She was 30

and wore her hair in a plain ponytail

and she taught science

at the only high school in this tiny town.

She didn't even live here;

rather, she lived in a tinier,

more depressing town at the edge of this one.


A girl entered the room.

She was 14

and wore her hair in a plain ponytail

and her science teacher noticed the bags under  her eyes.


Teaching in a tiny town means teaching kids for 4 years.

She was close to the kid, who

went from 14 to 15

and 15 to 16

but somewhere in the middle of that time

the teacher noticed little red lines covering this child's arms

and her heart broke a little.


She should know she didn't let the girl down at all.


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