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Sorry!

Four green pawns, sitting in their start waiting for me to draw one of the cards enabling them to begin the journey around the board to their home. I draw a card. A seven. Useless to me now, but it is a great asset later in the game. My opponent draws a card: a two, enabling him to start his trek towards his home spot and giving him another chance to succeed with the drawing of a second card.

Success. It’s defined differently by each individual. I see success in a person as having character and trying to thrive. But this view of success is skewed. They measure your success by who you are, who you know, how much money you have, or what classes you are taking. I see “success” everywhere at school: in the never-ending dingy hallways, in the primordial classrooms, on the crowded bus. I see it on the rich, popular kids and those who are present in the politics of the town. They roam the dismal halls that plagued by ancient murals and an overuse of cologne, passing me by everyday. They, in contrast, do not see success in me.

My opponent is passing by me again. His first pawn resides within the safe zone; his second pawn is halfway around the board. Finally, it’s my turn again. I draw a card and it’s a two. Finally, I can move and I can draw another card. It’s a go back four. Lucky for me, I am only a few spaces away from my safe zone. My opponent draws another card. It’s a seven. He moves his one pawn four spots to bring it home and continues to move the other pawn the remaining three spaces, landing on a slide space, thus advancing him another several spaces. Now it’s my turn…I draw a three and move my pawn to the security of my safe zone.

In this abysmal place there is no safe zone. Everywhere you look there is another person trying to get ahead of you, trying to be the one to finish first. It is a blur of Louis Vuitton, Coach, Prada, Ed Hardy, and True Religion. These certain children are always the ones pulling ahead, by all means necessary, leaving the others behind to fend for themselves. They do not realize the trouble they cause. There is no place the “unsuccessful” children can go to escape the madness of the “successful” for they can only hope that they become lucky for once in these crowded school halls that they must reside in for the four years of torture.

This game is drawn out. I pick a one and in the following turns proceed to get out of my green section of the board. He draws a Sorry! card. He has no qualms about sending me back home, laughing, with a sarcastic “sorry” thrown out as he puts my green pawn back with the other two in my start. He only cares about advancing, not caring who it hurts in the process.

These “successes” do anything to get ahead. They hurt those around them, never giving the regular kids a second glance, always brushing them off to move themselves further in the race to the finish. They will use any means necessary to get what they want. Quite often mommy and daddy pay a role in the success of these children because they cannot accomplish this on their own. The “successful” hurt the feelings of those around them but do not care. They only have one goal: to win in the game of high school; the game which usually involves prom queen or all-star athlete.
He is so close to winning. I just give up hope. I know the outcome already. I will struggle to move my pawn around the board one space at a time while he draws twelves and eights and tens. I have maneuvered myself to the space outside of his safe zone and he draws an eleven enabling him to switch places with me, putting me back near the same area I started in. Within three turns he wins the game, just as I knew he would. His friends congratulate him and leave me sitting quietly in the shadows.

In this suburban town, we are often left sitting quietly in the shadows. Though authority figures claim we come from a good area, encompassing moderate and higher income children, many do not seem to make a difference, in the eyes of those in charge. We are just statistics, just nameless faces in a sea of “successes.” We blend in with our Wal-Mart and K-Mart generic clothing and Jansport backpacks while the “successes” parade around in their thousand dollar handbags. We only matter if somehow we become lucky, but even luck cannot always make a difference. Here it makes a difference only if you fit the qualifications, and I do not. I will never be seen as a “success” here, unless I bring them fame. Neither will anyone else who differs from the mold, be seen as successful. College is the only place we can go…our safe zone where they cannot ruin our lives any longer. The people from here are piranhas, looking for a win, a success, and not caring who they harm in the way, throwing out a sarcastic “Sorry!” as they ruin your life.



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