It was eight thirty in the morning. The school bell rang and the pupils were ushered in their class lines to their classrooms. Jenna slumped in the brown plastic chair by her individual desk at the back, exhausted and in a foul mood. She spied Casey, laughing and joking with two classmates by the door.
“Seats please.” The teacher scribbled notes on the board and waited for silence. Casey sat right in front of Jenna. She spun round and flashed her a grin. Jenna remained stoney-faced. Perplexed, she turned around and rummaged around in her bag for her books, ready for the first class of the day.
Jenna’s eyes drilled a hole through her adversary’s auburn hair, deep into her skull. The rage she directed towards her deafened and blinded her to anything else. Miss goody two-shoes had to be brought down a peg or two! After what seemed five minutes, someone was trying to communicate with her.
“Jenna?” The teacher’s voice.
“Jenna?” The voice was more insistent.
“Who would you like to work with?” For what? She hadn’t a clue what had transpired in class. And she needed more information.
“For your assignment,” the teacher replied impatiently. Another one? Exams were over and the summer holidays would be starting in a week. The unfairness of it all! It felt like she was on an exam and coursework conveyor belt. She hesitated. She had no idea who was already paired up and who was still available. But she knew one thing. Anything was better than being paired with Casey.
“We’ll work together.” The enthusiastic voice from in front replied.
There was no time to respond. “That’s settled then,” said the teacher. The class rose and headed for the door. The class was over already?
Jenna scooped up her possessions and filed out, eyes firmly fixed on the classroom exit. “Hey, wait!” a familiar voice called out after her. Jenna turned round to see a smiling Casey. “I’m so glad we’re together.”
“I don’t want to be late for my next class.” Being around her made Jenna uncomfortable. She wanted to be as far away as possible.
“Art, is it? I’ve got biology.”
“I’ll see you later, Casey.” She continued walking.
“Yeah. In the playground, at break time?”
The sun was shining and the air was warm with all the promise of summer. Jenna loved days like this. Mostly. Pretty pink blossom floated off of the branches of a tree and spiralled down onto the bench she sat on underneath it. She unwrapped a chocolate bar and munched on it, waiting for Casey to appear.
Sure enough her adversary approached, crisp packet in her hand, a bundle of papers in the other. How irritating! She couldn’t even switch off during a break.
“Gosh, you’re such a geek!” Casey merely laughed and dropped the papers in Jenna’s lap. She sat down next to her.
“Should I come around to yours?”
For more comparisons and a father doting on someone else’s child? Jenna wouldn’t stand for it. She had to think quickly. “No can do. We’re have renovations done. It looks like a building site!”
“Oh, that’s too bad. Your dad’s really nice.” Jenna gave her best smile, trying unsuccessfully to suppress the bile rising into her mouth. “Why don’t you come around to mine instead Jenna? We can do some research and then do something fun afterwards.” Casey sounded excited. “You decide on the activity. Saturday, eleven ‘o’ clock suit you?”
“Sounds great!” Jenna lied.
With that, her nemesis walked off and mingled with the other classmates, leaving Jenna only with envy for company. Casey was so popular. Everybody adored her! What made her so special? She continued eating her chocolate bar hatching a plan. She had a week to bring her down. Next Monday in the history class. The thought both alarmed and excited her. If done well, it should silence her dad about Casey for a very long while. But what was she turning herself into?
The bell rang, and lessons resumed.
MEANWHILE…JOIN IN THE DISCUSSION (comments section below)…
- How has Jenna’s father warped Jenna’s perception of her friend Casey?
- Why do we try to bring other people down?
- Does humiliating and hurting others really make you feel better?
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