Updated: Feb 26
Brookes sat on his bed; face flushed with embarrassment. How had it come to this? He knew deep down exactly how but fought his conscience, not wanting to give in and accept the full responsibility for his current situation. Brookes rocked back and forth in his bed, racking his brain for any excuse, any loophole that could shift the blame from himself. His mind raced through every math-related interaction he could remember. Until he found the stroke of genius he was searching for. Shame crept into his thoughts, but the need to maintain innocence pushed it away. It was time to find his mom to see if he could talk his way out of this one.
“And you just remembered your teacher said this?” It felt like his mom was interrogating him. Brookes flexed every sore muscle in his body to keep from visibly trembling. That stupid voice in his head begged him to stop with this charade. He quickly rationalized that this wasn’t a lie…more of a half-truth. That was easier to swallow. After all, his teacher did really tell him that he didn’t think Brookes could handle the commitment of Varsity hockey. Though he didn’t necessarily say he bet Brookes would fail because he wasn’t smart enough. But he was in too deep now. He could see the focus of his mom’s anger slowly shift away from him. But what would she do with this new information? She stood up, pulled him in close, then sent him to bed. Brookes watched her face closely as he went up the stairs; he had a sneaking suspicion he may have just made things worse…
Once again, Brookes woke up feeling groggy and unprepared for the day. It took less than a second for the gravity of his situation to sink onto his shoulders. Matters only deteriorated at breakfast when his mom told him she would be talking to his principal this afternoon. His own silence sickened him, but Brookes couldn’t bring himself to confess that what he had said the night before wasn’t entirely true. He didn’t feel hungry as he stared at the bagel in front of him. Not only was he dreading math today, but he also had two quizzes in other subjects. Brookes hadn’t minded school much before, but as he forced down a bite, he wished he could do something; anything to avoid classes today.
Jessie’s wide grin and frantic waving took his mind off his miserable life as Brookes made his way to her seat in the back. All he really wanted to do was put in his headphones and try to forget his current predicament. However, he knew all too well that Jessie was not one to allow him alone time, especially when she had something to share. And by the looks of her uncontrolled squirming, she had something extraordinary to say. “Holy moly Brookes, can you walk any slower?!” If she noticed his bleak demeanor, she didn’t let on and plowed ahead. “Did you hear about the snowstorm coming? They’re calling it a Snowpocalypse on the news!” As Jessie went on and on about how this could be the biggest storm of their lives, Brookes could only hope that it would hit before math at the end of his day. He didn’t think he could look his teacher in the eye after what he told his mom last night.
As Brookes handed in the first quiz of the day, he glanced outside. He could see snowflakes falling from the sky. Turning back toward his seat, he saw the excited faces of his classmates staring out the window. Excited for reasons other than his own, Brookes thought. By lunchtime, there was a tangible buzz working its way through the hallways. Snow was building up at a wonderfully alarming rate, and by the look of his teachers’ faces, there might just be a shot they would send the students home early. Just as Brookes sat down at a cafeteria table, the intercom crackled. Everyone, including the lunch staff, turned expectantly to listen... “Will Brookes Mayfield please come to the principal’s office. Brookes Mayfield to the principal’s office. Thank you.”