It's Not Easy Being Green-A Day in the Life of Chlorine

October 22, 2010
I brought my green arms up to brush my lighter green hair. My greenish color had always made me a great target for mockery and pranking. But this year was going to be different for me. It was the big day-my first day of sophomore year. I had picked out the perfect outfit- a dark green blouse and jeggings, the hottest fashion attire since Uggs. I ran around the room, hastily scribbling in the last answers to my summer homework, throwing my stuff in my bag as I ate a piece of toast. As I jumped up to grab my English Text book off my shelf, I knocked into my sister, Fluorine. She doesn’t have that much energy in the morning, well at least not compared to me anyway. She mumbled an apology and shuffled into the bathroom to change out of her pajamas.

Five minutes later, the doorbell rang. I grabbed my bag and ran past the rest of my family- my sisters Iodine and Astatine with my brother Bromine- as I tripped out the door and into the waiting arms of my boyfriend Sodium. We walked quickly down my block, Seventh Street, and turned onto Eight Avenue. My best friend Argon sprinted out of her house to meet us. Her clothes looked expensive and cool. Because she was one of the Noble gases, she got whatever she wanted. In Elemental City, the Nobles were royalty. I guess that my family-the Halogens-were pretty cool, too, but we were nothing compared to the Ever-popular Nobles and their amount of wealth and energy.

We walked quickly to school, where we were assigned lockers. Ms.Ytterbium hastily called out the numbers and combinations and then released us so that we could go and store our books around the school. I dashed to my own gaseous locker- locker number 17- and watched as the other students shoved their texts and homework into metallic, metalloid and Non metal combination lockers. Argon cracked open locker number 18 and left her Electron-Studies Textbook on the dirty shelf inside.
We walked to synchronized swimming-my favorite class-with Sulfur and Phosphorous, two girls who were both within our period. Since I am commonly found in seawater, I have had a lot of practice when it comes to swimming. It was an intense session, considering that I killed all the germs and bacteria as soon as my foot entered the water.
The next part of the day, however, was not so good. After I walked out of the locker room, Silicon came up to me and told me that I smelled really bad and he wanted to know why that was. I looked at him stupidly for a second before gasping out “Whhhaaaatttt!?” He grinned back at me with a mocking smile. “Well, we were just talking about you, the guys and I, and we were wondering why you smell like bleach all the time. You’re, like, toxic. And not just from the pool water. ” His voice scratched my nerves and I opened and closed my mouth several times. What was I supposed to say to a scathingly random comment like that? I was also used to being talked about-I mean how could I not be? I was an oddity with my pale green skin and hair. However, no one had ever referred to their conversations about me directly to my face before.
“Well, are you going to tell us?”
I glared up at him, not believing that this was happening. Sensing my tension, a group of elements had stopped talking and gathered around Silicon and I to hear. Silicon grinned wider and began to tap his foot against the floor.

“Well?” He asked. When he said that, something in me snapped. I had been mocked and made fun of for my chemical properties for years and I was honestly sick of it. I brought back my hand, and made a move to whip it at his face. I should have hit him, but in the end I didn’t have the strength to. I closed my eyes and tried to compose myself. I was trembling with rage. I looked up to see that Silicon was as well. “Did you just try to hit me?” He looked surprised, but the anger was still there.
He threw his hands up in the air and then proceeded to yell about how everyone thought that I was ugly with my green color and that my gaseous state smell could knock out a whole class of people. I didn’t answer him, because all that he had said was true. Instead, I scowled at him in disgust. A second later, Sodium came running over with a concerned look plastered onto his face.

“What’s going on?” he looked from me to Silicon, who was glaring right back at me. Neither of us broke away the other’s gaze. Silicon rasped, “Your stupid girlfriend tried to smack me!” His arms shook with fury. “Why do you date her anyway? She’s such an ugly color and she’s clearly both physically and emotionally unstable.” He smirked as airy green tears colored my eyes.

Sodium looked both flabbergasted and enraged. He stepped forward and took my hand. I felt one of his electrons jump into my valence electron shells as he became positively charged. We became an ion of power and force as our electron numbers balanced out and we both became stable. I felt much braver then. Sodium looked over at Silicon and sighed. “Do you want to have to take both of us on?”

Silicon yelled in exasperation as he pushed through the crowd of onlookers and walked away.

“Thanks.” I whispered to Sodium as the crowd quickly dispersed.

“No problem. Not only are we a cute couple,” he began mockingly; “We’re the perfect compound.” We laughed on our way to Atomic Theory class.

Later, I was called down to the principal’s office so that the Administrators could be sure that a scuffle had not occurred. I assured the Dean that everything was fine, but he insisted on having the nurse check my atomic spectra for any signs of damage to my atomic structure. After about an hour, I returned to class. People giggled as I walked in late, Neon and Xenon giggled as they whispered in sing-song voices “Unstable. Unstable. Her valence electrons are unstable!” I blushed an ugly dark green as I sat down next to Argon. Halfway through the period, my pen broke, so I turned to my sister Iodine to ask for one of hers.

“Uh! Stay away from me you freak!” She cried, batting my hand away from her arm. “Everyone is associating me with your little issues. She combed her fingers through her pretty violet hair. “My friends in period five gym-Tellurium and Antimony- told me there are rumors going around that I’m becoming as ugly and smelly as you! What do you think people would say if they saw us talking together!?”

“But Iodine, you are kind of toxic too.”

“But I’m not as toxic as you!” And with that, she turned around and refused to talk to me for the rest of the day.

By the end of the day, rumors had been amassed and circulated. Elements had formed circles of gossiping, whispering, and mocking. And I stood alone, keeping my head down as I made my way to the last class I had for the day- Periodic Arrangement. However, no one could ever leave the green girl alone, so someone had already planned an attack on me. So, some stupid jocks from the High Energy Football Team-Radon, Radium and Francium- had thrown balloons of fuel gas at me. I screamed as I avoided one and then another splash! as the boys ran after me through the hallway. I dropped my books and flew towards the pool-my only hope of escape. The fuel balloons rained down from every direction, it took all of my strength to swerve and avoid each one. Radon threw the last of the water balloons and missed me by inches. I was safe. But as the last balloon hit the floor, two tiny droplets of the liquid hit my skin and upon the contact of the fuel with the green-a huge KABOOM! radiated through the schools atoms and blasted my books across the hall. The explosive reaction lasted for about a minute, and then I looked down at the two small burns in my skin. How had they known about my reaction to chemicals like fuel gas? How had they gotten into my medical records?

I shook my head and ran away, crying. I hid in the pool during the last class of the day. I was soooo embarrassed! Bad stuff like that always happens to me! Today was supposed to be my big day-the day where I left the past behind me and was no longer a target. I slowly felt myself being distributed into the vast amount of water. My shape fizzled to several thousand tiny crumbles that were disappearing into the pool water fast. I tried to pull myself together-both physically and emotionally-but just didn’t feel like bothering. I felt myself drift and disappear as my molecules destroyed countless swarms of bacteria and other creepy little things in the water. The pool water was slowly becoming sanitized and I was silently screaming in my head.

I stayed like that for a while-chopped into innumerable little pieces, sanitizing the pool water. Wishing there was something to distract me from my sad thoughts. I wished that swimmers would come and dive into my slimy wet prison. Practiced strokes would bring them through each lane, pushing and pulling my atoms and molecules with their hard kicks and streamlines. I would watch them from a hundred different places as they splashed around, oblivious to whatever poor element was cleaning their water and keeping them from getting sick.

I got out of the pool and flipped open my Elemental Studies Textbook to a page labeled “CHLORINE.” The book gave uses, facts, pros and cons of each element. Since it was the first day of school I hadn’t read it yet. But maybe it would tell me why I was bullied and tormented so often.

The first paragraph described medical uses. It said that I could be used in Chlorsiazepozide, tranquilizer chlorpromazine (which pacified and calmed people), and Clometacin analgesic (a pain-killer) as well as many others. It also listed me as an important element in bleach, bullet-resistant vests, computer hardware, silicon chips (take that Silicon!) and automotive parts. I sat back, feeling a little better. I was important. I still didn’t know why I was constantly made fun of, but if I was this useful then surely I could get through the taunting somehow. After all, people needed me. I was not just going to waste my life being bothered by a bunch of elements I probably would never talk to again after school was over. So I stopped my crying and decided to get on with my life.
I heard footsteps on the floor. I got up and saw that it was not a swimmer, but Sodium. He walked over to me and took my hand for the second time that day, making me more stable. We walked outside and back towards home.
He looked down at me nervously and said, “It is only the first day of school, I’m sure tomorrow will be better.”

I looked at him and smiled. “Yeah, I’m sure tomorrow will be awesome.”
Every element is important, including me. Plus, when you’re a green element who’s had a bad day, you know that the next one will always be better.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

mudpuppy said...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 9:07 am
I wish I could give this piece a ten. I feel that your main character is someone we all can relate to, especially those that have been bullied. :) If this piece has a sequel I would love to read it. :)
mudpuppy replied...
Oct. 27, 2010 at 9:09 am
Also, chlorine was one of my favorite elements in chemstry. :) I can tell you that this story is very oringal. :)
WickedStarcatcher replied...
Nov. 27, 2010 at 8:52 pm
Thanks so much! Originally, I was going to write about gold but my friend (who is a swimmer :)) thought that I should talk about Chlorine. It was actually really interesting to research. I didn't know that chlorine was green or usually a gas. I'm so glad you liked it! I'll start brainstorming a sequel! :)
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