Did You Ever Think?

April 8, 2008
By Lisa Huynh, Edmonto, ZZ

Shoulders placed back stiffly, a dark glare plastered on my face, I walked up to my friends who were sitting at their desks in the corner of the classroom. I don’t usually hold something against them for long, but now I was especially angry. The classroom contained few students, and the teacher was absent. The bell was due to ring in a few minutes. I sat down next to Casey stiffly, and opened up a book.

The reason for my bad attitude that particular Monday morning wasn’t because of my usual morning grumpiness. I was cranky because of the little episode that happened last Friday right before school ended, between my friends Nadene and Casey and I. Typically, we had been sitting around and chatting, and lucky for us, it was a free period. The teacher didn’t mind us talking instead of doing homework. However, I hadn’t been free to talk that much because I had had a huge amount of homework I wanted finished for the weekend.

“I usually shop at Stitches, ‘cuz the clothes are cheaper. I’m not filthy rich like Michelle and Taryn,” Nadene had said to Casey. She wrinkled her nose, as if being rich was a bad thing. I had narrowed my eyes slightly. Where was this going? Just because someone wasn’t rich didn’t mean they were like Michelle or Taryn. Perturbed, I had tried to continue my work.

“Me too,” Nadene agreed. “It’s so much better than Hollister. I absolutely hate that store, like I hate it.” She noisily snapped her gum. Unconsciously, I had glanced down at my shirt, which I had recently bought from Hollister. Diffidently, I had wrapped my sweater around myself tighter. I hadn’t noticed that it made the letters H.C.O. more visible, which was basically Hollister. Nadene had continued, as if she hadn’t seen how uncomfortable I was. “The clothes are so expensive that they’re a tip off. I bought a shirt before, and it ripped the day I bought it. They’re not even that pretty anyway.”

Astounded, I had kept on pretending that I was writing something down into my notebook. She had commented on my shirt earlier that morning.

“Yeah,” Casey had agreed. I wanted to smack her. She had said the other day she wanted to buy clothes from Hollister. She was only waiting for the sales to happen, when they become ridiculously cheap. That’s what I did. What angered me was that Casey gave into peer pressure easily, and the fact that she thought people would like her better if she always took her side. For instance, if our friends Jewel and Sabrina were in a fight, she’d tell Sabrina that Jewel was acting like a jerk and that Sabrina was the good guy here. And then she’d go an tell Jewel the same! Casey and I were best friends, and lately it had been making me wonder if she ever truly agreed with my opinions.

“And all of their clothes have that eagle symbol on them, and the name brand. That’s the only reason they want the clothes, for the name so they can be more popular,” Nadene had added. It stung. It was like she was hinting something at me. “Right Chelsea?” she inquired.

Indignantly, I wanted to scream out, “No! That’s all wrong!” The only reason why I shopped at that store was because I liked the style. Stitches had early girly clothing, or rock clothes. I like vintage clothing, and Hollister was slightly on the vintage side. Stitches’ clothes were just not my style, and I didn’t see why neither of them understood that.

In a flash, I had turned from being intimidated to angry. They were just like Michelle and Taryn, because they were judging people by their clothes. They acted like by dressing averagely, they were the girls you’d see that stars on TV shows or in books. That was my opinion, anyway.

“No,” I boldly told them, balling up my fist under my desk. I put down my book and turned around to glare at them. I began to tell them off. “Only sweaters from Hollister have brand names. Do you see me wearing dozens of shirts with Hollister stamped over my chest? Hmm.” I had paused for a split second to take a breather. “Besides, don’t act like Stitches doesn’t do that too. By dissing one store and thinking that the one you go to is the best, that makes you exactly like Michelle and Taryn.” I gathered up my books in my bag and stormed across the room to sit at another one of the desks.

Looking back, I remembered that they wore a surprised expression. I’m not sure what they would have said to me after if I had given them the chance, but I had wanted them to think about it for the weekend. Apparently, however, I don’t think they really discussed it. I bit my lip as I sat in my desk, thinking to myself.

“Hey,” Nadene said cheerfully to me a couple minutes later, as if nothing had occurred to make me lose respect for her. “Watcha doin’?”

Agitated, I said nothing in return, and she sighed, not the disappointed one, but the ‘She’s being so hopeless and stubborn’ sigh. “Are you still upset about the whole clothes issue? I still hang out with you, right? Can’t you just admit that I’m right so we can get this over with? It’s obvious you want to be popular, that’s why you shop there.”

“What?” I demanded harshly, narrowing my eyes at her. “Did you ever think that I only get my clothes there because I like them? It has nothing to do with me being popular.”

“You know what,” Casey interrupted, giving Nadene a glare. “Chelsea has a point. We do do that, judge people by their clothes I mean. We think that just because someone has designer clothes, they’re snobby.”

“Oh so you’re taking her side?” Nadene snapped.

“So what if I am?” Casey winced, but inwardly, I was proud of her. She just stood up for herself, and me. This was one type of peer pressure she was not getting into.

“Casey,” Nadene whined. The blonde absolutely favoured Casey, like everyone else. They just like her a lot.

“Nadene, just stop being obnoxious and shallow and maybe you’ll see,” I told her a bit nicely. “You’re not as high and superior as you think you are.”

If it were possible, I could practically see steam emerging from her ears. She was so red with fury. “Argh!!” she shrieked, stomping off.

When she left, I gave Casey a high five. “Thanks for backing me up.”

“Don’t mention it. Nadene’s been starting to rub off on me, I deserved to be yelled at,” Casey said, shrugging. She was grinning too, however. “Hey I wonder if Nadene knows that the bell’s gonna ring soon.”

I giggled into my hand. Right on cue, the bell sounded, and outside through the window, Casey and I could see that our teacher was asking Nadene why she was out in the hall. Our teacher was strict, and I knew that she’d get a fifteen minute detention after school. Everyone who was late to class got that. To be honest, I was pleased at that fact, but at the same time, I was even more pleased that I had my best friend back, even if I did lose one friend.

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