Allow me to set the scene; if you’ll let me. It was a Sunday evening, the worst kind of evening if you ask me. You know you’ll spend a Sunday casually chilling in your house, maybe you’ve just gotten home from a church service. Maybe you’re planning to go out. Sunday’s are beautiful. All the casual events happen on Sundays, and they’re just so relaxing….
Until it’s Sunday evening and you start regretting all your life choices. Let me sound it out for you. Sunday comes before Monday. Monday equals school, and school equals sadness. And Sunday night…is dreadful. No one likes school; I certainly don’t. I mean, what’s more enticing than spending 7 hours or more sitting in a classroom learning about things, in which 90% of said things are tidbits of advice you will never use in your day-to-day life.
What is more thrilling than having to face people who probably don’t like you, who you don’t like, or even worse…people you like but don’t like you back. What’s more exciting than stressing over homework, projects, and your reputation?
ANYWAY, I got a bit off-track there. A side effect of nervous ranting I’m afraid. So, to reiterate, it was indeed a Sunday evening. I’d eaten dinner, taken a shower, brushed my teeth, and put on my pajamas (my pajamas in this case being a Hamilton shirt and my volleyball shorts). And I did not want to go to bed. And no I don’t mean it in the 5-year-old “I DON’T WANNA GO TO BED! I WANNA WATCH PEPPA PIG AND BE A MENACE TO MY PARENTS!” kind of way. I meant in an “Oh geez I can’t go to sleep nor do I want to go sleep,” kind of way.
Because here’s the thing, spit had hit the fan the past Friday, and I hadn’t been on any social media or chat platform the past weekend out of fear. I was not excited to go to school tomorrow. The flames were hot, and I was not in possession of any sunscreen. Not to mention there was a math test that Monday, and I just was not looking forward to any of the boring lessons I would be forced to listen to the next day. Going to bed meant admitting that I was ready to face whatever the next day had in store for me, and that was just not true.
So I lay there in bed, considering my options. I could stay up really late and try to oversleep. That way I’d have to miss school. Knowing my school though, they’d announce all the important information the one day I wasn’t there. I didn’t feel like risking it.
Maybe there’d be a rainstorm so bad they’d have to let us stay home. Or maybe we’d have a mass quarantine all of a sudden. The number of kids not wearing masks in classrooms could trigger it. That might be a stretch though, if there was a quarantine they wouldn’t announce it on Monday. At best they would consider something on Wednesday.
Okay Marie, think, I told myself as I lay awake in bed. There had to be something. Maybe I could try backtracking the events on Friday. If I got the situation straight, I could decide how to best avoid any conversation or confrontation.
Now, it was your average Friday. Or, as average as a Friday can get. My friend Christie and I were chilling in homeroom. We were talking about…something. Homeroom conversations aren’t valid conversations, just ways to kill time. So anyway, we were approached by Nadia Tveit. There’s not much to say about Nadia, but she is well-known among our grade. She has a lot of friends, knows stuff no one should know, and she’s an alright singer. In terms of “personality,” I can’t say much. She’s just always…existed. And people like her so she must be doing something right.
She approached us and sat down at an empty desk next to me. I of course was terrified, but Christie just seemed annoyed.
“Nadia what the heck do you want?” she said in a not-very-kind way.
“Geez, Chris relax. I’m not gonna bite the poor girl’s head off,” she said in a tone that only slightly sounded like she wanted to bite someone's head off.
She turned towards me, “Now. Marie, is it? I need your help.”
“With what?” I found myself asking.
“You know Ms. Roberts. Our pre-algebra teacher? I wasn’t here yesterday and the assignment makes no sense. You wouldn’t mind helping me out?” she smiled, but something in her eyes made it seem like I would perish if I said no. So obviously, I said yes.
“Great!” she slid next to me and pulled out her homework. I tried to help her with it, and I think she understood. The only real problem was Christie glaring daggers at us the entire time, but like a smart person, I decided to ignore it.
Nadia left, homeroom ended, I went to my classes. I couldn’t help but notice that Nadia kept approaching me the entire day, asking for small favors. It was strange, but I decided it wasn’t the worst thing that could happen. Until the day was over.
I got on the bus and went to the back as I usually do, and there was Nadia. And next to her sat Christie.
“Gimme a sec, Marie. Nadia and I are having a little chat,” Christie said with such intensity I was honestly a bit scared. By then, I knew Christie and Nadia obviously had some kind of beef. I wasn’t dense, just selectively ignorant. I wasn’t going to meddle in matters bigger than me though, so I sat in the seat behind them. Just casually eavesdropping, don’t mind me. The conversation I heard…was the thing currently keeping me awake.
“Nadia I swear to God. Whatever you want with Marie, just stop. I don’t know what your intentions are, but I know they’re anything but noble.” Christie whisper-hissed.
“Me? Marie’s just smart. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask her for help now and then. Kindness goes a long way,” Nadia replied with about as much nonchalance as a parent trying to have a conversation while balancing a toddler in their arms. In other words, it sounded pretty fake.
“You’re not that kind of person. You want something from her I know it. So? Spill. Clothes, test answers, her dignity?” Christie wasn’t having it.
“Chris. What kind of person do you take me for?”
“A terrible one. And don’t call me Chris. We’re not friends,”
“Really? I thought we were…” I could practically hear the taunting tone in Nadia’s voice. After a beat, she sighed.
“Okay. You want the truth? Truly, and honestly? I just want to annoy you,” Nadia admitted.
“...What?” Christie sounded offended.
“I said what I said. You were so angry and bitter and sad after we stopped hanging out, and then suddenly you met Marie. You guys are the cutest best friends I’ve seen in school….and then annoyed me. You were funnier when you were grumpy and heartbroken.”
I froze in my seat. I’d seen villains on TV before, but hearing someone say something so borderline psychotic on a school bus was a bit scary.
Christie said a word that probably shouldn’t be uttered on a school bus full of sixth-graders, but she did. Nadia just laughed.
And that’s when Christie gave Nadia a bloody nose.
Pro-tip: If you see two teen girls on a school bus going at it, don’t join the fray
Alas, that’s what a few sixth-grade boys did. And soon, the bus became an all-out brawl. Let’s just say the bus driver was pissed.
And now I’m here. On a Sunday evening, terrified of what might happen. Will I have to go to the office? Would Nadia lie and say I caused this somehow? Would Christie get in trouble? Who would get hurt? Would kids get suspended? And what was my place in this mess?
So, friends, that is my situation. Lying in bed, determined not to fall asleep so I wouldn’t have to deal with a bunch of bs tomorrow. Determined to find a way to ride out the storm. Whether I had to lie about being sick, or refuse to talk to anyone the entire day. But I knew one thing for sure, I was not going to fall a-
Oh. Would you look at that? …I fell asleep-