Please have this story read by Monday 10/18
“A New Beginning” by Liz Ryan
She hung her head as she trudged through the hall, attempting to block out the ceaseless chants that followed her every step. They made faces, jeered her, and poked fun at her. Her hair and her clothes, her intelligence and her artistic nature — they were all abnormal. She wore tight black jeans ripped at the knees, a tight black shirt, and chunky black combat boots. She had a silver ring through her nose and eight other silver rings in each ear. Her eyes were dark with black makeup and her hair was dark purple and cut extremely short. She was an outcast, and everything about her exhibited that .
She finally approached her locker — she was in safe territory now and was free to relax. She turned the combination lock and her locker swung open. Her books came tumbling down in an avalanche, cascading from their usually neat position. She picked up her math notebook and saw that raw egg dripped slimily off it onto the floor. She stood speechless. These books had all her notes, her entire work for the year in them. These books, which she had so painstakingly organized and written so neatly, were ruined. Not to mention, the books that belonged to school were wrecked as well. They were going to take hours to dry.
Cindy, a nice girl whose locker was across from hers, witnessed the entire thing. What a horrible thing to do – what did she ever do to them? she thought. She was about to go over and help her when her boyfriend Kyle slipped his arm around her. ”Original, huh?” he whispered in her ear, chuckling. Cindy didn’t know what to say; she had her reputation and Kyle’s reputation to think bout. Well, not her reputation, but her appearance in the public eye. She was a typical cheerleader, a really popular and well-liked girl, and had been for a long time. Kyle was the football captain and equal in popularity. They were the “perfect” couple, high school sweethearts if you will. If Cindy did or said anything that was against Kyle or any of his friends, she would be looked down upon; she had to go with the flow. She gave a half-hearted “yeah” while still watching Chloe, the poor girl, struggle with her slimy books. Kyle pulled her attention away and back to him. “So are you coming to the game?” “What? Oh…yeah,” she said, pulling her eyes reluctantly from the scene. “What’s up with you Cindy? It’s just Chloe. Nobody likes her. You don’t feel bad, now do you?” he said. “Oh! No, no of course, I mean, wait—” she sighed, “let’s just go to lunch, shall we?” she said.
They walked down the corridor to lunch with Chloe still on Cindy’s mind. Entering the bustling cafeteria students were seen yelling across the room; the cool kids carrying trays and the geeks with their bagged lunches. The cool people were on the left side, the rest on the right side. Cindy got into the lunch line with Kyle and met up with her friend Alicia. Alicia pulled her to the side. “So, are you going to the prom with Kyle?” she asked. ”I’m not sure yet, he hasn’t asked me,” she replied quietly. “Not sure? What do you mean! You and Kyle have been going out for, like, ever!” she exclaimed. ”Well, y-you never know, he’s a senior an-and we’re only s-sophomores,” she said, even more timidly. “He’ll ask you.” The finality of this statement signified that the conversation was over.
Alicia, she thought, had a tendency to be very controlling and authoritative like that. Come to think of it, all of her friends had traits that were, to say, slightly irksome: Alicia was pushy, Sarah was always complaining, Jesse was obsessive for materialistic things, and they were all really superficial. She wasn’t pleased with any of her friends’ behaviors, but it was a privilege to be a member of their group, so she didn’t complain.
Chloe took a handkerchief out of her pocket and wiped the slimy egg off of her book. It was foul, but she managed to get off a fair amount. Sometimes she became so frustrated. She felt as if the entire world was against her. She hadn’t a single friend in the school. Sure, she had had friends in the past, but she had been desultory and shallow, and she didn’t like being that way. It made her think about what was important to her, which she now knew was her family and her art. She gathered her books in the crook of her arm and slammed her locker shut. The hallway was deserted now, and she was off to the library to study. Everyone was either in lunch or in classes.
The library was nearly deserted except for a few stragglers checking out books or reading in corners. She greeted the librarian who had come to know her from her daily visitations. She took a seat at an empty table and dropped her books. It made a tremendous crash in the silent library and it startled her and the rest of the population. “Sorry!” she whispered. She opened her book and began to read its tiny print. After awhile, she became lost in it, as she always did, even though she needed to do her schoolwork. Reading gave her a way out of her life and into another of her choice. She went to places away from snotty cheerleaders and selfish little princesses that dominated the population of high school. Oh how glorious it was to read!
Cindy sat down at her table in her usual spot on the left side of the lunchroom at the third table from the stage in-between Alicia and Sarah. Kyle sat down across from her and gave her a covert wink. She smiled and looked away. Jesse and a couple other girls started talking about prom and hair and bathing suit season and whatnot. Kyle and all of his macho friends began talking about the big game on Saturday and weightlifting and other insipid male topics.
For a moment, everything in the lunchroom looked different. She realized that what she was doing was inevitably trite and she had the sudden urge to get up and leave, but she suppressed it. I’m lucky, she thought forcefully, I’m popular and I have a cute boyfriend and I have what every high school girl wants! Suddenly, all of those things weren’t important to her anymore. These were trivial matters that didn’t affect her future or her value and worth as a person. Her life was in shambles, and her future was going to be affected. These people weren’t going anywhere in life and she realized that. She rose from her seat at the table. “Where are you going, honey?” Kyle called to her back. She didn’t reply.
Walking out of the lunchroom she thought of where to go. Unable to think, she continued on to wherever her feet were taking her. She pulled off her cheerleading jacket and folded it in her arms. Suddenly, she looked up — she was exactly where she had wanted to be all along. She pushed open the door and greeted the librarian with a cheerful smile. She sat down at a table, startling the girl seated there. The girl gave her a skeptical look. Her face began to soften when she realized that she wasn’t to be harmed. Cindy reached out her hand. “Hi, I’m Cindy.”