Before the Shooting: five portraits: #5. Inez Martinez

#5.  Inez Martinez

Inez Martinez heard her brother, Eduardo, honking in the driveway.  He was early.  It was barely 7:00 a.m.  Classes started at 8:00.  They lived two miles from school.  But then she would want to go early, too, if she had a beautiful girlfriend like Eduardo did.  Or if she ran with the popular crowd.  Or if she wasn’t terrified every time she stepped out of her bedroom.  Inez, though, wasn’t like her brother.

Inez stretched out on her bed, in her school clothes, unable to move.  What will they do today to make my life more miserable?  “They” could be anyone—Vice Principal Bader, Brad Wilson (the wrestler who was stalking her), the Christians who gathered by the flag pole every Monday morning and asked her if she was saved, the girls in her gym class that sensed her weakness and stole her street clothes, her brother’s friends on the soccer team who made bets on who would be the first to bed her.  Her only friends were the Tie Guys, Ryan Turik and the others.  Ryan made such a show of defying the social order, but he wasn’t that different from her.  He was scared, too.

Dr. Corger, the psychiatrist hired by her parents, asked why she was afraid to leave her bedroom.  It was a silly question.  Her bedroom was her sanctuary.

Eduardo honked the car horn again.  She knew he would wait a little longer.  Father would make him.

The walls of her room had been painted a soothing mist green.  The color didn’t matter to Inez because she had filled every available space with her sketches—drawing of her friends from her last school, faces of people in her Advanced Drawing class who didn’t suck.  Her dogs were on the wall, of course, and one drawing of her mother.

Fully half of the drawings, though, were of Deanna Metz, a senior girl in her Design class.  Deanna was the most beautiful woman Inez had ever seen.  Inez had drawn Deanna in the school musical, Deanna at her locker whispering with Ryan Turik, Deanna alone in the cafeteria lost in thought. In that drawing Deanna’s brow was furrowed, her lips were pursed.  Inez wondered at the time what she had been thinking.  Inez also wondered what it would feel like to press her lips to Deanna’s.  The thought still took her breath away.

Eduardo blasted his car horn a third time—two short blasts.  He would leave her in a minute.

Inez rose from her bed.  She glanced at herself in the mirror, adjusted the scarf around her neck, and closed the door behind her, careful to lock it.  It would be nine hours before she would be back.  Each minute would be painful.



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