I’m not Cranky
Adeline couldn’t figure out how her mood’s dropped so low, so quickly. This morning, she felt fine. Chipper even. Everything seemed to go well. But then somehow, she feels…cranky. At least that’s what her friend Max told her.
“I’m just saying you’re not being yourself.”
“And what exactly is myself?” Adeline stresses.
Max pauses, fiddling with his notebook. “Well—I don’t know.” He glances at Adeline, looking for words to describe. “Normally, you’re alert and ready for classes. Like, you’re the first to raise your hand when the teacher asks a question, even if it’s not related to a lesson plan. Today you were—quiet. Your eyes glazed over on the whiteboard.” Max looks over Adeline before he continues, “Sure, you are smiling, but you’re not present. I see you tapping your foot and fidgeting with your pencil right now.” He motions to her. “Something’s made you upset.”
Adeline puts her hands under the desk and rolls her eyes. “Oh, right, so I’m being a little off today because I didn’t raise my hand in class. Heaven forbid I remain quiet, something must be wrong with me!” She snaps.
“See, that’s what I’m talking about.” Max motions both hands out to his friend, “Adeline, since when do you talk back at people. At me?”
Adeline bites her cheek in irritation. “You’re overreacting.” She lowers her voice. “I’m fine.” She lowers her head and continues with her sketch.
No matter what Adeline does, she can’t seem to get the shape of the right eye correct. She takes a step back to look at her work and realizes that everything is out of proportion. She takes the eraser and tries to adjust the shape. Sure enough, the whole drawing is smudged and too far gone. She tightens her grip on her pencil and presses down on the notebook. The lead cleanly breaks off and leaves a dark indent in the page. Adeline groans and yanks the page out of the spiral. Part of the paper doesn’t tear off and the notebook flies across the room, making a loud thump in the art room. Everyone’s attention in the classroom turns to Adeline. Sheepishly, she drags her feet to pick up her notebook and returns to her chair.
“Mm-hmm, you’re fiiine.” Max gives a mocking tone.
“I’m not cranky.” She hisses.
Max smirks to himself. “No, you’re fine.” He repeats.
Adeline huffs, finally having enough. She gets out of her seat and picks up her books. “You know what? It looks like you are the one with a problem. Not me!” She turns her back to Max.
“Where are you going?”
Adeline glances at Max over her shoulder. “Somewhere I won’t feel attacked.” She swiftly strides to the back of the art room to an empty seat. Giving one last glare to Max before she continues with her work.
Brianna leans over her desk and hisses Adeline’s name. She picks up her head and looks at her neighbor. “What?” She mouths to Brianna. Brianna leans closer and whispers, “You seem a little—
“Cranky?” Adeline finishes.
Brianna laughs, “I was gonna say stressed. I couldn’t help but see you were fighting with Max earlier.”
“We weren’t fighting.” She defends.
“Well, whatever it is that caused you to move seats, I just want you to know that Max wouldn’t want to upset you on purpose.”
Adeline raises her eyebrows. “Shows what you know.” She murmurs.
Brianna straightens back in her seat. “What’s that supposed to mean?” She frowns.
Adeline takes a breath. “I’ve been friends with Max a lot longer than you have. I think I know what he’s like.”
“Why are you mad at me?” Brianna asks with a tone of hurt in her voice.
Adeline raises her voice “I just want you to back out of it. Just because you’re with Max, doesn’t mean you know everything about him. And why does everyone think I’m mad?”
“Don’t take it out on Brianna !” Max jumps out of his seat.
“Settle down. All of you! Max, sit back down.” Mrs. Bernard stands between the two desks, motioning for them to get back to work.
Adeline’s face begins to burn when she realizes the whole class stopped to watch. Her voice begins to shake but she can’t stop talking, “Oh sure, take her side. You don’t even know what happened and all of a sudden it’s my fault.” The bridge of Adeline’s nose begins to burn and she can feel tears starting to form.
“I just want to know what’s bothering you.”
“Nothing is bothering me! I was fine until everyone started pestering me. Why can’t you ju—
The bell rings, cutting off Adeline. Before Max or Mrs. Bernard could reach over to Adeline, she darts out of the classroom. Adeline sucks in a breath, feeling the tears run down her cheek. She quickens her pace and heads to her locker. There’s no way she can go to her next class with puffy eyes. It’s bad enough the art room saw her. Quickly, she stuffs all of her books in her bag and weaves between the crowd of commuting students. She hears Max behind her calling her name. Before he can catch up with her, she makes a sharp turn and runs down the stairs. Adeline remembers an exit in the music room she can use. She tries to slow her pace so she won’t attract any attention and leaves out the music room door.
Adeline stops after walking a few blocks away. Without holding back her tears, she lets herself sob. Her phone in the back of her pocket begins to vibrate and she looks at it to find Max trying to call her. She silences it and stuffs it in her bag.
Why was she crying? Why did what Max and Brianna say bother her so much? Brianna. All she ever does is butt in. There’s nothing she can do with Max without her getting in the middle. She was handling everything fine until Brianna opened her mouth. Now she has to go back to school knowing everyone was talking about her.
When the tears dry up, Adeline looks at the time on her watch. Fortunately, most students leave early at this time. She hopes no one in the school is looking for her. There’s a chance her history teacher will forget to take attendance again. Just in case, she decides to wait out in a diner down the road until school ends.
The cool breeze of the air conditioner hits her legs when Adeline opens the door. She scans the diner to find a seat. Its mostly empty, except for a few customers and a couple of waitresses walking in and out the kitchen door. She decides to pick a seat in the back. A waitress hands her a menu.
Adeline thanks the waitress, “I’d like to order my drink right now.”
The waitress nods her head and takes out a notepad. “Sure, what would you like?”
“A strawberry milkshake, please.”
“Okay.” The waitress jots down her order. She notes the red rims around Adeline’s eyes and frowns. “Are you alright?”
Adeline’s throat tightens and she nods her head. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
The waitress smiles, “Let’s hope this milkshake will do the trick. I’ll ask Marvin to give you extra cherries.” She pipes.
When the waitress leaves, Adeline rests her chin on the table. She feels her temples throbbing and closes her eyes.
“I’m not cranky.” She murmurs to herself.
A/N: Ta-dah! I had fun writing this story. I’ve never tried a daily prompt before and I loved the mystery of where the story was going to go. Poor Adeline. I feel her frustration! 😦 Hope that milkshake makes her feel better.