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From: No Really, It's Ranger (fr4)

Date: 6/6/16

The school bell's high-pitched skirling announced the end of classes. The front doors exploded open, and the kids poured out like the building was vomiting multi-colored beans. In the midst of the noisy stream, the boy rolled down the front steps and onto the sidewalk. 

Waves, hugs, good-byes, punches in the arm, book bags rocketing into the air, were the first true signs that summer was coming. He participated in the end-of-school ritual with more enthusiasm than he felt. 

The boy waved good-bye to his friends. He inhaled deeply, exhaled slowly. As the air escaped his lungs and his exhilaration diminished, the sky seemed to lower until it was pressing down on the top of his head. He would be crushed flat soon.

The two blocks the boy trudged home telescoped. His house was a tiny dot off in the distance that never grew closer. At this rate, he would be on the sidewalk forever. Maybe that was the idea. Trapped in this space between hell and heaven--fearing one, yearning for the other--perpetually striving but going nowhere, was a test of his determination. 
He doggedly continued, finally arriving at the front door where his mother was setting down bags of groceries. She handed him one of the bags and smiled, but the smile slowly faded.

"What's wrong?"

The boy did not know how to answer this question. There was so much wrong. Where would he begin?

He said, "Nothing."

His mother sighed. "I know that look. Tell me."

He had been given a death sentence. How could he stab her in the heart by telling her? But she was not going to move and the bag she gave him had Popscicles in it. She would wait, let the stuff melt. He sighed heavily, put down the grocery bag then reached into an outside pocket of his book bag.

A folded envelope, his name typed on a sticker with 'Give to your mom' written below trembled in his fingers. She frowned, took out the letter, and read it silently. He could not stand the silence. It had to be broken.

"I don't want to die. Please."

The frown remained on his mother's face when she returned her gaze to him.

"Summer school will not kill you."

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