• tab “Hey, loser” They were talking to her, she knew, but she didn’t answer. She never did, for she had nothing to say to them. She never spoke to them; in fact, she never spoke when she didn’t have to. It was easier, to be quiet, to hide, silently behind the mask she wore.
    tab “Hey, did you turn off your ears?” She wished she could, she wished more than anything that she could. She hated it; hated hearing their hateful words, hated talking to them, hated everything.
    “She never talks.” A girl spoke, her voice a cold sneer.
    tab “She likes to pretend she can’t hear.” A boy this time, laughing, sneering, as though it was a joke, a game. And perhaps it was to them, but it wasn’t to her. It was never a game to her; it was too painful for a game. She wandered why they bothered her, there seemed to be no reason. Why did they even speak to her, they didn’t even know her? Yet everyday, for what seemed like an eternity, they bothered her.
    tab She wondered, for what was, perchance, the first time, what it would be like to die. It would be quiet, she knew. Peaceful even, but that didn’t matter. It would be an escape. She didn’t know if it would hurt, but the thought of pain didn’t really bother her.
    “Rose, come out of your room and tell us about school.” Her mother, as always was nosey. She went to see her parents.
    “School was fine.”
    tab “Rose, have you eaten?”
    “Yes.” She hadn’t, but it wouldn’t do to tell them that. They would worry too much, and she didn’t want to worry them. It was hard on them, her mom working two jobs, and they had all her siblings to worry about. It would be easier on them if she weren’t there. She went back into her room. She didn’t do her homework, there didn’t seem to be any point to it at all. She could do it of course, it was simple enough, but why bother.
    tab “Rose, why aren’t you doing your work? You use to be such a good student?” Her teacher, concern lining her face. It was sweet of her to care, it wasn’t her job to, but she did, Rose appreciated it.
    “I forgot.” She didn’t want to lie to her, but she didn’t want her to worry either. She was sorry, but it didn’t matter.
    tab Today she didn’t go home. Today she walked past her house. She had left her backpack at school, she wouldn’t need it anymore. She had written a note to her parents, and her teachers and left it in her locker, she knew they would find it, she had left it open so they would.
    Mom, Dad ~ I love you. I’m sorry, but I hope you’ll realize that it’s better this way.
    Mrs. P ~ I’m sorry for doing my work, but it never really seemed to matter. Thank you for caring; even though it wasn’t your job; you’re my favorite teacher.
    My little Siblings ~ be good, don’t cause trouble, I love you all, take care.
    Now, I suppose you’re wondering why, and I’ll owe you an explanation. I’m a coward, and taking a cowards way out. I don’t want you to worry, this is better for everyone. You’re the people who care about me, and no one else seems to. I love you all. Good Bye.
    ~Rose Ann Larks

    Mrs. P walked down the hallway, stopping to close a locker that was left open. She stopped and picked up a paper that fell out, as she picked it up, she glimpsed her name, and started to read it. When she had finished she dropped it as though it were going to catch on fire in her hand. She ran out of the school, she knew where Rose would be. She had told her once, that her favorite place was out on the hill behind the school. She had said it looked beautiful in fall.
    tab Rose was a delightful girl, she was quiet, but a good person. Rose wouldn’t harm a fly on purpose, but it seemed she would harm herself. Mrs. P knew it was bad to have favorite students, but Rose was one of hers. Rose went to her church, she had known her since she was just small.
    Mrs. P saw the figure as she reached the top of the hill, she screamed, a loud, piercing sound as she saw the blood. “Rose.”
    tab She knelt by the still girl, reaching to check her pulse, and finding none. She swore and started to cry. Rose, her Rose, her little girl.
    tab She could not help it, she taught them, she watched the grow up, and she could not help but to love them. To love them for all the mistakes they made, and to love them for all the challenges they overcome, but also to love them even when they gave up, even when they failed and quit trying. But she still could not help but wonder, what she had done wrong. How she had let this happen, what she hadn’t said, hadn’t taught. Wondered what had pushed Rose into thinking that no one cared.