Star of Youth

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Chapter 8

After his classmates destroy his notebook, Ari throws the remains into a trash bin.

He walked home with his head held low and tried to hold his frustrations inside.

After arriving, Ari grabbed his keys and opened the door to his home.

“Hey!!!” Vanessa greets her grandson after he returns from school, all excited.

“How was your day?” she asked with a sweet smile and eyes filled with fire.

Ari then slightly smiled and said: “Great! Everything was fine!” and he chuckled.

Vanessa smiled and she let out a “Yes!” She chuckled, and she told her grandson that they could go to the park. Ari agreed, but he mentioned he needs to do his geography homework.

“Okay! But if you need help, let me know!” his granny said cheerily.

Ari closed the door to his room, and he grabbed his blanket. His eyes got watery. His heart felt cold. All he thought about was his dearest granny slowly stepping into her grave. It seemed like he was a little ant that was powerless in life. His head got foggy with dark thoughts. He grabbed his hair and his eyes let out tears.

“I should give up. I should be like others to avoid pain.” said his head.

“I’m crying like a little child.” Ari said to himself.

After giving himself a negative pep talk, he scratches his face with nails. And with his heart shattered to pieces, his passion seemed like it was fading.

During this, Susan was on a break with Tinna and she tried to convince Susan to go to Alvin’s party.

“I don’t want to see his slimy face again.” Susan reminded her bestie for the hundredth time.

“I just want you to be happy.” Tinna admitted.

Susan felt like something was pulling her back to her former crush. But it wasn’t love or hate. Something just didn’t seem right to her.

“I’ll think about it, okay?” She told Tinna to relieve her.

Tinna let out a supportive smile, and she told her friend that everything will go well.

Later that day, Ari walked through the park with his grandma. Ari looked around and saw an old man with his wife smiling at the sky. He then asked Vanessa a complicated question.

“How can people be happy for that long?” Ari asked.

Vanessa tilted her head with a smile and she said: “When you get older you prefer to think about the positives of life. You don’t choose the food you don’t like at lunch, do you?”

“Yeah…” Ari replied.

“But what if there isn’t any food I like?” he asked.

Vanessa let out a chuckle, and she replied: “Then you wait another day to get a delicious dish.”

“Remember, not every day is perfect. Maybe more days in a row are not perfect or how we want them to be. But one day you get what you want.” she reminded her grandson.

The day passed and the eighth day started and Vanessa woke up in her bed and she yawned and stretched. Her back cracked really loudly, and all she said to that was: “Good one.”

She then went to greet Ari a good morning, but he vanished. Vanessa raised her eyebrows, and she asked herself where her grandson was. She checked his room, and she looked at the desk.

A minor note had been lying on the desk and it said: “I went to school.” with a little smiley face.

Vanessa pondered, and she asked herself: “Since when does Ari want to go to school?” It felt suspicious, but she shrugged it off after realizing he had a good day yesterday.

While Vanessa was at home, Ari walked to school, scared. But he was glad his granny didn’t worry about him at the moment. He entered his school and his classmates stared at him from a distance.

“Look who it is.” one boy whispered.

“What do we do now?” another one asked.

Their leader then smiled, and he told his friends to follow him.

As Ari entered the class, his classmates left him a note under his desk.

He then looks at the note and it said: “Kill yourself.” And “You’re weak” with smiley faces all over it.

The letter was longer with more discouraging sentences, but Ari didn’t want to read it anymore and he threw it away. The classmates laughed and they thought of another self-esteem devastating prank.

A PE lesson is about to start and Ari walks over and waits outside of the boys’ lockers.

“What are you waiting for?” his teacher asked, confused.

Ari mumbled the lockers were just full, and it’s nothing to worry about. The teacher nodded and entered the gymnasium to check on the students that were present. He finally entered the lockers, and everything seemed okay. He sighed out of relief and started changing his clothes. Then entered the gymnasium, and he stood at the end of the line.

Then the teacher whistled and told everybody to run three laps around the gymnasium. Ari started jogging slowly and his bullies sprinted past him and discouraged him more.

“Move, loser!”

“You can’t even run fast!”

Ari held his breath and ran faster to feel something else than his emotional pain.

The teacher whistled and told the class they had to stretch. While stretching, Ari was nervous when he gazed at his bullies and feared what would happen next.

His bullies whispered something to each other and nodded. Soon after, they smiled back at their classmate and waited.

Cold sweat was on Ari’s back, and anxiety took over and he felt his heart pounding. Ari closed his eyes and minded his business and started stretching more so his muscles wouldn’t hurt during the lesson.

“It’s going to be okay.” he whispered to himself.

A whistle from the teacher echoed through the gymnasium, and she ordered the kids to get in line and Ari stepped to the front of the line next to a girl that wouldn’t hurt him.

“Line up and choose your teammates for dodgeball.” the teacher told everyone. She then looked over her shoulder and told one of Ari’s bullies to be the captain.

“Lucas and Jenny will be the captains.” She decided.

Ari knew that Lucas and his mates would try their hardest in dodgeball again. After all, everybody wants to feel great in PE when they hit someone in the face.

His confidence reached the depths of the earth and he knew he was going to get hit with tremendous force. It was like going to an execution without the dying part. Fear latched onto him, and then he heard his classmate choosing her teammates.

“Ellie, Ellen, Vickie, John and Robin.” she chose.

Then John rolled his eyes, knowing he wasn’t with his buddy Lucas while he was lining up with his new dodgeball teammates.

Ari stood frozen and stared into nothingness as the fear started rising and he was getting more and more nervous.

Lucas then smirked and stared at his remaining friend standing in line.

“I pick Alex, Dan, Caroline, Michael and Olivia.” Lucas said with fire in his voice.

Everyone was in a team and Ari stood in the gymnasium alone in front of everyone. The teacher then offered Ari a choice: either be with Lucas or be with Jenny.

Ari then shambled to his classmates’ team and lined up.

She chose her best friend to assist her, and Lucas chose Dan as his assistant. Jenny then quickly got to the enemy half of the field to throw the ball at them to eliminate her opponents. Dan and Lucas confidently walked to their enemy’s field, and they gave each other a fist bump.

The teacher then gave the ball to Ari, and she whistled.

While in shock, Ari threw the ball across the field, passing it to Jenny. She then threw the ball at her opponent named Michael. He then caught it and threw it over the field. Dan jumped and caught it, and he looked at Ari with death in his eyes. He swung his arm and threw the ball with the biggest smile he had that day. Ari turned around and got hit in the head right in his open eye.

He fell down and let a scream out of pain, and he held his left eye. Ari could barely open it from the sharp pain. The teacher then quickly yelled at Dan that he was an idiot. She then checked on Ari’s eye. It was bloody red and he couldn’t help but cry.

“Don’t cry, you fucking pussy!!” Lucas yelled.

“That’s enough!!! Both of you went to the principal’s office!!!” the teacher fired back, furious.

Lucas just shook his head with a smirk, and he left with Dan and the teacher.

Ari sat in the gymnasium and looked at everyone watching him. Nobody said a single word of a sentence that could bring him comfort.

Some time later Susan gets a call from Emma.

“Please go to school with grandma. Ari got injured…” she pleaded.

Vanessa was speechless from what she heard and she told Susan that they should go now as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, Ari sat in the teacher’s cabinet. She told Ari to stay at home for a while and asked him if everything was okay.

“I’m okay.” he replied while covering his left eye.

He looked outside of his window for his grandma and sister.

“Are you looking out for your mom?” the teacher asked.

“I’m looking out for my sister and my best friend.” Ari replied.

The teacher raised an eyebrow, and she asked how Ari’s friend applied this issue.

“It’s a long story.” Ari explained.

Ari shook and wanted to let his tears flow. He clenched his fist, and he tried to conquer his inner fear. Thoughts seemed to race through his mind about one thing: his grandma leaving him forever. In this depressed state, Ari kept looking out of the window.

Suddenly, a boost of relief finally came as he saw his sister. He told the teacher that his sibling had arrived and, out of excitement, he grabbed his jacket with his bag and he rushed to the entrance.

Jumping from the staircase, the teacher asked herself what the hell had just happened with her student. Ari then opened the entrance, and he embraced both his sister and his grandma.

Vanessa hugged her back, and she asked if everything was okay.

“It is now.” he said while embracing his grandma and sister.

The teacher looked with confusion, and Susan then smiled, and she told the teacher that she thanked her.

“Come on, let’s get you home.” she said.

Ari looked up, and he just embraced his grandma more with his world in ruins, still overthinking about what was going to happen soon.

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