“Tell me what’s happening at home, Miss James,” says Principal Moore.
I fidget in my chair for a few seconds, and then I shrug my shoulders, like I don’t have anything to lose by telling him what’s up.
“My father walked out on our family the other night because he and my mother had a huge fight about my older sister wanting to come back into our family after being gone for ten years. She ran away when she was fifteen—I don’t know why because no one will tell me—and up until a few days ago, we didn’t even know she was still alive. Mama wants her back and Daddy doesn’t, so he left,” I say, almost all in one breath.
“That’s a lot to deal with,” he says gently. “Truth be told, if I was your age and I came to school with all that on my mind, I’d probably have felt like running away to be by myself for a while too. The thing is, there are consequences to almost everything we do, even if we are under duress when we do them. Now, in most cases, what you did warrants an immediate suspension. Do you think you deserve to be suspended?”
“No, I don’t,” I say, shaking my head.
“Because I’m a good student. I never get into trouble. I made a stupid mistake because I was—I was under duress, like you just said.”
“Then what do you think you deserve?” he asks, sitting back in his chair.
I’m thinking, is he serious? I get to pick my own punishment? I wonder what his angle is. I can’t tell yet.
“Clinic,” I suggest after a few moments.
Clinic is what our school now calls Detention. Why, I don’t know. I guess they think spending time after school with a roomful of students you’re not allowed to talk to and a teacher who is mad that they have to be there to sit with you is somehow supposed to heal a student in trouble.
“One week,” he says, but to me he looks like he’s willing to negotiate.
“Three days,” I say. “Max.”
Principal Moore stares me down for a minute and I wonder if maybe I read him wrong, but then he throws his head back and lets out a big booming laugh.
“I like her,” he says to Aris, then turns back to me.
“Three days, starting tomorrow. And I’ve already spoken to Miss Wilson about you spending them with her. I read your file, Miss James. I’ve seen your transcripts. You’re a very good student, but you’re an even better writer. Gifted, with the potential to be brilliant, even at your young age. I want you to use this time in Clinic to be productive. Take all this negativity and spin it into something positive. Writing under Miss Wilson’s guidance is a good start. How does that sound?”
“I can do that,” I smile.
“Good. We’re done here then.”
Title: K My Name is Kendra
Author: Kamichi Jackson
Genre: Young Adult
Fifteen-year-old Kendra James’ life begins to spiral out of control with the return of her long-lost runaway sister Meisha, and the visit of a young celebrity uncle with questionable intentions. Things take a particular turn for the worse when that uncle exploits Kendra’s loneliness and untreated depression and makes a move on her that sends her world into a tailspin from which she’s not sure she’ll ever recover. Will she survive this tragedy…or will she hit rock-bottom before anyone even notices?
In addition to K My Name Is Kendra, Kamichi Jackson is the author of an eBook entitled Where Present Meets Past (originally available as part of the now-defunct Amazon Shorts Program), the middle reader book You’re Too Much, Reggie Brown, a forthcoming adult novel entitled The Brownstone, two unproduced screenplays, and several short stories. KJ has made numerous appearances in support of her work, among them the Baltimore Book Festival. When not writing, Kamichi is likely off somewhere singing karaoke. The South Norwalk, Connecticut native currently resides in Northern Virginia with family.
Buy on Amazon (Paperback)
Buy on Amazon (Kindle)