After School

by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator

Here’s a little writing prompt. Would love to hear your thoughts:

It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’ve just gotten home from another ruined day of high school. By ruined, I mean having been told in the lunch line that “Johnny Marzetti”, the name given to a Hamburger Helper wanna be, was replacing pizza as the main entree.

Pizza day was something high school students looked forward to. When you saw “Pizza” on the lunch menu you knew that it was not a day to ditch school or go out for lunch. Pizza was THAT important. And being told at the last-minute that it would not be served was equivalent to telling a child there was no Santa Claus.

After dropping my books onto the kitchen table, I slowly made my way upstairs to my bedroom, a ritual I’ve been following since my scholastic career began.

I sit down at the foot of my bed and untie my sneakers, my white stocking feet now relishing in their new-found freedom. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice the black electric guitar sitting on the stand in the corner. The only thing that has been the outlet for my teenage angst during senior year. The instrument I’ve put so many hours of practice into and one that will eventually lead me to bigger and better things, that being: rock stardom!

It was going to be a few hours before my brother got home from work and invade his half of the bedroom, plenty of time for me to work on guitar scales and the Mel Bay book. But first, there was another matter that needed my attention.

I opened the top drawer of my dresser and shuffled behind pairs of socks and underwear until my fingers felt it, the spiral bound notebook. The secret journal I had been keeping all year, this most important final year of school. The last year of my high school career and my last chance at any kind of romance.

You see, when you’re going to be eighteen and have yet to find any semblance of true love, writing is the only therapy you have. I’ve never so much as gone on a date, let alone kissed a girl, so almost every day since last November, I’ve been writing.

It’s not that I never wanted to find love or anything like that. It just, well, it just never happened for some reason. And the strangest part of all was, I would write about anything and everything that was going on in my world, everything of course, except for the one thing that wasn’t: Love.

My writing ritual was always the same: right after my brother fell asleep and before my own head hit the pillow I would write about my day. Nothing long or drawn out, just something to remind me of what was going on in my life. And the entries would always be the same too: A quick refresher on what was going on with me musically followed by an update on homework assignments, car trouble or some other teenaged obsession.

Certain details of my day I always kept hidden, even to myself. Some things were better left unsaid. But today would be different. Today, aside from the fact that I was going to be writing in broad daylight, was the fact that today’s entry was going to be a doozy. One for the books. So with pen in hand I feverishly began to write:


I’ve gotten close to three hours of guitar practice in yesterday and hope to accomplish the same today. Pit band rehearsal at school seems to be going well. I’m going to master that part of “Leader of The Pack” even if it kills me. Not too much else happening….

There was a pause. Actually, there WAS a lot happening. My hand began to shake and my heart began to beat faster. What I was about to write was going to be something I’ve never written about before. Oh sure, I’ve thought about it many times but never put it down in words. And for a moment, I began to think about the consequences of my actions if my brother were to ever discover the journal and the words that would soon adorn the page.

You see, there are a two unwritten rules every boy follows on his journey to manhood. The first being never, ever keep a diary or a journal. Those things are for girls to draw rainbows on and write down school crushes. Boys should be more concerned about Michael Jordan and Ozzy.

The second, but just as important, never, EVER show your sensitive side. The fact that I was about to break both commandments at once should have raised the red flag for me. I was risking eternal ridicule, but in the end, I knew this was something I had to do:

I’m still after her. Yep, I think just sitting two tables away from her at lunch and moving my chair near her in choir class isn’t enough. Even though I know she looks at me and smiles, there are times when that Bon Jovi lyric comes to me:

If only she would look my way (Hey Hey)
But, “She don’t know me. She don’t see me
She can’t hear me. Heaven help Me!”

Somehow I wish she would notice me. Deep down, I know she’s right for me. In all of my seventeen years I’ve never felt this way before. Maybe time will tell.

2 thoughts on “After School”

  1. as a romantic, i’m hoping she eventually did give you more than a smile, and that girl today is the mother of your daughter.

    as a cynic, which you know i am…i’m expecting she gave her eye and probably a little more to the quarterback or the lead singer in the hot senior band.

    either way, those first pangs we all felt in high school were just a tease to the real thing, but nevertheless, they were so very unforgettable.

    nice way to go jim.


  2. Alright, James….you better ‘fess up about who this is….probably an alto, sitting next to the basses…..I could start running through names here, since you know I know where most everyone sat….you better email me :o)

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