line? Well, today, right now that’s me.

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Todays the last day of our annual family reunion weekend. Everyone comes; Aunt Janey and Uncle Bob from Fairhope, Alabama; Cousins Willa and Geena from San Fran; the Grans from Long Boat Key; etc. All 75+ of us spend time catching up, barbuquein’ and pot luckin’, football at the park and ice cream at the beach. But my favorite moment of all is this moment right here. The Picture moment.

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I feel frozen by those icy blue eyes. My limbs have all gone cold and I’m encased in a iceberg named Fear floating in a silent ocean named Shock.

“Lina?” someone’s calling for me but my lips are sealed shut, never to open again.

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Pink Tutu

I’m at the park sitting on a bench next to the playground watching Kisa, my little sister, having fun with the other kids. After punching the daylights out of Patrick Steelston, our history teacher, Mr. Berk, dragged me to the principal’s office – where I was soundly reprimanded and suspended for a week.

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