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"Mental Health Day"

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Jared sighed as he walked in and sat his things down on his desk. “I wasn’t here yesterday… Did I miss too much?” He asked the teacher who only smiled. “This early in the year it doesn’t matter too much, Mr. Kleinman… I’ll give you the worksheet and have it done by tomorrow,” she said, handing him a paper with the work on it. A few kids walked in and sat where Jared had set his things. He cleared his slightly sore throat and walked up to them in his practiced stride. “Hey guys? Miss me much when I was gone?” He asked with a cocky smile. No one responded so he just sat down, his hands in his lap. Jared coughed quietly as he began working on his worksheet and the other students filed into the room. “Oh hey, Kleinman? Were you sick yesterday?” one kid asked with a bored expression on his face.

This was the question Jared had been worried about getting. The day before he stayed home for no other reason than that he worked himself up to much over stress and everything around The Connor Project and the emails. His mom and dad had already left him a note about what to do since he hd said he was sick the night before. Jared couldn’t get enough courage to get dressed and get out to his car and drive to school. All of it was really just annoying. His parents told people that he was out on a “Mental Health Day” which made Jared cringe. He just was planning on telling everyone that he was sick… But these were his cool camp friends! He couldn’t just tell them he was sick or that he took a mental health day!

“I was kind of sick…” he said with a cocky grin as one kid gave him a highfive and the others laughed. This was what Jared loved. To be part of the group and to matter to the cool kids that had been unlucky enough to have gotten stuck with him on Capture the Flag. “So you skipped?” the other guy asked with a smirk. Jared nodded eagerly. “You can get written up for that, you know that, right Kleinman?” another kid said lowly. Jared’s face went pale. He gets written up that means it’s one step closer to being suspended which that means no school… no school means no friends… and by no friends Jared is really concerned about… is no Evan. “Why’d you go so pale, Kleinman?” “I… um… You’re not going to tell people I skipped are you?” he asked worriedly. Jesus, he sounded like Evan. Not that that was an insult, Jared really did love his family friend; however, in the situation it was very concerning. “I mean sure only if you give us the sweet deets on what you did yesterday?”

He slept… Cried so much he worked himself up enough to throw up… Refused to eat anything… laid in bed reading over all of the emails Evan had printed to give to the Murphy’s… He read over old texts with Evan and realized how much of an asshole he was… and then cried some more… “I uh… I went to the old Orchid… The one they’re trying to get up and running again… I had to climb a fence and everything…” Jared sounded so sure of himself but the others just stared. “So you had a whole day to yourself and you went to a fucking orchid? That’s so lame, Kleinman…” One kid sneers. “Don’t worry he was probably out with Evan? The little anxious tree boy? He was out yesterday… bet they were being all gay yesterday that’s why he’s being so nervous…” “Ha ha… That’s funny, you guys! I’m not gay and even if I were I wouldn’t waste my time on Evan…” Jared mumbled slightly but no one seemed to hear. ‘I bet that’s how Hansen broke his arm? He fell out of the tree because him and Jared were making out in it! Or it’s a lie all to itself and the broke it when they were having sex-” “Stop it…” “I bet they’re both kinky little fucks and Hansen probably broke his arm trying to get out of some ropes or some shit!” “I said to stop…” Jared’s face had flushed bright red in anger as he clenched his fists under the desk. The teacher began teaching the class but the kids didn’t stop, “You seriously went to an orchid, Kleinman?” one asked with a serious, concerning look on her face. Jared gulped and nodded, delayed and obviously a lie.

“Miss? I need to go to the office, I’m not feeling too good…” Jared spoke about ten minutes into the slurs and taunting. “Of… Of course, Jared… take the pass…”

Jared picked up his things and choked back his tears as he grabbed the pass. Walking down the hall he stopped at the office, putting his things in the nurse’s office and leaving.

Jared knocked on the classroom door, “Yes? Oh… Mr. Kleinman, what are you doing in-” “Could I have Evan Hansen to the office?”