They throw things at him. The Boy with the Glasses. He straightens, sees three boys, snickering in the corner. He glances at his best friend, the Boy in the Blue, but the boy laughs at him too, as if he fits in. The bespectacled boy is confused. From the boys in the corner, he is used to accepting denigration, feeling shame, being worthless. But from his best friend, is too naivee, still, to realize how high school works, to understand that anyone would throw their best friend under the bus for a fleeting taste of popularity. The Boy with the Glasses doesn’t understand, he has yet to lose faith in humanity’s ability to do well upon others. Even in high school, he can’t grasp the single, unwritten rule: the second someone moves down the totem pole, someone else automatically moves up. The jocks jeer yet again, louder enough to attract attention, quiet enough to not get caught. The Boy with the Glasses tries to play along, but his laugh, always a little too loud, too late, gives him away. His eyes still burn with the fervent need to fit in, denied, burn with the need to be, if for one second, somebody no one else can judge. He resignedly puts his head down as his shoulders shudder and shake with the broken weep of self-loathing. The three boys in the corner turn away now. Don’t, won’t, can’t look too closely, lest they feel a drop of his pain, a drop of this guilt. And yet, they begin searching for a new way to alleviate their ephemeral self-confidence, a new victim. Their eyes fall on each student in turn. Together, they settle on the bespectacled boy’s friend. The Boy wearing Blue. They begin to taunt, desperately craving that superiority and female attention. The boy wearing blue quickly catches on, realizing he is the new target. Immediately, he turns to his friend, the Boy with the Glasses, gives him a smile, a white glove thrown carelessly upon a drawbridge. It lies, smoldering, until the Boy with the Glasses picks it up, hesitantly returns the smile, unbroken. And just like that, they are best friends again. But the three boys in the corner condemn yet again, focusing, this time, on the Boy with the Glasses, taunting, taunting, taunting, until he breaks down again, silently weeping, a wrecked, disjointed sob that knows no limits in its pain. This broken boy, to his best friend, means nothing in the face of opportunity to fit in. He smirks, elated that he is no longer the target. And the cycle returns, this same song and dance, where it will remain, unbridled, into eternity.
The Art of High School
May 3, 2012