Little Differences

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The New Girl

As I climb off the steps of the bus, I begin to search the school grounds for Jessie. It is just not like her to not show up without telling me. I begin walking inside to retrieve my books from my locker. I hear an outburst of laughter behind me and I turn around to see Samantha and her group of friends looking at me and pointing. “You have tissue on your shoes”, yells Samantha. It seems like everyone in the halls comes to a halt and turns to look at my shoes. I can feel my face growing hot with an embarrassment. “How did that get there?”, I wonder.

I quickly run into the bathroom to remove the tissue from my shoe and to calm my nerves. I pass Samantha and her friends on the way into the bathroom and Jessie is just standing there looking down at the floor. “What is on the floor so important that she just stands there at let’s her best friend be humiliated, in front of the whole 6th grade.

I stand in the bathroom and try hard to calm myself down. I am used to Samantha making fun of me and always finding something to pick about. What I am not used to is my best friend standing by and doing nothing to help. Whenever Alani would pick on me, Jessie would always try to get back at her. Now that her and Samantha are “friends” she is acting brand new. Fine if that’s the way it is then that’s just the way it is. So much for being best friends forever.

“Are you okay”, says a tiny voice behind me. I twirl around to see a little girl with dark brown hair and with a pretty and colorful dress on. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. In fact, she looks like no one I’ve ever seen before. “I’m fine, thanks for asking”. She comes over to the sink and begins to wash her hands. She dries her hands on a paper towel and then she holds it out to me. I guess I’m supposed to shake it, so that’s what I do. I am familiar with shaking hands, but I’ve never actually done so with anyone my age. “Hello, my name is Calista Garcia, but my friends call me Cali”, she says. “That’s a very pretty name”, I say. “It means woman of most beauty”, she says. “My parents gave me this name because when I was first born I was beautiful land they just knew I would grow up to be a beautiful woman”, she explains to me. “That’s neat”, I say. “My name means pure and my parents gave me this name because they liked the way it sounded”, I say. “You also have a nice name”, Cali tells me. The bell for first period rings. “We better get going”, I say. “Do you know where Mrs. Rizen’s class is”, Cali asks me. “Yes, we have that class together”, I say. “Just follow me”. I head to homeroom with Cali close on my heels.

Mrs. Rizen begins to take attendance. “Did I miss anyone? If so, please raise your hand”, she says. Cali raises her hand. “It looks like we have a new student”, Mrs. Rizen says pointing at Cali. “Please stand up and tell everyone your name and where you’re from”, she says. “Hi, my name is Calista Garcia, but my friends call me Cali”, she says. “Oh, and I’m from Mexico”, she finishes. “Hello, Cali”, the entire class chimes. “Mexico. How fun”, Mrs. Rizen says as she walks over to her desk and pick up a large stack of papers.

“Katie, would you like to hand out our work for us today”, she asks me. “Sure”, I say. I get up from my desk and go over to Mrs. Rizen to pick up the stack of papers. I begin to pass them out to every kid in the class. When I get to Advik Laghari’s desk I see the boy behind him, Roger, thump him right on top of the head. “Knock it off”, I say to Roger. Him and his group of friends are more of the mean kids in our class who love to pick on others.

I finish passing out papers and then I take my seat again. Mrs. Rizen steps out of the class for just a moment. I am concentrating on the worksheet in front of me so hard that I don’t notice Jaxson Russel get up from his desk with Hank following right behind him. Before Jaxson can get to the pencil sharpener, Hank shoves him into the whiteboard. Jaxson picks himself and his pencils up from the floor and tries to continue walking to the pencil sharpener. “I’m only trying to sharpen my pencil”, Jaxson calmly says to Hank. Hank proceeds to take Jaxson’s pencils from him and breaks them in half. I grab some extra pencils from my backpack and march to the front of the class. “Leave him alone, already!”, I shout at Hank.

“Who put you in charge?”, Hank asks pointing an angry finger at me. “I did. Picking on people doesn’t make you look good”, I say pointing back at him. “It only makes you look like a coward”, I say. “Whatever you say”, Hank says as he turns around and goes back to his desk.

I reach out my pencils to Jaxson. He is hesitant at first, but he reaches out and takes them. “Thanks a lot”, he said. No problem, I have more pencils than I can use. “Thanks for that, too. But I was saying thanks for sticking up for me”, he says. “No problem”, I say.

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