1. At School
"Oh thank God," my lab partner said after our teacher handed him his old exam. "Got a 70."
I just blinked, wondering how he could actually be impressed with himself. There was an 85 in the corner of my page, but I wasn't happy with it. After all, one of the questions I'd gotten points off from was a question she never went over in class. Unfair.
But a teacher being "unfair" wouldn't be a good enough excuse for having a low GPA on my college applications.
"Don't tell me you're pissed about your grade again?" my lab partner asked, trying not to smirk. We both thought of the other as a joke.
"I skipped lunch today to study for my midterms. I stayed after school for three extra hours yesterday for extracurriculars and was up late all last night finishing a ten-page essay. And now the teacher's going to take off points for something ridiculous," I said. "So yes, I'm pissed."
The bell had rung in the middle of my rant, so I stood and walked toward the teacher. I needed to sort out the whole 5-points-off-from-a-question-she-never-bothered-to-teach-us thing.
I was halfway to her desk when my sight faded to black. First for one second, then for five seconds. I grabbed the closest desk to keep myself steady, but my legs ended up buckling. Then everything went black.
2. At the Hospital
I woke up in a stark white room with my mother staring down at me.
"Oh honey," she said, rubbing the top of my hair with her cold hand. "It's okay. You're going to be okay."
"What time is it?" I asked, before even questioning why I was in a damn hospital. "What day is it?"
"It's almost two. They had to pull you out of class around noon."
"What? No." I tried to lean up, and noticed there was an IV pumping fluids into my arm. "I can't miss last period. It's our midterm. I need to take that test."
"The teacher will let you reschedule. Even is she doesn't, screw her."
My eyes doubled in size. She never talked like that.
"What?" she said. "You're here, because you were dehydrated and overstressed and school should be the last thing on your mind right now."
I let out a string of coughs and then said, "Do you have any idea how important that test is? I'm a junior. This is the year colleges pay the most attention to. That's what you and dad have been saying. You're the ones who have been pushing me to--"
"I didn't realize it was this bad," she mumbled, moving her hand from my forehead to hers. She looked worse than I felt.
"Listen to me," she said. "I should've told you this before. your teachers should've told you this before. Someone should've told you this before." She locked her eyes on mine. "Your mental health is more important than your grades or your job or what college you get into."
"But I need to--"
"Your mental health comes first. I'd rather have you fail out of high school than get another call about you getting driven to a hospital. Do you understand?"
I nodded, even though it was the first time anyone had ever told me that anything was more important than school. School was supposed to be the be-all and end-all.
But a break did sound nice.
** I hope you enjoyed that story, ladies! **