The View From Who I Was

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Authors: Heather Sappenfield
Tags: YA), Young Adult Fiction, Young Adult, Native American, teen, teen fiction, ya fiction, teen novel
up their parents and sent them back home.
    â€œServes them right,” Ash would say, but we understood that sense of no family, of scrambling for footing in air. Even so, I hate to admit we’d felt superior to them. Now they saw Corpse walk in and swarmed together, whispering Spanish.
    We climbed the stairs to the first hall of lockers, the slamming and buzz of voices yanking us back to just before we’d died. Corpse lifted her chin to hide that she was gulping air. Gabe squeezed her hand, but she didn’t look at him, just squeezed it back.
    We moved in a buffer of silence, and Corpse imagined smoke rising off her from the burning gazes. A couple people said, “Hey, Tunes,” but everyone else was mute. Tanesha’s friends, who ever since we’d started dating Gabe had sent bitch barking at our heels, studied Corpse with calculating eyes. As we turned the corner toward the Student Union, I understood that every look, no matter its skin’s hue, held fear. This brand of fear could care less about prejudice.
    We passed the Student Union’s tables and chairs, where Mr. Handler stood, mug of coffee in hand.
    â€œOona,” he announced. “Welcome back!” His kind face just about killed us. Eyes at tables looked up.
    â€œThanks,” Corpse said, not like thank you but like thanks a lot.
    He knew what he’d done, and he chuckled. Like I said, he was smart as a fox.
    Ash had the locker beside ours, and she was there, banging books from her backpack into it.
    â€œHey, Ash,” Corpse said and spun her lock’s dial. I drifted to the breath-crowded ceiling. Risk getting touched again? No way.
    Ash assessed Corpse. “Coming to the Student Union?”
    â€œI’m sorry. I can’t do that anymore,” Corpse said.
    Their eyes had a conversation:
    Ash: “You’re serious?”
    Corpse: “I’ve always hated it. I just did it for you.”
    Ash: “Duh.”
    Corpse: “I’m not trying to be mean.”
    Ash: “Well, you are.”
    Corpse: “Still not going.”
    Ash: “Go to hell!”
    Ash slammed her locker and stalked off. Gabe put his hand on Corpse’s back.
    Taped inside our locker door was our schedule and posters of two soccer players: Lionel Messi and Alex Morgan. Corpse studied them like she was seeing them for the first time. Everything seemed foreign.
    â€œYou okay?” Gabe said.
    â€œ Chingado! ” Manny yelled from across the hall. Gabe waved to him.
    â€œCome on,” he said, “let’s get you to Bio.”
    Tanesha shot us a vicious look from her locker down the hall. Her mouth resembled a wound as she spoke, and the girls around her turned and looked at Corpse and laughed.
    Corpse pulled out her textbook and folder and she and Gabe started back toward AP Bio. Our English class with Ms. Summers was AP too. Last year, we’d taken AP Physics and AP History.
    â€œGabe.” Corpse halted. “I can do this. Your class is right here.”
    â€œThat’s okay,” he said.
    Corpse didn’t budge. “No. I need to do this alone.”
    His head tilted toward her and he almost smiled. “All right.” He slid his hand behind her neck and kissed her forehead. “Be strong.”
    Everywhere: eyes. Judging Corpse’s face, her missing fingers, her limp. As Corpse crossed the Student Union, Ash held court at her usual table near a bank of windows framing Crystal Creek. Two girls flanked her, and popular guys lounged around the rest of the table. One of them leaned on the table and flicked a little triangle of folded paper with his middle finger at a guy who held up his fingers in the shape of a goalpost.
    We’d sat right there day after day, in that glazed place, as Ash flirted and schemed and ordered us around. Had we ever been like her? We searched for but could not find a memory of Ash that didn’t look through that glaze, and it was weird, seeing

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