I breathe in the fresh crisp autumn air as the entire gym class finally reached the turf field. It is senior year, and I am determined to debut the athletic genius that is Brielle Alvarez.
“You’re not thinking something like debuting your athletic genius, are you?” Rachel pulls me out of my thoughts and stares at the turf field in front of us in disgust.
Embarrassed by my predictability, I blush and deny such a thought.
“It’s written all over your face,” she says. “Let’s go one year without an incident in gym,” she sighs.
I always wished that I had enough athletic ability to be able to join the girls varsity soccer game, so Scott and I could be captains of the soccer team. Sadly, I have been told at a very young age that I’m a menace on the field and have been unofficially banned from soccer. Even though Scott tried to patiently coach me in order to hone my skills, he eventually gave up after I broke two windows and almost killed two people.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I deny.
“Another year, another try, right?” Xavier rolls next me. He and I have always been in gym together every year since we were freshmen. Even though he can opt out gym and just chill in the library, Xavier always insisted on coming with the rest of us.
“I don’t know,” I say dejectedly. “Maybe I should play it safe and just chill out this year.”
“You kidding me? I always look forward to gym with you every year. Never a dull moment,” he laughs.
“Really?” I ask hopefully. “Cause I’ve been practicing my passes, and I think I can make a great contribution,” I say proudly.
“Brielle, stop dillydallying and start running,” Ms. Jones, a grumpy ol’ hag, who has always hated me ever since I accidentally threw a basketball to her head. I remember that everyone avoided passing the ball to me because of my notoriety. But, at the last second, Rachel had the ball and didn’t want anything to do with it, so she quickly passed the ball to me. With the ball in my hands, I confidently made the shot that just happened to his Ms. Jones straight on the head. In my defense, she should have been paying attention to the court.
I jog the mile alongside Rachel and Xavier as he pushes his wheelchair with the same speed as me.
“You seemed to have let yourself go over the summer, Rach,” Xavier says as he leisurely moves his wheelchair.
“It should be illegal for gym to be required all four years of high school,” Rachel huffs as she tries to keep pace with the both of us.
“But, isn’t running so much fun?” I laugh at the lovely feeling of my legs muscles flexing as I run.
“Says you who’s on the track team,” she huffs.
The only sport that I seemed to be good at was track, but then again, you can’t really kill anyone with running other than yourself.
“Come on, Rach, let’s go faster,” I beckon her. I glance over to the jocks who are already more than half a lap ahead of us.
“You guys go ahead,” she says while breathing heavily.
Xavier and I gladly take the signal to go ahead. Without saying anything to each other, we both race to see who can finish the mile the fastest. After spending the entire summer running alongside Scott, my mile has become a lot better. I quickly outrun Xavier whose strong arms pushed his wheelchair faster than most of our running classmates.
I end up catching up to the jocks who are running the mile with ease while still ahead of most of the class.
“Yo, speedy,” I hear a familiar voice right next to me. I look over to see Brian jogging right next to me.
“Me? I’m not that fast,” I say casually but internally punch the air in victory. All the summer training has made me quicker.
“You’re right,” he says quickly.
“Excuse me?” I say, offended.
“I think I could totally outrun you,” he smirks.
“Yeah, right?” I quicken my pace, which he easily follows.
“Not fast enough,” he eggs me.
“You’re on Henderson,” I shout and can’t help the smile on my face. I’ve always believed that running is always more fun as a race.
I sprint forward to pass him, but Brian just seems to be running right next to me.
“Getting a little tired there, Bri?” Brian asks me as he runs the same pace as me.
“I’m not even breaking a sweat,” I lie through my teeth and instead push my leg muscles to go even faster to finally run ahead of him. Laughter escapes my lips as I can’t help but have fun running against Brian.
I huff and try to call upon any remaining strength to run towards the end but only to be passed by Brian. The sly boy just totally pulled a fast one over me!
My legs are screaming at the exertion, and I’ve probably sweated my tinted moisturizer off my face.
“Very close, Bri. Maybe next time,” Brian says arrogantly as he hunches over to try and catch his breath.
I fall on the turf field as I catch my breath and wait for the rest of the class to finish their mile. Because of our stupid race, Brian and I end up finishing first.
“Good race,” Brian offers his hand to help me up as most of the class finally gathers around.
“I’ll get you next time,” I smile and take his hand.
“Ah, but you are yet too unskilled young grasshopper,” he says as if he’s a wise sage.
“You’re so weird,” I laugh and walk over to sit next to Rachel. She gives me a questioning look, demanding for details.
“Listen up!” Ms. Jones gets the attention once everyone finishes running, and I shrug in silent apology mouthing that I’ll tell her later. “For this quarter, we will be playing soccer. For the first two weeks, we’ll be playing light games to get you guys used to the rules. Then, we will be playing a tournament with six teams of five. For now, split up into two teams. Count off!”
Having excellent luck, I end up being in the same Brian Henderson and Dae, Scott’s best friend. Dae and I have what you could a mutually hating relationship. He’s despised me ever since I’ve kicked him in the family jewels freshman year after he called me a dike.
Excitedly, I walk over to our goal and take an offensive position. I’ve never been one for defense, and I feel like I could truly use my talents for the attack.
“A new year, Bri!” Xavier yells from the sidelines.
I give him the thumbs up and feel a renewed confidence.
“Yo, Gabby!” Dae calls me by that infuriating nickname. “Defense,” he points towards the goal where the slackers are standing around to avoid the ball no matter what.
“Fuck off Dae,” I say abrasively, not even wanting to deal with him.
“No need to be so defensive,” he puts his hands in the air. “Just don’t get in the way,” he grumbles and walks over to take position.
I stick my tongue at his back. Asshole.
Scott and Brian take the mid-field position with a competitive look in their eyes and start the kick-off. Being the captain of the soccer team as well as the best player, Scott instantly takes the ball from Brian and runs over to take the shot at the goal.
Scott faces the players on my team single-handedly as they try their best to steal the ball away from him. While the other players distract him, Brian comes from right under him and takes the ball. I see the very clear scowl on Scott’s face at the thought of being one-upped by Brian.
I do my best to follow the ball while guarding Vic, a nice boy who was in the marching band.
The ball comes at me at full speed. All time stops around me. This is my time to shine. Vic was behind me struggling to get to the ball first, but he’s way too slow. I close my eyes and kick the ball as hard as I could.
“Gabby!” Dae furiously calls me by that annoying nickname. “What the hell? You can’t even stop a stupid ball?”
“What?” I ask him as I open my eyes slowly.
“How the hell could you kick the ball into your own goal?” he yells incredulously.
I did? Shit. I see Xavier at the corner of my eyes laughing his ass off. There goes my time to shine.
“Fuck. I’m sorry,” I say, feeling terrible about messing up really badly.
“Jesus, I told you to go to defense!” he says frustrated.
“It’s gym Dae. Calm the fuck down,” I don’t like the tone he is using.
“Go to defense,” he orders me.
“Go to hell,” I flip him off.
“Ladies first,” he makes an exaggerated gentlemanly gesture.
“Then, after you,” I smile sweetly.
The smug smile on Dae’s face falls. He always did get so sensitive whenever I attacked his manhood after the incident.
“Whatever, just get out of the way,” he grumbles sourly.
I pick up the round soccer ball that probably has been reused and abused for the past ten years during P.E. Stupid ball. I pick up the ball to the throw it into the middle of the field, but having the worst aim possible, the ball hits Dae straight on the back of his head. In a different situation, I would laugh hysterically at my luck, but looking at the fuming, purple color on the Korean boy’s face, I hold back the giggles.
“I’m so sorry,” I tell him in a tone that might have not sounded sympathetic at all. I’ve never been so thankful for my awful aim before in my life.
“You did that on purpose,” he spits.
“I told you I’m sorry,” I tell him defensively with annoyance at the edge of my voice. Any sane person would have cowered under the raging six foot two, built Asian boy, but I’ve never been one to really be easily frightened or to back down from a fight. Dae looks like he’s contemplating on socking me even if I have a vagina.
“God, if you weren’t such a bitch,” he threatens.
Did he just call me a bitch? As if a switch went off in my head, my entire head heats up as the rage fills me.
“Bro, you need to calm down,” Scott holds Dae’s shoulder before his best friend attacks his wife. Of course Scott would rather protect his best friend rather than defending his wife. The pain fuels me rage even more.
“Call me bitch one more time,” I threaten him. I think I hear Brian next to me say, “Guys, let’s not fight,” but I brush off his plea of peace.
“Bitch,” he says with a malicious smile.
That’s it. I aim for a sharp kick to Dae’s manly parts, but Brian moves his body in order to stop the violence. My face changes from one of violent fury to absolute embarrassed horror as I kick Brian Henderson in the balls instead of Dae Kim.
Oh. My. God.
“Brian!” I shriek. “Are you okay?”
No matter how tough a guy is, they still revert to fetal position whenever their manhood is injured. Brian tumbles to the ground in fetal position.
“Remind me to never mess with you,” he says through gasps of pain.
“You need to go to the nurse,” I tell him and try to help him up. I quickly glance over to Ms. Jones, half expecting her to come over like a raging bull, but Xavier distracts her by feigning pain. Thank god for Xavier. I could feel Brian’s heavy weight on me as I help him off the field and back inside the school building.
“I’ll do it,” Scott says and offers to help Brian to the nurse. I notice the stoic look on Scott’s face. He’s clearly upset at my close proximity with his mortal enemy. Maybe if he could just stick up for me, then I might’ve kept a distance.
“Over my dead body, are you helping me to the nurse’s office, Alvarez,” Brian groans.
“It’s okay. I got it,” I say tartly and put Brian’s arm around my shoulder to make a point.
“Oh, my hero,” Brian says dramatically as if he were a southern belle in distress.
“You’re absolutely ridiculous,” I laugh forgetting my anger for just a second.
“I’ll take this ridiculous fool off your hands,” Scott scoops up Brian on the other side before I could react, and they both walk towards the building to the nurse. I can hear them arguing off in the distance as Brian keeps telling Scott to get off of him.