I get the test back and it felt like a punch in the gut. I’m a smart kid, I should not have gotten a D on this last test. I am angry at myself but mostly my head. I had missed a lot of school that quarter, more than usual. Between doctor visits and new medicine and just staying home for the days when I. just. couldn’t. do. it. I had missed nearly a week of school. I tried to remember taking the test but it all seemed like a blur. The days I did come to school, I sat in class with vacant eyes as the pain raged on in my head. I would try to break the cycle, paying attention to the teacher’s lecture but the pain would distract me. It felt like an ice pick was lodged in the back of my head. It felt like my head was in a vice, getting tighter and tighter. I stopped going to the nurse. She couldn’t help me. She didn’t believe me when I shuffled into her office. She would give me two pills that didn’t even come close to touching the pain, and send me back to class. When it came to the night before the test my notes were far and few in between. I tried to look in the text book but I just stared at the small text, not absorbing information. I began to cry, frustrated from not being able to learn and exhausted from being in constant pain for so long. Before this, I was sharp witted and would soak up knowledge like a sponge. I was smart. Now, I felt like I was reduced to the ache in my head. After rereading the paragraph over and over again without comprehending it, I gave up. The next day, my head still hurt. I took the test from the teacher with a small smile and a quiet ‘thank you’. I stared at it, not knowing the majority of the answers. After the test in study hall, I might have daydreamed about life without headaches, about knowing all the answers to the tests, the possibility of AP and dual enrollment classes for senior year. Instead I balled up my sweatshirt and laid my head on it, staring vacantly into space as my head throbbed.