Cigarette stubs, ashes piled in a heap, the strong smell of nicotine lingering in the air. I take a deep breath, and then breathe out slowly. The smoking shelter, my second home. I heave a sigh, shoulders slumming back as I slouch on the bench, it's been a long day but one more lesson and it's finally over.

My heart pounds in my head, causing me to frown in displeasure. Palms become clammy, knees wobble as if they're about to give way. My conscience speaks to me 'just one, what's the worst that could happen?' I slum forward, back arched over, reaching out for a cigarette that lay in my pocket with several crumpled wrappers. Sparking it to life, it catches the flame and begins to burn.

Placing it between my lips, I let it sit there for a moment, breathing in the toxins, as it awakens me. It feels so good, so right! Just then as I begin to relax, my insides begin to burn, my throat become dry, it's happening again...quickly I breathe out, forming a cloud before me. I shake my head in despair, then smile to myself, I feel more alive, more awake.

I steady the cigarette between my fingers and gently place it between my lips, once again. I take in a deep breath and suck in the goodness, closing my eyes as I release all I had in. I feel at rest, at little calmer than before. The events of the day cross my mind; a fight between two guys, a girl soaked in snot and tears after a hard break up, and the main highlight: being lectured for arriving late. Again.

And then it hits me. Break is over. And once again. I'm late for lesson! I stub out my cigarette and stride towards the physics room, dodging passersby, ignoring the odd looks, equally avoiding eye contact. Making my way up the stairs, skipping the few first on my way up. Legs ache, and for what seems like a day I make it to the top of the staircase, straightening myself up. I stride towards the door. Stop. Gather my emotions. Put on a blank face. I can hear the excited chatter from inside the room, the scraping of chairs and the joyful laughs erupting the room. I'm ready; the tension begins to build inside me, the toxins rush to my head, dizziness, headache, sweat, all the after affects. Heck why now? Hand on the door knob, I twist and push open the door and enter the room, heads turn in my direction, and the class quietens. Chairs shuffle in their places, and then a voice says 'here he is, late again!' I glare in the direction it came from, as the class applause the voice in giggles.

I take my seat, front desk. Fish out a pen, open the text book. And glance up at the dozens of eyes staring right at me. The tension builds inside me, ignoring the stares I glance down at the book planted on my desk, words, numbers equations all float around in my head, caffeine wasn't the wakeup call I needed. Back turned away from the eyes that bore in to me, i stare blankly ahead i have to say something, letting my thoughts ponder for a moment and the stares melt in to my skin gathering up my confidence I turn and face the gawking eyes, let out a silent sigh, straighten my shoulders and swallow. My voice disrupts the silence, echoing through the room 'right class, turn to page 45, read the text and answer the questions on the board, answers will be on my desk by then end of the lesson.'