You've been invited to the St. Mary's high school class of '14 reunion dinner. It would be great if you could come.'
What a scumbag reunion, I scuffed. They should rename it the "reunion of backstabbing and phoney friendship."
I'm not sure why they still want to see their backstabbing faces; of course, many individuals will turn up merely to brag; I wouldn't even go to such a meal.
St. Mary's High School was a school in the western part of Ghana that was known for producing great people who would eventually help society develop.
It was also a pricey school that only the wealthy could afford, and it was full of snobs who had been born with a giant spoon shoved down their throat.
When I received a fully paid scholarship to that godforsaken hell, my parents were overjoyed; at first, I rejoiced because the school was known to be the best among others, but.....
"Oh sure, my daughter received the scholarship," mother enthused to a friend who had dropped by unexpectedly.
We weren't poor; we belonged to the middle-high class in society, so we weren't poor, but we weren't particularly wealthy either, and the school fees were quite high for boarding and day school.
I wasn't the only child; I had younger and older siblings, and as the middle child, I was mostly ignored, which I didn't mind.
I privately rolled my eyes, pleading with her not to brag about me because if I made a mistake, I'd be an embarrassment to my family. Well, not that I intend to do so, but even so... ah
'Oh sure, no pressure,' I thought.
This was the first time she boasted about me so proudly, and my shoulder felt heavier than usual.
"Susan, come say hello to your aunty," she said proudly.
I rubbed the back of my neck and walked slowly in front of the cheerful woman.
"Good afternoon, ma," I said, bowing slightly.
"Oh no, is this the Tiny Susan of a then? I recall her playing around naked."
She pretended to be surprised, which we all know was a ruse. Come on, lady, start acting in movies, acting as if she didn't just see me last Sunday.
What does my nakedness have to do with this woman, I wonder? Backing away slowly will save me from this unnecessary discussion about my diaper days.
"Yes, that's my girl," my mother said, her shoulders raised.
I wanted to palm my face, but I just excused myself.
'Women and Drama'
When school finally started, I was dressed in a pleated red skirt and a plain milk-coloured long-sleeved blouse that had been ironed. This was the dress code at the school. My cat-eye shaped glass fit perfectly on my face, thanks to two neat cornrows in my hair.
I wanted to make a good impression on my first day, and I wanted to make a good impression on my teachers and classmates.
I repositioned my glasses on the bridge of my nose and grabbed my bag strap, allowing my sweaty palm to wet it.
'You can do it; simply go to class 4 white and enter.'
Feeling encouraged, I began my journey; thirty minutes passed without my noticing, but I didn't know which way to go.
A handsome young man dressed neatly approached me.
'Ask him,' I told myself, but I couldn't muster the courage to do so. I turned away from him, hoping he wouldn't notice my perplexity.
'You don't see me, you don't notice me.'
'Ah, he noticed,' I thought as I slowly turned to meet his smiling eyes.
"I've been watching you for a while now, you look lost," he said, making me look down in shame.
'I was actually lost.' I wanted to say something, but I bit my lower lip.
"As a new student, there's nothing to be embarrassed about, so what class are you in?"
"Class 4 white sir," I'm glad I recovered my speech; today can't get any worse.
"Oh, that's my class, I'm the teacher in charge of that class," he said with a small smile as he walked away, knowing instantly that he wanted me to follow him, so I did.
When we arrived at the class, he opened the door for me like a gentleman, and I thanked him as I walked in.
"Good day, sir!" The students in the classroom rose to their feet and greeted the teacher.
"Sit down," he said, his voice becoming louder and his aura more authoritative.
Everyone sat down and stared at him, making no noise.
"This is a new student," he said, motioning to me, "please introduce yourself."
When the students finally noticed my presence, I flinched; this was the moment that would make or break my future in this classroom.
"My name is Susan Green, and I'm new."
"We know you're a new dummy," a female student joked and the others laughed.
My brain had just exploded on me, and the girl was looking at me with a smirk and a raised brow. She was so beautiful, and it was androgynous beauty, that I stared at her dazedly as she turned to talk to her friend. My palm began to sweat as I became hot.
'Dear God, not today,' I say.
"Shut up Marie, we know you like attention, but we don't have enough for you," the teacher said, rolling his eyes at the girl.
The other students laughed as they sat down, and the teacher turned to show me an empty seat in the first row, third seat.
'The window seat is fantastic.' At the very least, something is working in my favour today.
"I am Mr Michael, your class teacher as well as your geography teacher," he introduced himself before beginning his class.
Marie and I became enemies, or more accurately, she made me her enemy for no apparent reason.
I was able to make two best friends, Sandra and Annie, who people quickly turned into a clique, and wherever we went, Marie and her minions tried to make things difficult for me.
I quickly grew accustomed to it and was no longer bothered by her; she was popular among the boys and her boyish behaviour made her appear to be one of them.
Time flew by and it was my final term at St. Mary's High School. I had witnessed some crazy things and survived some backstabbing, and when we returned to school, I discovered that my two friends were dating guys from other classes, which made me happy for them.
I had no intention of joining them in this childish dating, but Marie was now approaching me whenever she saw I was alone, and she came without her minions.
I was concerned at first, but after noticing she wasn't as hostile as before and instead spoke calmly to me, I became suspicious that she was plotting something big against me.
Our Math teacher did not show up one day during afternoon class, so I felt pressed and excused myself from my friends, telling them I needed to use the restroom. They both nodded, so I went on my own.
I didn't realize they were following me until I entered the large female bathroom and looked at myself in the large mirror before entering one of the stalls to relieve myself. When I finished, I went to the sink to wash my hands, and when I looked up at the mirror, I was surprised to see Marie staring at me with dark eyes.
“Hey Marie,” I said.
She seemed to snap out of her thought and smiled shyly at me; I decided not to point out her red cheeks because she had white and black parents, literally a white father from America and her mother from Ghana.
I moved to leave, but she stopped me; I took a step back and looked up at her. She was about 6ft 2 inches tall, which was a full foot taller than me.
“Can I assist you, Marie?”
“I have something to tell you,” she said as she moved closer to me, continuing, “I really like you and I can't stop myself.”
'Wait, what?' Before I could think of anything, she kissed me, and it was my first kiss stolen by Marie.
I couldn't move because I was too shocked, so she kept kissing me; my lips felt tingly, and her lips felt so soft on mine. I pushed her away and rushed back to class, picking up my bag and running out of the school when I heard the bell for the end of the day.
Throughout, I kept wiping my lips and refusing to eat with my family because I was afraid they would find out what happened at school. My family did not stop me, so I ran into my room and tried to read to distract myself from what had happened.
‘I should feel disgusted,' I kept telling myself.
A week passed, a week of avoiding Marie as if my life depended on it, a week of feeling my best friends' disgust and anger when they thought I wasn't looking.
It was almost a month before my last exam at this school when I was summoned to the principal's office, where I found my crying mother and stern-looking father, who was rubbing her back in comfort, waiting for me.
“Good afternoon, sir,” I said, then looked at my parents, concerned about what had happened to them and hoping that my siblings were doing well.
I left home, and everyone was fine, so what was the problem?
“Susan, I have a question for you, but first look at this,” the principal said, picking up his phone and placing it in front of me, urging me to press play, which I did with shaking hands.
It was a video of Marie kissing me, with my face visible but not Marie's. My hands and feet were cold, and I could feel bile moving up my throat.
“Isn't this you kissing a fellow female student in the girl's bathroom?” His words left no room for me to explain. If I said no, it was obviously a lie, and if I said yes, I would have major problems.
I remained silent, and my mother's sob grew louder as if they had murdered her favourite child.
“Your silence is confirmation, and some female students accused you of sexually harassing them,” he stated matter-of-factly. I'm not sure when I did this.
“I didn't-” the principal cut me off as I was about to defend myself, turning to my parents and saying.
“The council decided to let your daughter graduate, but she would be suspended before her exams and would write her papers from a special centre, and that is all we can do for her because of her good grades.”
This was the start of my downfall, as I returned to the classroom to pack my books and bag. Everyone looked at me, some with disgust, others with laughter, and a few with sadness and pity.
Sandra and Annie mocked me and hurled insults at me, so I fought back tears and stormed out of the classroom. On my way to meet my parents, I was followed by a red-eyed Marie who claimed she wasn't the one and that if she had known someone was there, she wouldn't have done anything.
I simply ignored her and got into my parents' car; they didn't say anything to me until we got home. They called my eldest sister and explained what was going on, and my two younger siblings discovered what was going on and avoided me like a pledge; my life had already been shattered as a result of me allowing Marie too close.
When I finished my exams and the results were released, my parents packed all of my belongings and threw me out, saying they had never had an abomination of a daughter. I cried and begged them, telling them I was innocent, but they didn't care.
When my immediate elder brother found out what they did, he tracked me down during a storm and picked me up, taking me to his apartment since he had stopped living with our parents when he finished university.
He called our elder sister in New York and told her what our parents had done, and she was furious.
“They shouldn't have done this, which is why whenever I called, they always gave me one stupid excuse after another.”
I finally said, "I didn't do what they accused me of." I finally had someone to explain things to, and their next words surprised me.
“We know you didn't harass anyone sexually, and even if you aren't straight, that doesn't give anyone the right to hurt you,” my brother said, and I sobbed. I felt warmth again for the first time in two months after the tears I had been holding in for so long finally poured out.
After spending a week with my brother, my sister finally revealed that she was working on my papers to move to New York and live with her and her in-laws. She also assured me that our parents would not be aware of anything.
That was five years ago, and I was able to start a better life in New York; I was a made woman, and I was proud of my accomplishments.
I'd travelled to Ghana with my sister because our brother was getting married, and I wasn't going to miss it for the world.
“Susan, you should go to the dinner,” my sister and her husband had been trying to persuade me to go because my brother's wedding was in a few weeks and we had arrived earlier.
It was during these leisure days that I received the email in my inbox; I was still using the old account for some personal matters that were not particularly important.
I agreed and decided to attend after their persuasion, so I rented a car that I used to drive myself and went shopping for something new.
Finally, the day of the dinner arrived, and I dressed perfectly as usual and styled my hair; I had gotten rid of my glasses a few years ago, and now my honey brown eyes were on display.
When I arrived at 8 p.m., they had already laid out a red carpet and photographers were photographing people. I parked my car and walked into the hall, ignoring the cameras and continuing to wear my dark sunglasses.
‘It's time to watch the drama.'
I sat in the corner of the hall on an empty table, watching everyone do whatever they wanted.
“Excuse me, is this chair already taken?” I shook my head, not looking at the individual.
After a few minutes, each table was full of people, and I recognized some of my classmates and the principal.
‘Irritating bunch of humans,' I grumbled as they introduced everyone present until they said her name.
“Marie Peyton, please greet everyone,” the Mc, who I recognized as the former student body president, said with a smile.
The person next to me rose to their feet, and I looked at her in surprise. She was dressed in a pants suit with a bow tie, and her hairstyle was ideal for the occasion.
When my name was called, people began to spread rumours about how I died on the street and how I became pregnant.
‘It's time to stun them.'
I stood up and walked towards the stage, my head held high because I was here to ruin their celebration and be petty for a change.
I took the microphone from the stunned MC and let out a light chuckle at everyone's expression.
“Oh hello there, those who don't remember me,” I paused for emphasis before continuing. “I am Susan Green, the scapegoat,” I said, my gaze meeting the shocked expressions of Sandra and Annie.
I came prepared, and let's just say my brother got enough dirt on them and saved it for me, so I discovered my so-called best friend was the real devil who wanted me to suffer.
I gave the people in charge of the media equipment a flash drive to show them what was on it.
Every little secret of theirs was playing in the background, as were my innocence to their framing. I walked out wearing my shades again after dropping the bomb.
'Haha, I ended the dinner before it started,' they can try to explain to their husbands who sat next to them at the table.
When I got to my car, I breathed a sigh of relief and went to open the door when a hand grabbed mine.
“Susan, please don't leave me like you did the last time,” Marie and her tall self were the source of my predicament.
“What exactly do you want?” I asked calmly, feeling the warmth on my face. It's a good thing it was dark because my skin tone wouldn't have given me away.
“Can we talk, perhaps over a drink?” She rubbed the back of her neck.
There was nothing wrong with us drinking together, so I nodded, and she happily fist pumped before opening the car door for me and entering the passenger's side.
“What exactly are you doing in my car?”
“I don't trust you enough to not disappear again, so drive woman,” she said, and I laughed lightly before driving off into the night.