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Trust Issues and Closure

“Are you copying Cara’s notes?”

I rolled my eyes and kept writing. This teacher had been on my last nerve for weeks. It seemed he was always ready to pick on me in class. My classmates would joke about it to me sympathetically at lunch. It was funny at first, but did this guy seriously have nothing better to do than keep me on my toes? Trust me- I already was. Anxiety and depression were drowning me like tidal waves. I turned around and laughed nervously.

“Yes. Except I’m not copying. I made similar notes. I just forgot mine at home. I did the work. I just don’t have them with me. So Cara is lending me hers.” I explained. This was all true. I had got into a fight with my mom that morning and was too engaged to remember my notebook. While she was yelling at me, I was crying, yelling back, and anxiously rushing to the car.

“You know that’s cheating, right?” He said, loudly in front of the entire class.

Everyone awkwardly looked down at their toes, pretending not to be affected by the tension. I looked at him like he was deranged. Normally, I would repeat myself and provide more details. But I didn’t want to make my mom look bad. She and I got into a fight. It distracted me. That’s all. I provided just enough information. If he needed more, he would have asked. Instead, he challenged my integrity. That made me anxious. And angry.

“No. It’s not. I did the work.” (When I rewatch this in my memories, I see myself nearly growling at him. Not the best choice on my part...).

“Please go to the office.”

He said bluntly. I looked at him shocked. While I knew my behavior deserved the sentence of shame, I never actually thought any teacher would SAY it. I thought out the situation quickly. My actions didn’t violate academic integrity. It was an open-note exam, and there were no strict instructions on the source of those notes. His accusation was merely based on his judgment of my moral integrity. Perhaps he thought I had no morals.

It wasn’t an assignment either. And again, I did the notes. It wasn’t like I was taking Cara’s work. I did the work too. This cognitive dissonance still confuses me to this day. In my 14-year-old brain, I had nothing to fear. So I smirked happily.

After all, the office staff had become my best friends this semester. I ate lunch every day with the school counselor, because I couldn’t handle the lunchroom scene. It terrified me. Rather than face it, I avoided it. The relief I felt walking to her already opened door everyday at 12:30 is more than I can put into words.

The way I saw it, he couldn’t win this. The office staff would have my back. They knew I was in a very mentally, emotionally fragile state. One wrong move, and I would be back at the ER cursing the school. Or worse, turning over in my grave wishing the school defamation and closure.

I stood up and slammed my notebook, planner, and iPad on the table in front of me. I started to walk out. Then his annoying, almighty voice started chirping again.

“Abigail, aren’t you going to take the test?”

Oh god forbid, I forget my OPEN-NOTE test. I thought the accusation of cheating was a clear rejection from that test. I turned around slowly for dramatic emphasis. I wanted him to know how done I was with his scene.

I walked back slowly to his desk. He handed me the exam. Then I walked over to my place at the table to get my pencil and notebook.

“Abigail, give me the notebook.”
I clenched my jaw. “I thought this was an open-note exam.”
“They aren’t your notes. So it isn’t an open-note exam for you.”

Dang. As if I didn’t know... I very much believed I was the problem child. And every teacher, student, and staff member made an effort to make sure I understood my occupation: make trouble. Throw a tantrum. Cry randomly and sprint out of the room. Fall asleep in class. Act disinterested. And most importantly, be apathetic to the best of my ability.

I stormed out of the room for the counselor’s office. She would make this all right. If she didn’t, I would be provided with yet another reason to just give in to the darkness and give up.

I knocked on her door. No answer. I knocked again. No answer.

“Abigail, she’s gone today. What do you need?” The nurse pried.

“I need her. I need to talk to her. She needs to talk to my teacher,” I growled.

“Come in my office. I can’t be her, but I certainly can try. What’s the problem?” She asked.