OH OH OH PLEASE TELL US A BOARDING SCHOOL STORY PRETTY PLEASE
so my school had this thing called “senior skip day,” except that senior skip day didn’t exist and every year the administration sent out emails in the spring that were like DON’T FUCKIN SKIP CLASS OR YOU WILL RECEIVE RESTRICTION (restriction was like, my boarding school’s equivalent of detention where instead of staying after school you had to go to bed early and help stuff envelopes advertising the summer program until your hands were BLOODIED AND CRIPPLED BY CARPAL TUNNEL) and every year the seniors were like YOLO THEY CAN’T PUNISH ALL OF US!!!!!
- spoiler alert: yes they can? THEY ALWAYS CAN.
- 200 years of american high school and teenagers still think that there is a cap limit on kids in detention and that you can leave after 15 minutes if the teacher doesn’t show up.
anyway, my senior year, we all got together and nattered at each other until some brave soldier (i feel like it was my friend paula but WHO KNOWS) was like “OK SENIOR SKIP DAY IS THIS THURSDAY!!!! NOBODY GO TO CLASS OR UR A SCAB.”
- she didn’t say scab because she’s not from the 1920s and we aren’t newsies, though this story would be way more interesting if we were
- what she said was “YOLO THEY CAN’T PUNISH ALL OF US!!!!!”
- except not yolo because it was 2009 and drake hadn’t been invented yet except as a dear sweet boy in a wheelchair.
we also used this email system to communicate with one another that has very deeply informed the way i understand email and which probably makes it very frustrating to be my friend and receive emails that have subject lines like “URGENT” and then just 42 links to the same florida georgia line youtube video.
- I’M NOT ASHAMED, but in that way where like i kind of AM ashamed so i’m really aggressively NOT ashamed?
so the day of reckoning rolls around and my alarm goes off at 8 (class started at 8:05 but i liked to PLAY WITH FIRE when it came to being late; my mom actually asked the school to stop emailing her when i was a sophomore because i was late so often that their rote “Mrs. Ofgeography we are emailing you to say—” was CLOGGING UP HER INBOX and she was like “i GET IT MY CHILD IS THE MOST BORING MISCREANT OF ALL TIME.”) and i looked at my roommate elle and she looked at me and went, “you going?”
“hell no,” i said. “YOLO. they can’t punish all of us.”
elle, who was far prettier and far cooler than i was with the notable exception of her obsession with tswift’s “love story” and her tendency to look at the endangered species list and cry sometimes during study hall, quickly bizounced across the street to this shopping center thing where all the cool kids smoked in secret where huge trucks dropped off clothes for the Dress Barn. i think there were also tennis courts nearby. more importantly there was this chinese food delivery place and a lil restaurant that made HELLA BAGELS.
- WHAT KIND OF BAGELS?
off goes elle! meanwhile i’m like, “yessssss i’m gonna use senior skip day to watch 14 hours of tv shows and eat frozen peanut butter bars that i stole from the dining hall! I’M GONNA LIVE LIKE I’M 23 ALONE IN CHICAGO ON A WEEKEND WHEN MY ONLY PLAN IS TAKEOUT AND CUDDLING WITH THE FAUX-SNOW-LEOPARD BLANKET I WILL ONE DAY SURELY OWN.”
of course, during this time the administration was continuing to send out emails that reminded us with increasing urgency that senior skip day was NOT A THING and that we were ALL GETTING RESTRICTION if we didn’t get our STUPID ASSES TO CLASS, GODDAMNIT, WE ARE NOT RUNNING A CIRCUS HERE.
but i was like! yolo, motherfuckers!!! i already got into college, YOU CAN’T TOUCH ME.
at some point during the day elle and our friend ginna came back to the room with takeout from the chinese delivery place and we sat on our floor eating it and probably watching veronica mars or looking at the endangered species list and crying.
all of a sudden, elle said, “guys shut up, guys shut up, GUYS SHUT UP,” and ginna and i were like, “WHAT we have a LOT to SAY about FRIED FUCKING DUMPLINGS, ELLE,“ and elle said, "did you hear that?”
‘that’ was the sound of one of our dorm moms, mrs. f, knocking on doors and saying things like, “IF YOU DON’T GET YOUR BUTTS TO CLASS IN 5 MINUTES YOU’RE ON CATEGORY 4 RESTRICTION FOREVER.” elle quickly scampered up our raised beds to hide in the corner, where a tiny human like elle could actually hide from view; i leapt immediately into what we called a closet but was basically a cubby with a flap that was DEFINITELY not meant for a 5'8” individual with knobby as hell knees.
our door, which was never locked because we both hated the effort of typing in the lock code, opened. mrs. f said, “mollyhall?”
i held my breath.
- i should add here that i seemed to be operating on like a scooby-doo level of logic where basically i thought that she was somehow NOT ALLOWED to investigate?
- like, if she can’t see me, there is NO POSSIBLE WAY that she could prove i’m in here, right?
- she’ll just poke her head in and be like oH GOSH NO KIDS HERE and leave!!
you can see the flaw in my logic.
mrs. f sighed. “mollyhall, i know you’re in here, i literally heard your voice ten seconds ago.”
- there’s no WAY she guesses i’m in the closet!!!
“mollyhall, i know you’re in the closet.”
- NO YOU DON’T
- I AM SCHRÖDINGER’S SENIOR
there was a creak. mrs. f stopped. it wasn’t actually a “creak,” so much as this like, prolonged groan? like it’s the sound an elephant would make if it sat on a really large accordion.
i poked my head out of the closet. mrs. f looked at me. elle sat up.
i said, “where’s ginna?”
- YOU KNOW WHERE GINNA WAS.
“um,” said elle, “she’s in the—”
- GINNA NO
i really wish i could describe the sound the ceiling made when it collapsed. it sounded a lot like the way losing your breath feels. i sort of remember ginna falling in like, really slow motion, like i could see the expression on her face. i didn’t really think about how i would describe this in words. ginna’s face said:
- oh no.
- what have i done?
- this was a mistake.
- i regret a series of decisions that i have made.
- is there a way out of this?
- are those oreos under mollyhall’s pillow?
- why are there oreos under mollyhall’s pillow?
- mollyhall, you HAVE a food cupboard, what good is a food cupboard if you don’t—
- oh, crap.
she belly flopped onto the floor. i mean, the girl bounced. and then she just laid there. mrs. f looked at her. elle looked at her. i looked at her, still mostly in the closet. we were all going to get category 4 restriction forever.
ginna said, “hi, mrs. f. i feel like i should explain.”