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The Whirlpool
Excerpt

There’s no need for Snapchat or text messages in a high school cafeteria at lunchtime. All you have to do is sit at one of the tables. Guaranteed, after a minute or two, you’ll know everything there is to know. It’s all here. Carried just above our heads. Words surging and swelling and rolling across the cafeteria like bodysurfers at a concert. Talk washing over us, flooding us with the ohmygods, the names, the details. Everyone, even the quiet ones, caught up in the rumors. The gossip. The whirlpool.

Sometimes the whirlpool slows. A sudden waiting, watching, listening silence. A signal that fresh drama is about to unfold. Not on the stage at the back of the room, the curtain drawn shut. This theater plays out right in front of us, down on the floor, in the depths of the cafeteria.

I’m not surprised when the current pauses in front of me. It’s the end of September but it’s still my name that swirls around and around and around. My name trapped in the whirlpool since school started, the day after Labor Day.

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