IRONIC ANGST • by Rhonda Parrish

The force of Todd’s words left Madison feeling as though she’d been slapped. Her face was burning, she knew she must be blushing fiercely. She tried to say something, anything, but her mouth was dry and her mortification wedged itself in her throat and refused to let anything but a choked sound past. While she stood there, opening and closing her lips like a parody of a goldfish, the charming smile began to melt from his face.

First one of his friends began to snicker, then another. She watched the color drain from Todd’s face and became even angrier. How dare he? Not only had he said that, but in front of his oh-so-smart chess club friends? How dare he insult her and humiliate her like that? After all she’d given up for him?

Why, she could be dating the quarterback, then she would have been picked to be the head cheerleader instead of Casidy. But no. She’d bought into his charm. She’d swallowed his line about popularity not being the most important thing and she’d dated him.

How dare he?

“Madison, I–” He reached for her but she stepped away.

“No, Todd,” she finally managed to spit out. “Just no. You can’t talk to me like that.”

Behind him, Todd’s friends hooted with laughter. He seemed to ignore them and spoke again, calmly, softly. “I think you mis–”

“We’re through,” she said, irritated to hear her voice catch on the second word. “Through.”

She stamped her foot and spun around angrily. Her long blonde hair swept out around her and she heard it smack against Todd’s chest. Holding her chin high and fighting back tears, she marched down the hallway.

People were leaning against lockers and chatting in small groups. They watched as she went by, but she pretended not to see them. She also pretended not to notice how they all stopped talking when she drew level and then started whispering and giggling as she passed.

Reaching the bathroom door, she slapped both hands on it and shoved it open angrily. Slumping into a stall, she shut and locked the door and plopped forlornly down onto the toilet seat. Resting her elbows on her knees, she buried her face in her hands and sobbed.

Her reputation was ruined! By tomorrow morning everyone at school was going to know what Todd had said. They were going to know that he’d called her pulchritudinous! Ruined. She could never show her face at school again.

Rhonda Parrish has had her work accepted in several dozen publications and you can find out more about her and her writing at She does not miss high school.

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