As the orange dawn crept over the west horizon, Fabio slammed the snooze button for the third time. Then the fourth. Then the-
Fabio decided the first day of school was a special day, so he got out of bed the fifth time his alarm rang. But Fabio did not know how special the day truly was.
This year could be different, it’s fifth grade. Wanda and Maggie had bullied Fabio since the first grade and Fabio would prefer anything -anything- to being thrown in the recycling bin everyday during lunch. Or, at least he thought he would prefer anything.
As Fabio walked to Marie Curie Elementary School, he couldn’t help but notice things were different. The sun warmed the wrong side of his face. His fellow pedestrians greeted each other, instead of gluing their eyes to their smartphones. The birds were retweeting instead of tweeting.
It was the same way at school as well. The teachers were skipping, the jocks were calculating and the toilets were clean. Fabio was beginning to grow quite suspicious, but then he spotted Wanda. Not too far behind her was Maggie. Forgetting all clean toilets, Fabio turned around to dash into the nearest safe place, but instead ran into the Head of Discipline. The Head of Discipline was built like Sommer Ray’s behind and running into him was like galloping into a cinder block wall. Despite his unusual apologies, the collision with him still hurt, and Fabio needed time to recover after that.
“Here, let me help you up,” a fear arousing voice said.
Fabio was about to scramble away from Wanda when she grabbed Fabio’s hand and actually helped him up. He cringed, waiting for her to smack him or something worse.
“Oh no,” an equally scary voice said, “Are you hurt?”
Fabio looked at Maggie and shook his head, still expectant.
“Of course you’re not,” Maggie continued, giggling, “A man like you doesn’t even compare to him. You’re probably rock hard! Here, let me walk you to class!”
Without warning, she grabbed Fabio’s bicep and began walking towards her homeroom. Fabio stayed planted in the hallway, unable to imagine what unthinkable thing they could be planning.
“You coming?” Maggie asked cheerfully, swinging her hip against Fabio’s.
Fabio only squeaked in return, barely shuffling to his fate.
“Ugh!” Wanda exclaimed, “Maggie, you’re obviously taking him to the wrong homeroom, he’s not in your class. Come on!” she turned to Fabio, “I’ll walk you to your right class!”
The warning bell rang, emitting the sound of singing unicorns, so Fabio took that opportunity to run. He was almost home free, the door was in sight when the gym teacher caught him by the shirt. She very happily told him that he was going the wrong way, and offered to show him to his class.
When Fabio did make it to his classroom, he expected it to smell like the first day of school: Dread and full body sweat. But instead it smelled of Pine-Sol and miracles. Something is not right, Fabio mused as he took the last empty seat. He was so busy smelling the miracles he did not even notice that he was sitting next to Wanda. That is, until she began to squee about how nice his haircut looked.
“That’s ridiculous,” Fabio retorted, “My hair never looks good.”
Wanda pulled out a compact mirror and opened it for Fabio to gawk at. He gasped. Instead of looking like a deformed coconut, he mirrored a young Justin Trudeau. Today is not okay. Fabio told himself.
When lunch finally rolled around, Fabio opened his locker to find a handwritten note waiting for him.
Meet me behind the recycling bins. <3 <3 During lunch or else… ;) ;)
- You know who ;) <3
Fabio did know who. Wanda had very recognizable printing. And he knew that he had to meet her, because the, “Or else,”s were always worse. Although this time, instead of skulls and crossbones, there were hearts and winky faces, but that wasn’t going to fool Fabio. He met her prepared for pain.
“Heeyy, Fabio!” Wanda greeted, slinging an arm around his waist.
“Let’s just get on with it,” Fabio squeaked.
“You’re like totally right!” Wanda giggled, “I know you feel the same way about me as I feel about you, right?”
Fabio nodded, then all hell broke loose. He assumed the way Wanda felt about him was bad until she leaned in and gave him a big bear hug. Fabio was still much weaker than Wanda so he could not break free. He would’ve much rather been recycled. After a disgusting eternity, Wanda suddenly pulled away.
“Oh thank God!” Fabio sighed.
“Oh! Wanda I cannot believe you would just go and steal my man like this! What kind of friend are you?!” Maggie was standing to the side, rage overtaking her countenance.
“A good friend!” Wanda spat back, “He clearly loves me more, and this was the only way to break it to you. I’m just helping you guys sort out your feelings!”
“Feelings?!” Maggie screeched, “You don’t know anything about how I feel! How could you?! The only one who understands me is Fabio!”
Fabio had never been more void of understanding in his life. Before that day, Wanda and Maggie had been simple. They hated Fabio and loved making him suffer. Together. Fabio was sure they had never fought in all their years of best friendship and no boy was going to change that. Especially not him. Fabio was about to voice his thoughts when Maggie suddenly grabbed him and began a sequel of Wanda’s performance. But thankfully, Maggie wasn’t as strong as Wanda, so Fabio was able to squirm free.
“Ladies!” Fabio had always imagined himself giving a speech to Wanda and Maggie, the kind that would inspire them, or at least overwhelm them with guilt so that they’d leave him alone, but not like this, “I don’t know what has gotten into you! You guys are best friends. No boy should get in between you! Your guys’ bond is so much stronger than this! Besties before buys! Bros before-”
“Oh em gee! Fabio you’re so wise!” Wanda crooned.
“Of course!” said Maggie, grabbing Wanda into a hug. They apologized to each other and continued hugging. When they detached, Fabio was standing there with an accomplished grin on his lips even though the sappy, lovesick grins Wanda and Maggie gave back were the most disturbing thing he had ever seen. Girls were none of his concern.
The next time Fabio was being shoved in a big blue bin, he thought back to September 3, 2012, the day when the sun rose in the west.