The weather is eerie, almost; the trees have lost their leaves, and there’s a thunderstorm on the horizon, which invites the darkness of last night to today. The sky is gray but has a luminescent quality, almost like a day-long sunrise. It is warm outside, around 70 degrees, but the weather will change when the rain rolls in.

The library I’m sitting in is quiet. The only thing lulling time on is the dull cacophony of the gym teacher yelling down the hallway, the hum of the printer in the corner, the sighs of my friend Emily as she flips through her math notes.

A plastic tree sits in the corner of the room opposite the printer. There are white specks of something in the carpet bordering the wall, giving this corner of the room an almost gritty look. An off-white blind is pulled on the nearby window, amplifying the grittiness of this normally sterile area.

Three high school seniors I’ve known since I was a baby surround me. They are all reading something, they say nothing. Although they are all friends with me, we are not all friends with each other. There is a tension hanging in the air even grittier than the corner with the dirty carpet against the wall; two of them got into a fight last night about a boy who sits in the room next to us. He is learning physics as they stew in silence. They don’t talk to each other, but they talk to me. I keep my answers short and diplomatic.

The bookshelves aren’t full, each line of books is tapered off about halfway through each row with a bookstand. A book titled First French Kiss sits next to a book titled Juvenile Crime. Best Jobs for the 21st Century pokes out of the third row to the left.

It just started raining. We can hear it loud on the tin roof of our school. Emily scratches her leg and gets up to close a window. We don’t say anything to each other about the rain, we just fixate now on the window. I wonder if I left anything in the bed of my truck.

I eat an orange cracker with peanut butter on it; it’s too dry. Emily gives me a sip of her water and goes back to her math homework. She got a 92 percent and needs a better score. Emma reads a romance book and doesn’t make eye contact with Emily. I sit.

Binders pop shut and Emma bookmarks her book. Emily zips up her backpack and the phone rings. The silence is broken, the hour changes, we walk out of the room to Calculus and start speaking again.

—By Clare R., 17