Homeroom dismisses and we all file out into the hallway. “Hey, wait for me”, says Cali running to catch up with me. “Sorry about that. I get excited when it’s time to leave that class”, I say. “I understand. Are they always like that”, Cali asks me. “Like what, exactly”, I ask. I’m not sure if she is talking about the Matthew and Jaxson getting picked on or something else that I might not have noticed. “The bullying that was taking place in there”, she says. “Sadly, a lot of bullying has been going on here”, I reply. Cali begins to look frightened. “Don’t worry. Just stick close to me. I’ll look after you”, I tell her giving her a pat on the back. “Great”, she says.
“What is your next class”, I ask Cali. She reaches into the purple folder that she is holding and pulls out her schedule. “Wow, it looks like we have all our classes together”, I tell her excitedly. “Even better”, she says. I have been enjoying Cali’s company so much that I don’t even think about my own problems. On the way to our next class, we run into Jessie. Surprisingly, she is by herself. I look around for Samantha and her group, but they are nowhere in sight.
“Hi”, she says. I am shocked at how she acted in the hall this morning. “Hello, Jessie”, I say. “Would you like to wait for me after school”, she asks me. “What happened to you riding with Samantha in her limousine?” “I’ll explain later”, she says. “We better get to class before we’re late”, I say. “Oh, and Jessie this is Cali, she’s new. Cali this is Jessie, my best friend”, I say. Jessie and Cali shake hands and we continue towards our next class.
Jessie, Cali, and I meet up for lunch and we take our lunch trays out to the lunch tables on the other side of the lunchroom.
“When did your family move to the United States”, I ask Cali. “We moved to the U.S. about 3 years ago”, she says. “Where were you living before you came here”, Jessie asks her. “We were living in a small town in Delaware” “Did you like it”, Advik asks her. “I did at first. Until some of the kids started making fun of me for wearing my native clothing”, Cali says with the saddest face I’ve ever seen. “No way, your clothes are cool”, says Jaxson. “Yeah, I wish I had a dress like yours”, I say. “Me too”, Jessie says.
Mrs. Clamador, our English teacher, asked all of us to write a book about some event that has happened in our lives and how it has helped us to become better people. She also said we can work with whoever we like. Since we all share that class, I get a bright idea. “Hey everyone. How about we work on the book project together. It isn’t due for another few weeks, I say. Everyone agrees that we should work together.
“Even though our story is not due for another three weeks, I think we should come up with our topic”, Advik says. “It seems that we all have been bullied so how about we write about our bullying experiences and how we dealt with them”, Jessie says. “I agree. I’ll take notes as we each share our experiences”, I say. I take out my notebook and gel pen. I jot notes down from Cali’s experience that she just told us. “Since Cali started us off, how about we go in order”, I say. Everyone agrees to go in order. “Kids make fun of me because of the way I talk”, Advik says. “My English is not perfect, and I tend to make mistakes sometimes”, he continues. “There’s nothing wrong with the way you talk”, I assure Advik.
“Jaxson, would you like to go next”, Jessie asks. “Sure. Kids make fun of me because I smell bad but it’s not my fault. My mom slabs my hair down with horrible smelling hair grease. They laugh at me and call me smelly”, Jaxson says. “Although, it’s my first time meeting you. I didn’t smell anything”, Cali says. “Is it my turn?”, Jessie asks. “Sure, go ahead”, I tell her. “Well, some of the kids make fun of me because of the way my hair looks. My hair is naturally curly, and the mean kids say that my hair looks like a dirty cotton ball”, she says. “That is so mean”, I say. I feel angry for my best friend. “Your hair is beautiful. I wish mine could curl up like that”, Cali says. “Thanks, a lot you guys”.
After jotting down Jessie’s experience, I look up at the group and everyone is staring at me. “Is it my turn already”, I say. “Yes, it is”, Cali says. “Okay, well people make fun of me for being nice”, I say. “That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard. Being nice is a great thing”, she says giving me a pat on the back. “It’s true. A lot of people say she’s a Miss Goody Two-Shoes”, Advik says. “Which is so not true. She is just a really nice person, that’s all”, Jessie says. “Thanks for all the compliments everyone”, I say. “If being nice makes me a Miss Goody Two-Shoes, then that’s exactly what I’ll be”, I say just as the bell rings to signal us to return to class.