The Highlighter

Written for a school assignment.

The pink highlighter sat in the jar. It wasn’t sure if today was a happy day or not. It wasn’t sure about a lot anymore. It wanted, some days, to be used, dragged across the paper leaving a bright pink trail behind. Some days it also didn’t want to be used because, it knew, eventually it would run out of ink and then be thrown away. The highlighter was curious about what happened when it got thrown away but it didn’t want to find out for itself what happened. It was happy enough in the little house, it sat in the jar and occasionally would get used to highlight Tuesday or Wednesday on the calender that hung on the wall. It was always a bittersweet moment for the highlighter, it loved the feeling of being useful and having a a purpose but it knew that every little bit it was used meant that much closer to running dry of ink. It sometimes wished that it had been a  double size highlighter, so it would have had a longer life. It was happy, it supposed. It liked being highlighter and not a pen. Pens had a much shorter lifespan than highlighters, especially since not as many people used highlighters these days.

It wondered sometimes about the other things in the jar beside it, a blue pen, two black ones, a pencil that had no eraser, a few more pencils that never got used because the lead always fell out. It couldn’t talk to the other things but it was aware that they were there and knew about them in a way. It wished it could talk to them, ask them what they thought about getting used up, if it was better to be used all the time or to just sit quietly in the jar. The highlighter spent most of it’s time worrying about this. It had been bought from a dollar store ten years ago and back then it hadn’t worried about running out of ink. It had highlighted many things, never wondering if the pink flow would stop, assuming it would just keep coming.

It was invincible.

After a  few years it could feel that it was running out of ink. After this point it started to hide, stayed in the back of the jar, let the hands get a pen or a pencil, not the highlighter. Occasionally it would be grabbed despite its efforts and dragged across files, the hands cruelly using more than they needed, leaving great smears of pinkish ink all over the word they intended to highlight. The highlighter wished it could talk, could ask the hands to be careful and only use a little bit. It would still get the rush of highlighting something but without the inevitable ending of being thrown out.

The highlighter didn’t think it would ever figure this out. It wasn’t sure if it wanted to sometimes. It wondered if other highlighters felt like this. It wished it had answers to all it’s questions. It wished it wasn’t so confused.