Assignment #2: The Monster Hall of fame.
In sixth grade we would arrange our table desks into groupings of five or six. We were groups, capable of earning points and compliments from our teachers. Each group had a name, like a team, along with a drawing that best represented us. My group team were the Rushmores, complete with a portrait of Mt. Rushmore with our faces instead of dead president’s, drawn by yours truly.
The team was all girls, my best friend for kindergarten, the class popularity queen, the girl with fragile bones that were always broken, and the queen’s shadow. Sometimes I thought I was there by default, not really fitting in with the girls who seemed to be overly obsessed with boys, magazines, flavored chapstick, and what dress they were going to wear to the school dance.
I could care less. I was friends with the boys, at lunch I sat at their table and during recess I played with them on the soccer field, or I sat on the bleachers and cheered them on. Jeans and sneakers were my fashion statement, and I only liked flavored chapsticks if it were something tasty, like Dr. Pepper. That was just who I was and I was okay with it.
One frigid February afternoon, after lunch, the boys set out to take the soccer field. I perched myself on the silver steel bleachers, content to hold my friend, Diego’s keys and cheer him on. I had brought a notebook out with me and busied myself with doodles and sketches. At the sound of the whistle, everyone lined up ready to go back to education and leaving the recess field for the next day’s adventures.
Diego chatted with me as we walked in, taking our usual spots at the front of the line. He had scored a winning goal against his arch nemesis, Kevin, just before the whistle blew and he was riding the emotional high that came along with winning. I laughed, unzipping my jacket as we walked into our classroom.
My desk was missing from the Rushmore table.
It hit me like a baseball bat to the chest. My desk, alone with my fuzzy purple pen dangling out next to my favorite purple marble notebook. Alone and dead center in the classroom. I hesitated, not understanding how my desk got up and walked away. The rest of the class shuffled in behind me, chatting about various things and putting their things away.
Something white glared from the top of my desk. With what seemed to be an entire roll of scotch tape, a piece of loose-leaf paper was plastered on the top of my desk. I slid into my chair, trying to act as normal as possible, though the whispering snickers started to stab me from behind. All eyes were on me. I was center stage. I prayed the spotlight would dance somewhere else, but it just got brighter as I stared at the written message scrawled upon the immovable parchment.
The Declaration of No More Friendship
We, the former friends of Kristen, hereby decree all friendship and friendly activities be stopped immediately for the following reasons:
I swallowed a rising lump in my throat. The little inner voice that tells you to protect yourself was shouting, telling me to stop reading. But I didn’t listen. I couldn’t, what had I done that was so incredibly wrong that would warrant me a monster deserving a cessation of friendship.My eyes floated down the list.
- She thinks she is so cool, but she’s not
- She secretly does sexual things with the boys, that’s why they like her
- she’s ugly
- she’s fat
- she smells like a rabbit cage (i didn’t own a rabbit and i always smelled like the flowery perfume my aunt got me)
- her family is crazy, and so is she
- she’s mean to everyone
- her voice sounds like a cartoon being choked
- everyone hates her but won’t tell her to her face
- she thinks she’s so smart, but really she just kisses up
- her mom is sleeping with Mr. Lisinksi, that’s why she’s student of the month
- she’s so ugly her own family doesn’t even want her
- *insert a long list of other insults*
My ego, my heart, my confidence shattered and fell to the ground around me. The entire class was whispering to one another now. Salt water began to sting my eye lids, but I blinked it away before a monsoon took control of my face. I wouldn’t let them see me cry. I wouldn’t let them see me hurt. The little voice inside tried to call out to me again, telling me that none of these things were true. Once again it was ignored as my eyes floated down to the signatures lining the bottom of the page. All of the Rushmores signed it, and a few others who i considered to be friends in other classes.
The teacher floated into the room, smiling and bubbly as always. Her face changed as soon as she saw me and my castaway island. The girls from the Perfect Peaches asked me if I wanted to join their table. I moved, simply to escape the forced solitude, grateful but nevertheless aware to the pity staring out of their eyes. The teacher walked to my desk and eyed the declaration of independence so securely fastened to my desk. She asked me if I was okay. And I nodded, pulling out my notebook quickly and covering the horrid piece of paper. Wanting once again the spotlight to shift its burning focus.
She nodded and began her class, eyeing the girls, and taking my cue that discussion of the matter best be mute.