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Just How it Is?

By , Holmdel, NJ
The girl looked around. A new school. This had never happened for her before, moving and starting over new. She hoped for the best, but she’d heard all the stories, and she’d seen all the movies; she knew it was likely that this school could make or break her self-esteem. She could end up with great new friends, or be mocked by the entire 8th grade class. Well, bring it on, she mused.

First period, and things were going all right. She’d made it to her locker, without too many stares from the other students. Of course, they’d all been going to school together for most of their lives, so it’d probably be expected that they would be curious about a new student. It was normal, she thought to herself. People can’t hate me for no reason, she thought. They don’t even know me!

“Hi! You’re new, right?” the girl in front of her turned around, and smiled. She seemed friendly enough.

“Yeah… I just moved here about 3 weeks ago,” she replied.

“Oh, that must be hard! I’m Nicole, by the way. I’m on student council so if you’ve got any questions just go ahead and ask! Oh, and, just so you know, you might want to watch out for that girl Macy over there,” she lowered her voice as she said this, and pointed to a girl in the far back corner of the classroom, whose nails were black and who was reading a thick novel under her desk. “She’s really weird,” Nicole continued.

Watch out for her? Was she crazy or something? The girl wondered. Why would someone say something like that?
She soon learned why. No one in this new school liked Macy. When they passed her in the hall, they looked down or glanced away. There was no reason for it; as far as she could tell, Macy generally kept to herself, never really spoke, and her nose was always in a book, or the notebook she carried around. So why was she so completely alienated? At the girl’s old school there were quiet girls like Macy, but they at least usually stayed together, or were not paid much attention to. It was looking more and more different in this new place than the girl had thought.

The first day of school went on. She had most of her classes with Macy. In every one, the last seat to be filled was always the one next to Macy, and even then, whoever got stuck sitting next to her didn’t even look at her. The girl wanted to help, but she knew the risk: if she befriended Macy it basically meant the same social exclusion for her that Macy was already tortured with. Of course that wasn’t right, and she knew it, but it was also painfully true.

During lunch, the girl sat with Nicole and a bunch of other people who were apparently Nicole’s friends from student council. They had waved her over as soon as she walked into the cafeteria. But when she sat down at the table, she couldn’t help but glance around and wonder where Macy was sitting. She found her, at a table near the door, sitting on the opposite end of the table from a group of seventh graders, who glanced accusingly at her every now and then, as if to say “why is she sitting here?”
So she really has no friends, the girl thought. She felt very bad, but again she knew she could not stand up for Macy without fear of being completely ostracized by the rest of the school. There was no justice among peers; that she knew for sure. It was completely unfair judgment. But life is unfair. Maybe someday, it would all change.





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