Three Hours Til Morning

By Bella Orelowitz, age 11
Three Hours Til Morning Bella is going into sixth grade at Anderson PS.334 Middle School. She likes to write fantasy and science fiction. She also likes to draw.

“Nothing can hold in an ocean forever.”

I have three hours until morning. After four hours of studying your brain is mush. After one, you feel alive, after two, the subject is memorized, after three, studying is a habit, a routine. Then it falls apart. In my case, six hours, the words are just symbols in my eyes, just designs on the paper that mean nothing. The letters seem to move, and my eyes search to find anything familiar. A comma to pause the ringing sound in my ears. A period to stop the words, to keep them contained like a thin dam contains an ocean, and I’m the innocent bystander in front of the dam as it cracks. Ready to drown under the current. Nothing can hold in an ocean forever.

I look at the clock. Four in the morning. Well, a bit after that — it doesn’t matter. I hear that horrible voice in the back of my head saying that over and over again. Ever since I came to this horrible school, I’ve been hearing that horrible voice, I’ve been doing that horrible studying — that doesn’t matter. Those words on the page that are eating my brain, don’t matter. Everything is just letters remade and reimagined but at the core still just letters. And those letters are going to rule my life. And I wish that the words would just be quiet for three seconds. I could hear them chattering away in my head.

I stand up. The world swims in darkness for a moment, then it clears and I slam my textbook closed. If I go to sleep now I’ll still get — two and a half hours of sleep. That’s a lot more sleep than other students get. I sit on my bed and stare into the black night outside. Only street lights illuminate the street. Empty, so, so, empty. Not a single person, car, or stray animal on the street. I should feel lucky to have gotten into such a good school. But really all I feel is this pit in my stomach. I lie down and stare at the ceiling.

I don’t feel empty. No, I feel white hot rage that bubbles into my fingertips. It’s not my fault that I’m this shell of a person. It’s the school’s. They stole me, tried to mold me into the picture perfect student that they want to represent the school. Not the person I am now. The kind that feels emotion. Even if the only emotions I have are anger and sadness. It still counts right? It doesn’t matter — No. It does matter. I matter. My feelings matter more than my letters. They matter more than a school. They matter more than how I look to my parents when my report card comes around in a couple months. I stand up and walk to my desk. I open the drawer and fish out the matches that I had smuggled to sneak past my boarding schools harsh rules.

I was what you called a troubled kid. I smoked, I drank, I partied. And then I was sent here and I smoked, drank, and partied until they took away my cigarettes, my liquor, and shut down the parties that I threw. They never found my matches though. I strike one and let the flame illuminate the dark and consume my textbook. Then I open the window and let the splash of cold air hit me. Then I toss it into the alleyway and watch as it burns down to a smoldering mess of paper, and then stare as the fire burns out, along with the feeling in my gut. I throw myself into my bed.

Then I close my eyes and manage to drift to sleep with two hours till morning.

 

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