Craig is aware that it is Monday and that he “should be at school” instead of in a psychiatric hospital. He checks his phone messages. Aaron has left a message apologizing about his previous call. He explains that he “got in a big fight” with Nia and suspects that he may be depressed as well. Craig leaves him a message telling him how to seek help if he is depressed but explains that Aaron shouldn’t visit, because he wants to “keep in here and the outside world as separate as possible.”
Craig has another message from his science teacher. He calls him back and leaves a message explaining that he is unable to do the labs on time but can provide documentation from doctors caring for him.
Craig’s third message is from a girl named Jenna, one of Nia’s friends. She explains that she struggles with depression as well, and she says she is impressed at Craig’s bravery. Craig calls her back, suggesting that they can “hang out” next week. Muqtada has emerged from his room and has an encounter with Solomon. Craig gets another phone call, this time from his principal, Mr. Janowitz. Craig hangs up the phone.
Craig thinks that he hasn’t experienced any real success and even wonders if his depression is actually just an excuse. He feels “the Cycling roaring up,” and worries that he will be expelled. He wants to vomit but is unable to. He goes to his room to lay down.
Craig meets with Dr. Minerva and tells her that he is worried that he will be expelled. Craig tells Dr. Minerva how he came to Six North. He explains that although he is feeling “much, much better” he wonders if he is truly better or “just lulled into a false sense of security by this fake environment.”
Dr. Minerva asks Craig about his art and about his relationship with Noelle. She suggests that Craig is good at making friends, and Craig argues that it’s easier to make friends in Six North because there’s “no pressure.” In Six North, tasks are simple and his days are occupied; the only “Tentacles” are the phone calls he receives.
Dr. Minerva asks Craig if there are any “Anchors” in Six North, and he replies that the people are anchors. Dr. Minerva tells him that people “don’t make good Anchors” because they change. She notes that romantically charged relationships change even more quickly. Craig tells Dr. Minerva that “it would suck to kill [himself].” He explains that he doesn’t want to live like Muqtada. Dr. Minerva asks again if Craig has found anything that could be an Anchor. Craig feels something “at the tip of my brain-tongue” but can’t find an answer.
Dr. Minerva calls Craig’s principal. To Craig’s relief, Mr. Janowitz tells him that he has “the school’s full support” and can be flexible in helping him make up his missed time. Craig is still not excited at the prospect of going back to school, however, knowing that all of his responsibilities are still waiting for him.
Craig plays cards with Armelio, Johnny, Humble, Ebony, and the Professor. Bobby arrives, wearing Craig’s shirt. He announces that he got into the home he wanted, and the group celebrates with him. Bobby hugs Craig; Craig reflects on his own problems in comparison to what Bobby faces. Craig thinks, “If Bobby can get a place to live… then I can get a life worth living.”
Bobby tricks Craig with fake dog poop on the back of his shirt. As the group plays cards, Humble and the Professor begin to argue. Humble throws the fake dog poop at her. The Professor cries that her nose is broken, and Joanie calls...
(The entire section contains 966 words.)
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