by Emma Smith-Barton
Our eyes meet across the classroom. She holds my gaze. I hold my breath and shuffle in my seat. Should I say something or smile or look away? I’m never sure. Instead, I simply look back at her. My palms grow damp. Will it be a good day or a bad day? Please, be a good day. Please.
The class is quiet, waiting, watching. She folds her arms and raises an eyebrow, which disappears under her thick fringe. Her top lip twitches. Her dark eyes narrow into slits as her hand rises and her plump forefinger jolts out. It points in my direction.
‘You,’ she snarls.
I look behind me. Oh God, please, don’t let it be me. It’s always me. I turn back round and wipe my hands on my skirt. It’s me.
‘Yes, you.’ She’s still pointing. ‘Have you got something to say?’ She speaks slowly and I imagine her tongue in her mouth, curling around each word. Bits of spit spout from her lips. Her venom. She places her hands on her hips.
I think fast. I think hard. I look at the poem on the desk in front of me and then back at her.
‘Yes,’ I say, in a voice so quiet I hardly recognise it as mine. ‘Yes, Miss. Can I please go to the toilet, Miss?’
Emma Smith-Barton has recently completed an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa and is working on her first novel.