12/11/2011 03:04 pm ET

This is a regular column featuring original fiction by and for high school students, provided by, an online community writing site for young people.

‘You can do it!’

A few pink hearts float on the neon yellow sticky note folded up in her jeans pocket. It’s this that she now squeezes tightly as she strides down the tiled, busy hallway to her locker. The note is itself a magic thing; she once read that if you focus on something hard enough, it has a better chance of happening.

Her russet hair bounces in its ringlets as she moves with a confidence she doesn’t completely feel. As she stops at her locker—number 2973—she makes a show of putting her books into it as slowly as she can, watching down the hall for her goal as she pushes an especially heavy history book onto the top shelf.


‘You can do it!’

She squeezes the note for luck and walks up, careful to not run, skip, or cower. Her posture is perfect and she’s wearing the loose knitted cover-up that earned her the girl’s compliment.

“That’s gorgeous! I can’t believe you made that…it looks like it came from a store. I’d pay you for one.”

She had painstakingly worked on it over Thanksgiving break, and now it’s done. A gorgeous deep blue, matching ribbon trim on the pockets, with a cottonsilk sash to match…nicer than her own, and the ones she made her cousin and mother.

She’ll have it for free.

About ten feet away, the doubts plaguing her all week surfaced. What if you’re wrong? She could say no. Your teeth are a little crooked. You’re too tall. It won’t work. What if you’re wrong?

She gives the note another, final squeeze.

‘You can do it!’

“Hi, Kim, how was your Thanksgiving?” She’s standing next to her now. Her pug nose, bright smile, and blue eyes are all too apparent. Her body curves fantastically as she takes a moment to stretch, her backpack on the ground now.

“Oh, it was okay. My back still hurts from the ride back from my grandma’s, but otherwise, it was pretty good. How was yours?”

“Fine. I stayed home…we have it at our house. I knitted…..”


She pulls the garment from inside the plastic shopping bag. Kim’s eyes grow wide and she says, “Oh, my god, thank you so much!...I didn’t bring any money today though, I’ll pay you for it tomorrow….”

“It’s cool…you don’t have to. It’s a gift.” She shifts slightly, feeling her cheeks redden.

‘You can do it!’

"I kind of thought, maybe. Since we get along and all. That you’d maybe want to…go out…sometime?”

Kim’s trying it on now. Her orange hair goes wonderfully against the ultramarine, better than she imagined. She ties the sash, and looks up slowly.

Their eyes meet.

“Oh. Um.” She looks down at her feet. “I…don’t really like…I mean, you’re a good friend….”

"Oh. That’s okay. That’s….Yeah.”

She can feel the heat radiating from her face as if someone set it on fire. The bell rings for homeroom and she walks slowly off to her classroom, feeling instead like a woman condemned to hang.

A crumpled, sweaty yellow memo falls from her hand and gets trampled by so many sneakers.

- Anna Krouse

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