“The world is out to get me. I have known this. Every day it advances with minor attacks slowly taking bits of my willpower. Soon I will be left with nothing.’

The first day I met Ms. Hare, I listened to her perfect voice, and watched her tuck her perfect hair behind her perfect ear too often. I hated her for smiling while I suffered… for talking absolutely too much.

But that smile won me over. On the same day, I told her how I tried to live with my father, how my mother cared more about her boyfriends and the drugs, and mother never asked how I was doing when I visited her in jail. We’ve talked everyday since then.

Today, I tell Ms. Hare about the rape (because I missed my period this month). I feel her retch. She turns red and starts to sweat. Eventually, she excuses herself. When she returns, she asks, “who?” And I reluctantly tell her about the senior who had been my boyfriend for two months.

She is slightly irritated when she turns to me. She doesn’t have that relaxed smile. She is not in her world where fortitude and certainty reign.

“I have to report this you know.”

I remain quiet. I know the procedure. The Assistant Principals will have a conference, then they’ll call my grand mom up to the school. Grandma will tell them how she warns me about the dangers of ‘walking the streets’. She will not tell them that she knows nothing about how I spend my days, or who my friends are. Or that we have not spoken since the social worker placed me in her care.

I shake my head. “Ms. Hare, please… I can’t have a baby!” I pause and take deep breaths like she taught me.  “Ms. Hare… She’ll make me keep it.”

“Can you finish school if you have a baby?” Her voice shakes as she stares at her feet.

In the year I’ve known Ms. Hare, I have made straight A’s. She made me take the standardized college admissions test early. She even helped with my college applications. Every time I got into trouble, the teacher would report my behavior to her. She’d laugh when we’re alone and tell me that college is a lot different. There, professors would appreciate my dialectic approach to learning.

“What do we do?” She is looking at me again.

We. Suddenly I am relaxed. Empowered, my enemy retreats. It sees I am not alone and it will not conquer me.

This story was submitted anonymously to VeryLoudYouth’s “Speak it Loud” contest for students.