The heaviness of keys

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  • Published 20081202
  • ISBN: 9780733323935
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

‘YOU N ME Miss, 2 gether, 4 eva.’ Dylan is just finishing the chalk heart around this message when I walk into the classroom, books under my arm, keys jangling. He shouldn’t be here at all – I’m supposed to unlock the door. One of the guards must have let him in. My face burns as he stares over his shoulder at me, not even smirking. It isn’t the first time I’ve found love messages on the board or in the cardboard suggestion box, torn off bits of maths book, with ‘I love U miss’ or ‘U R pretty miss’ or ‘marry me miss?’ scrawled on them, all in the same cramped handwriting.

At first I thought Dylan was joking, paying out on the new teacher, teasing me in the cruel way of boys. But he’s kept it up for months now and there’s never any laughing – only long, serious stares. Some days I can’t help looking back at him and I get caught, trapped in his gaze. I stop talking in the middle of a sentence, forget about the classroom and the shouting of the boys, standing open-mouthed and sweating, blind to everything but his eyes.

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