A Pencil's Purpose

Sep 19, 2019 By Tanvi, 13
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The beautiful morning sunlight drifts lazily through the windows as sounds of children laughing and talking fills the air.

The sky outside is as blue as a robin’s egg and rainbows dance with the fluffy, white clouds. Ms. Smith’s classroom smells of fresh daisies, hand sanitizer, and crayons. 

Of course, I can’t see anything, because I am crammed into Sally’s glittery, pink pencil case along with several other pencils. The stench of Sally’s backpack is suffocating, and there was no escape.

Sally may seem like a neat girl on the outside, but the highlighters tell me that she left a rotting bologna sandwich underneath her binder, which is why her backpack reeks of roadkill and rotten eggs. 

The only way to get out of this disgusting backpack is to get chosen as her writing utensil of the day. However, the competition is fierce. I am surrounded by ridiculously expensive pencils. I’m still not entirely sure what my purpose is.

Why would Sally put me, out of all the pencils in her pencil pouch? I’m only a regular #2 pencil with slightly chipped, yellow paint. All of the other pencils are superior to me. They are immortal mechanical pencils with soft grips and shiny metal. I feel so small and insignificant around them. I have a feeling they’re making fun of me. I mean, who wouldn’t make fun of me? Sure, I haven’t actually heard them talk about me, but I can feel their stares burning into the lead that runs through the core of my being. 

Suddenly, a sharp light floods the pencil case, and everybody winces. I forgot how bright the light could be. Sally’s slim, newly manicured fingers reached into the pencil case. I hated The Choosing. Sally would always select one of her expensive pencils. I am destined to be stuck here, languishing in the desolate darkness for the rest of my life. The worst part is always the small sliver of hope I inevitably feel until I realize that she would never choose a disgusting pencil like me. 

I hear the collective gasp of the other pencils as Sally’s hand reached into the case, inching closer to me. I can’t believe it! Would Sally finally choose me? Would I finally learn my purpose? Sally daintily picked me up between her forefinger and thumb, and I brace myself for a thrilling view of outside the pencil case, which is something I forgot over the years.

“Here you go Bob,” replies Sally, handing me over. 

Bob grins and grunts, “Thanks,” and grabs me with his sweaty hands. 

The realization hit me like a ton of bricks. So that is my purpose. To be handed over to people who asked to borrow a pencil. I’m not good enough for Sally, am I? 

To my surprise, at the end of the period, Bob put me in his pencil case instead of returning me to Sally. Somehow, his backpack smells like dirty socks and rotten bananas, and it is worse than hers. What a horrible thing to do. I felt like crying. No matter how much I despise being in Sally’s backpack, it’s the only home I have ever known.