After the End
by Damien Angelica Walters
After the end, you don't have to go to school anymore. No more sitting in Mrs. Jenkins' fifth-grade class, holding your breath whenever she starts calling on people for answers. And maybe it wasn't that you didn't have the answers, maybe it was that she made you stand in front of the class and explain them to everyone else, and maybe you always hated that.
You also don't have to ride the bus anymore and that's even better than not having to stand in class. Greg, Tyler, and Shaun, the boys who sat in the back seat, always picked on the girls. If you were pretty, they picked on you a little--pulled your hair, tried to grab your books. If you weren't, they picked on you a lot--names and jokes and if they pulled your hair, they pulled it hard and if you cried, they laughed. You think the bus drivers knew; they just didn't care. Or maybe they were afraid what would happen if they cared.
No homework, that's another thing you don't have. Your mom tried for a while but math and grammar aren't that important anymore so she stopped.
You don't have to worry about baths either or shampoo getting in your eyes. Your mom cut off all your hair and made you wear only jeans and t-shirts, but not pink. Never pink. It's better not to be a girl, she said, even when you mostly stay inside now. She wouldn't say why, but you think you know.