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A Flock of Sheep
Under the playground we could hardly be seen. Bunched and huddled in a circle, we looked at her, expectations high. The cold asphalt was uncomfortable but the glory of being there was worth it. Anything was worth it. Or so she made us believe.
The first time I experienced an actual clique could quite possibly be the most ferocious one I faced in my life time. Terrifying, she cause all the girls in my class to believe that what she had could only be best. Anyone to attempt to rise above her was shut down. Many wouldn’t believe that we would be socially placed in 2nd grade.
Eliza*. The head honcho of year two in Ms. Urbano’s classroom. We looked up to her as a role model, even though she controlled with fear. Carey*, controlled on a tight leash was her beta. Together they even claimed their own corner in the class. Their corner, located in between the teacher’s desk and the cubbies, sitting alongside them felt elite and superior. I’m proud to say that I had sat with them on numerous occasions, but those days were before that day.
Lucie, one of my closest friends, had a relationship with Eliza that was cliché and could be related to in about a million pieces of teen literature. As anyone could’ve predicted, Eliza, the mean girl, backstabs Lucie. It was as if an adolescent could have mapped out the events with ease.
Fortunately, Eliza has grown out of her dictatorship, and eventually, Lucie and she became close friends, but that day is still sitting in their and my own memories.
It began like any other day. The classes passed by, functioning as 2nd grade classrooms do and all was exceptional until lunch time approached. The class, dismissed from our silent reading, began to line up to be brought to the lively cafeteria. I turned to wait for Lucie when I realized that she and Eliza were conversing. Eliza, face towards mine, had a wicked expression on, influencing me to believe that the words she was speaking weren’t kind by any means. Confused I began to approach the scene slowly and cautiously. I knew that Eliza didn’t exactly “love” Lucie, but not enough of a dislike to go ahead and tell her off.
Finishing up her work, Eliza began to lead Carey away to the hungry crowd. Lunch bag in hand, she had her head bowed, silently shaking.
“Please be laughing,” I thought.
But she wasn’t. A single tear making its journey down her cheek was all there was, but horrible none the less. She barely raised her head when she spoke the soft words, muffled by the mucus sustaining her breath.
“She told me I couldn’t be in the club.”
Oh the dreaded club. The club was a girl’s only group that meted every recess under the playground, away from the harsh sun. I still think that it’s miraculous that Eliza had ever fallen from her position, but still, that day was still a ways away. Karma was creeping up, and we all knew it.
It began with the person we least expected. Carey started to slowly drift away from her source of power. Without her holding her up, Eliza began to become less and less outrageous. All it took was one sheep to separate from the heard unharmed from our shepherd when we eventually realized the only thing left to do; get up and leave.