Chapter 4 Short Story
As Janet tried to run away from Mark, she tripped over her bag and fell to the ground. Mark grabbed her by the leg and pulled her towards him. Janet tried to kick him without much success. Janet’s tears didn’t faze Mark one bit as he continued to drag her towards him. Janet tried to scream for help but no one could hear her. Mark had already scoped out the situation and knew that Janet would be the last one left in the locker room as she was the student helper for the gym teacher. He had calculated the exact time that she would be alone so that he could confront her about trying to leave him. Janet had stopped returning his phone calls so he had to take drastic measures so that she would listen to him. Mark believed that they were meant to be together and breaking up was not an option. After all he loved her. Yes, he had a problem with keeping his hands off of her but everyone had problems, right? Mark had watched his father hit his mother for years and he had even taken a couple of beatings himself but his mother never left so Janet was not about to leave either. He had made up his mind that if she didn’t come to her senses, he would make sure that he was the last boyfriend she would ever have. When Janet was close enough so that Mark could wrap his hands around her neck, he started to strangle her. As Mark’s grip became tighter, Janet wondered why she hadn’t listened to her father’s advice sooner. Love was supposed to be kind and special—not abusive and painful.
Down the hallway, Hannah was in English class yet she wasn’t able to concentrate on what the teacher was saying. She was too busy thinking about having to go to work at the fast food restaurant after school. Her 17th birthday was just around the corner and her parents came up with the great idea that she should work to obtain a down payment for the car that she wanted. Hannah hated her job but she knew that if she quit, she would have no way of getting around during the summer and she wasn’t about to spend another minute in the house due to lack of transportation. Hannah was in such a daze that she didn’t hear her English teacher ask her a question. As she snapped back into reality after the teacher called her name several times, she felt embarrassed when the class started laughing at her because she didn’t know the answer. It was clear that she wasn’t paying attention as the teacher asked her a simple question. Then one of her classmates decided to take the situation further and that really ticked her off. She felt something wet on the back of her neck. As she began to wipe whatever it was off, she noticed that it was a spitball. Hannah turned around in her seat disgusted as she tried to figure out who would put a piece of paper in their mouth and then throw it on someone. Hannah equated that to someone spitting directly in her face and she was not about to stand for that.
She noticed that Frank and his two best friends were sitting there grinning so she jumped out of her seat to confront them. Hannah didn’t think to tell the teacher when she screamed out, “Which one of you through that spit ball on me?” They started laughing as they asked Hannah what she was talking about. The teacher told Hannah to sit down and stop disturbing the class but she continued on with her interrogation. She said, “Don’t play with me, you know what you did” as she walked over to their desks. Frank said, “Hannah, you better get out of my face. I didn’t do anything to you.” Without giving a second thought to the consequences, Hannah snapped and slapped Frank across his face. In an instant, Frank leaped from his seat and pushed Hannah backwards. Hannah stumbled but quickly recovered and came after Frank to slap him again. But this time Frank was ready for her as he stepped to the side and then grabbed Hannah from behind and put her in a headlock. Frank didn’t realize that he was hurting her nor did he care; after all, she put her hands on him and he didn’t have anything to do with the spitball. It was another student in the classroom—the only thing he was guilty of was laughing and now fighting a girl. The English teacher took what seemed like a long time to get Frank off of Hannah but when she finally broke up the fight she sent Hannah and Frank straight to the principal’s office.
As the phone rang, Mrs. Brown tried hard to ignore it. She shifted her body to the other side of the bed away from the phone. She had just finished working a double shift at the hospital and she was in no mood to talk to anyone—all she wanted was some rest. Relieved that the phone stopped ringing, she drifted back off to sleep but just as she was about to fall into a deep trance, the phone rang once again and this time she couldn’t ignore it because it would stop and then start again. Mrs. Brown fumbled around the night stand to grab the phone with her eyes still closed and almost spilled her glass of water as she finally picked up the cordless. She said quite dryly, “Hello” because she wanted the person on the other end to know that her sleep was being disturbed. “Mrs. Brown,” a person said over the phone, “I am sorry to disturb you but there has been an incident at the school with your daughter Janet. I don’t want to alarm you but you should probably get down here right away.” Mrs. Brown asked, “What happened,” as she rushed to get dressed and to her daughter’s side. The person explained that he didn’t have all of the details yet but he was sure that the principal would explain everything when she got to the school. On the other side of town, Mr. Brown was getting a phone call as well. Mr. Brown was shocked, “He did what!” I’ll be there as soon as I can.
As Mrs. Brown waited at the light once again her patience was running thin. The light had turned green, then yellow, and then red three times already. She said to herself, “This is ridiculous.” She was ready to get to the school and find out what had happened with her child. The light was just about to turn red again when Mrs. Brown decided she was not going to wait any longer so she put the pedal to the metal and ran through the red light. As soon as she went through the light, she almost got hit by a delivery truck. Mrs. Brown was relieved that she did not get hit but she was shaken up by the incident so she had to pull over to the side of the road to regain her composure.
Mr. Brown made it to the school and began to run to the office when he was stopped by security at the main entrance. Mr. Brown was not cooperating with the security guard who was merely doing his job. The guard felt disrespected by Mr. Brown and decided to take his time in giving him the proper clearance to enter the school. Mr. Brown lost his cool after making several attempts to explain to the guard that the principal had requested to see him. Words were exchanged and then within a blink of an eye, Mr. Brown had the guard in a choke hold. The principal had to be called to the main entrance. Mr. Brown was separated from the guard and escorted to the principal’s office. Shaking his head at the turn of events, the principal asked Mr. Brown to sit down and wait while he got his son Frank out of detention. He also made Mr. Brown aware that his wife was on her way to the school as well for another incident. Mr. Brown jumped up and said, “What—did Frank do something else?” Not wanting matters to get any further out of hand, the principal asked him to please sit down and everything would be explained when his wife arrived. As the principal called Frank on the loud speaker to come to the office, he was informed that Mrs. Brown was running a little late because she was slowed by the traffic. The principal called the main entrance and instructed the guard to bring Mrs. Brown directly to his office without any incident and that he would deal with him afterwards.
As Mr. Brown waited for the principal to come back with his son, he was thinking about what he was going to say. He thought to himself that Frank knew better than to put his hands on any female regardless of the circumstances. Now, if he had to defend himself against a guy that was a different story—he better strike first and gain the element of surprise—but a girl—that was definitely off limits. As Frank entered the office, he looked at his father and then stared at the floor. Frank knew that he was wrong for fighting Hannah but she started it and she was the one that put her hands on him first. Mr. Brown was up from his seat and on his son. The short temper that he displayed again made the principal aware that Mr. Brown and his son needed help. The principal suspended Frank for three days and ordered them both to anger management classes as he would later do with Hannah and her parents.
Knowing that Mrs. Brown would be arriving soon, the principal told Frank to go back to detention while he finished his conversation with his father. Shortly afterward, Mrs. Brown arrived at the school and was escorted directly to the office. When she arrived, she was startled to see her husband in the office. She said, “John, what are you doing here? If they called you too then this must be serious. Where is Janet?” Mr. Brown exclaimed, “Janet, I was here because of Frank!” Before Ms. Brown could get another word out, the principal intervened, “Well actually, there have been two incidents today involving both of your children. We thought that it was best that we called you both in about separate kids so that you wouldn’t have an accident getting here. First of all, Mrs. Brown let me get you up to speed about Frank. Frank got into an altercation with Hannah Jones at school today and even though Hannah started it, Frank decided to finish it by placing Hannah in a head lock instead of getting the teacher involved. Your husband and I have resolved that issue. Unfortunately, your husband and the security guard got into an altercation and so now both your husband and son are going to have to attend an anger management class sponsored by the district. But after today, I believe that your entire family may need some additional services.”
Now let’s get to Janet’s situation. Janet is currently at the nurse’s office being checked over by our medical staff and I will take you to her after we talk about the incident. Mr. Brown interjected, “Well is she hurt—what happened?” With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Brown exclaimed, “John let him finish please! He is about to tell us.” The principal continued, “Well let me first assure you that Janet is okay physically but she is shaken up. During 7th period, a young man by the name of Mark Jackson followed your daughter into the girl’s locker room and tried to strangle her.” Mr. Brown jumped up again, “What!!! Where is he? I will kill him.” The principal said in a calm voice, “Mr. Brown, please sit down—this is not going to help your daughter.” Mrs. Brown gasped, “That is Janet’s boyfriend.” Mr. Brown said as he looked puzzled, “Boyfriend—I didn’t know that she had a boyfriend.” Then he said, “Jackson, Jackson—isn’t that the kid that’s headed to the NBA straight out of high school?” The principal continued, “Yes and from what I can gather from talking to him and your daughter separately, Janet was trying to break up with him and he wasn’t able to accept your daughter’s rejection. Now your daughter was lucky; the gym teacher forgot something and came in just in the nick of time. But we need to have a thorough investigation of all of these incidents today as your own son was involved in a physical incident involving a girl. Both situations could have had a very different ending and we can not tolerate violence of any kind in our schools—from our students and our parents. We all have to make better choices. Now let me take you to see your daughter.”
The principal got up and escorted Janet’s parents to the school nurse’s office. When Janet saw her parents, she was relieved. She told them that she was okay although she was a bit overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. The nurse informed the Browns that Janet had a few bruises on her legs, back and a mark around her neck. She told them that a doctor had examined her thoroughly but that they should take her to their doctor as well. She also said that she would be very sore for the next couple of days and should ice down any sore areas and take something for the pain. The principal chimed in that the detectives had taken pictures of Janet’s bruises as well as her statement for further investigation. The principal also told her parents that Mark was with the investigators at this moment and that he would be expelled from school until further notice. The nurse provided the Browns with a number to a family psychologist and suggested that they call her immediately to have individual and family counseling.
Mrs. Brown hugged her daughter and said that she was sorry. Mr. Brown didn’t think anything of it. He just thought that his wife was remorseful about what happened to their daughter. But Janet knew exactly why she was sorry. A couple of months before this incident, Janet confided in her mother that Mark had been hitting her. She told her how sorry he felt afterwards and that he would be the perfect boyfriend until something else set him off. She said that she couldn’t take it any longer and that she was going to break up with him. Instead of Mrs. Brown protecting her daughter, she told her to make it work. She replied, “Janet, Mark is the star basketball player and he’s on his way to the NBA. If you put up with him a little bit longer it will eventually pay off. Be patient. You’re so close; don’t ruin it for yourself.” Janet didn’t agree with her mother and she thought to herself that she was not about to stay with someone that beat her just because he was on his way up. Her father taught her a long time ago that it was not cool to let anyone put their hands on her. Janet knew better than to listen to her mother so she broke up with Mark—she just knew that she couldn’t tell her mother.
A couple of months passed and Frank, Hannah and their parents were all still attending anger management classes. The counselor thought that it was actually helping both families and Hannah thought so too. Janet and Hannah were good friends and Hannah actually recommended that Janet talk to the counselor about what happen with her mother and Mark. Janet was reluctant to at first, but then decided to go. It took her a long time before she opened up to the counselor but when she finally did, she felt like she was making progress. Janet was very angry with Mark for everything that he put her through but she was even more surprised by the anger that she felt for her mother. Janet loved her mother; but, she never realized how much that she felt betrayed by her mother for siding with Mark and wanting her to stay with him just for the money. Her mother was supposed to protect her not send her out there to fend for herself. The next step in her recovery was getting Mrs. Brown to have a face to face sit down with the counselor and her.
As Hannah began another day at work she was asked to cover the registers. Her supervisor was actually testing her because there was a position open for assistant manager and Hannah was doing so great that she was first in line for that position. The day was going well just as the manager had hoped. As Hannah was just about to get off, she finished up an order and asked her last customers what they would like. When she looked up, she realized that it was Frank and his boys staring at her. She nodded at Frank cautiously and then asked them what they were having again in a hesitant manner. Frank’s friends, realizing that she was nervous, began complaining and talking to her negatively about her service. Hannah tried to ignore it at first but it got out of hand. One of Frank’s friends threw something at her and just as Hannah was about to jump over the counter to hit the young man something clicked inside of her. She stepped back and called for the manager while Frank grabbed his friend and yelled at him. The manager came to her rescue and ordered the young man out of his establishment. Frank apologized for his friend and asked her if she was alright. She nodded yes and then he left. The manager told Hannah to go get ready to cash out for the day and then meet him in his office.
Hannah did as he instructed and then knocked on the door to his office. He told her to come in as he smiled at her. He said, “Hannah, I was so impressed with how you handled yourself today especially with what just happened. You are my best employee and I would like to offer you the position of assistant manager.” Hannah sat in her seat in silence as she let everything soak in. Her manager asked, “Did you hear what I just said?” She finally acknowledged him with a smile and said, “Yes sir, I am just taking it all in. I would be happy to accept the position and the additional responsibility.” Hannah knew that a couple of months ago, she would not have handled herself in that way and she was happy that she had shown patience in that situation. That wouldn’t be Hannah’s only surprise that day. Her parents had seen such an improvement in her that they went and actually bought the car that she wanted. Hannah was extremely proud of her accomplishments and felt that in time she could handle anything that life threw her way.
When Hannah, Frank and their parents went to counseling the next week, Hannah was able to share her good news and thank Frank for standing up to his friends. Janet and her mother also had their meeting with the counselor and even though it was going slow, they both felt that they would heal their relationship in time. As the counselor said, “Patience is something that must be learned and practiced on a daily basis. As the saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait,” and decisions shouldn’t be rushed or forced. Being patient should never include a person getting hurt or settling for less. Being patient is about thinking a situation through in its entirety and then making the right choice.”
Lesson Topics & Quizzes
|PATIENCE REFLECT AND REVIEW Short Story|