Our Deepest Fear
Author's note: The movie Freedom Writers inspired me to write this novel. It's a wonderful movie and I... Show full author's note »
A Troubled First Day“Quiet down, class! We have a new student.” Mrs. Peterson opened the door and a girl walked in. She was Mexican and looked very shy. Her teeth were nearly chattering and the tiny hairs on her arms stood straight up.
“This is Micaela.”
A few students mumbled a hello. Micaela smiled.
Micaela was wearing a navy blue skirt and a white polo shirt with a pair of flats. She dressed in standard school uniform, which Crescent Middle School did not require. Micaela wore her long black hair in a single braid down her back.
Brandy, the most popular girl in the 8th grade, shouted, “Ew! She’s not even from here. Go back to Mexico!”
The whole class started laughing and Micaela’s smile disappeared. She then dashed to an empty desk in the back of the room and sat down.
Mrs. Peterson scolded Brandy and told her to see her after class. Then, she mouthed a sorry to Micaela.
“Now everyone, this is Micaela’s first day at Crescent, so I want you to all try to be helpful to her. Selena, I’d like you to walk with Micaela to the rest of her classes today. I’ll give you a copy of her schedule after class.”
Brandy whispered, “Of course, she picks another Mexican girl to help her,” a little too loudly.
“That’s it Brandy.” Mrs. Peterson said. “Lunch detention.”
Brandy rolled her eyes and started picking at her flakey, purple fingernail polish.
After class was over the bell rang to go to lunch. Brandy grabbed her friend Stacy’s arm and urged, “Come on! Hurry up! I want to get out of here before…”
Mrs. Peterson tapped Brandy on the back. “Brandy, have a seat. Stacy, please go to lunch.”
“Yes, Mrs. Peterson.” Stacy quickly responded.
Brandy walked to an empty desk and slumped far down into the seat.
She overheard Mrs. Peterson say, “Here’s Micaela’s schedule. Help her read it if she doesn’t understand, okay?”
Selena smiled and replied, “Yeah, I will. See you tomorrow, Mrs. Peterson!”
“See you too, Selena. Thanks again!”
Brandy hated having detention. It was so miserable.
“Now Brandy,” Mrs. Peterson began, “why were you so rude to Micaela today?”
“You should treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Brandy stood up. “Yeah, yeah, yeah I’ve heard all that before. But I’m tired of changes in my life! I don’t want stupid new people coming into my classroom, I don’t want my mom to…”
Brandy heard some girls giggling in the hall. They were staring directly at her. She blushed and sat back down while Mrs. Peterson got up and closed the class room door.
“Brandy, it’s all right. You can tell me. What’s going on with your mom?”
Brandy sat up straighter and blinked furiously, almost as if she was trying to push back tears. She croaked, “Nothing. It’s fine.”
Mrs. Peterson looked at Brandy for a few more seconds, waiting for her to say something else, but she didn’t. Then, she walked back to her desk and started grading some papers.
It was silent until the bell rang. Brandy stiffly got up and walked towards the door.
“See you tomorrow.” Mrs. Peterson said.
Brandy weakly smiled back.