Senior-Year Psychology

When Mr. Salzman’s first letter to my parents arrived, I stuffed it into my backpack. I combed through the rest of the mail and slipped it back into our mailbox, tenderly, as if tenderness might atone for what I’d just done. The winter sun was blinding, which added to my anxiety.

I went inside. The house was silent. I wanted my mom to be there to inject a sense of normalcy. “Ma?” I called out.

No one answered.

I scrambled upstairs into the bathroom and locked the door.

Mr. Salzman’s letter was surprisingly complimentary. It said if my parents could get to the core of why I wasn’t applying myself—it wasn’t laziness—they could set me on the right path. I am on the right path, I thought; I’m getting out of Long Island.

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