A diary of a radioactive senior


Marissa Werner

The diary of a radioactive senior.

My name


In a single unprecedented act of free will, my pencil remained on my desk.

I could barely breathe.

I looked out the window, my test forgotten, my mind dreadfully blank,

Everyone else was working

Everyone else was furiously writing

Writing my name meant being complicit

Being complicit meant driving myself into a state of neverending madness

I closed my eyes and pretended to be anywhere anywhere anywhere else

She tapped my desk

She ripped me from my darkness and into reality

She asked if I was okay

Her eyes were so nice, her voice so measured, her smile so sure

I was not okay

I said I was okay

I picked up my pencil and wrote my name.




In the first snooze, I thought about my outfit

Planning, from socks to pants to shirt to hair tie

Preparing for war

I took the weather into consideration as my breathing evened out

In the second snooze, I mapped out my careful order of bathroom activities

Wash face, brush teeth, use toilet, apply makeup, change clothes

Order, order, order

Make it easy, make it quick

Prolonging the inevitable is impossible

In the third snooze, I struggled to remember if I had forgotten to do any of my homework

Nothing came to mind

But I usually only realized those sorts of things the moment I stepped foot in the classroom

In the fourth snooze, I wondered if I could pull off acting sick and stay home for the day

They’d never buy it

In the fifth snooze, I considered pretending my alarm didn’t go off and letting sleep take me

Then I’d be late

I hate being late

The fifth snooze was my last stand

I sat up, the blankets falling away and cold spreading throughout my already exhausted body

I walked to the bathroom to wash my face


end game

For an instant, I saw the end game

Every day here felt like a long, pointless march headed nowhere,

Some nonexistent goal that everyone talked about, everyone gushed about, but never,

Never came to fruition

I got the letters, I got the aid, I got the proud, gentle parental support

And, I suppose, I should have been happy

I should be

And instead I see the pain to come, each day a long-winded string of profanity

Circling around my indecisive, pained nature

Of looking up, looking out for answer, looking for the right one

There has to be a right one, right?

A right place to go, a right way to act

This will all be ending

A beautiful, glorious ending to the “best years of my life”

That is what they tell me

The older ones, who look fondly on high school like an old friend

An old friend they haven’t talked to in quite some time, which makes them forget

Forget how they chewed with their mouth open

Forget how they were never on time for anything

Forget how they made you feel stupid, invisible

They are allowed to look fondly on this toxic relationship because they escaped with their lives

Not everyone is as lucky.

For an instant, I saw the end game

So close, but not quite here yet

Not quite here yet

I will wait with a devastating patience, ready to run in

Three, two, one