The High School Dynamic
In our small town, parties were a big deal. It was a sign of status, and whoever threw the biggest party of the weekend was the new ‘it’ boy or girl on Monday at school. Whoever made the biggest fool of themselves was the new social outcast. And whoever hooked up were either the newest couple or part of the latest well-known feud.
It was a simple, solid, reliable dynamic that I had come to depend on during my stay on the twisting and turning planet that is high school. As were people’s stereotypes. Every stereotype ever imagined about high school had been embodied at my school. The jocks. The cheerleaders. The geeks. The drama club students. Every expectation of high school I had ever thought of had been fulfilled by the students with which I shared the halls.
I was the artsy nerd. Which was not a bad thing, necessarily. People appreciated my art and writing, while respecting my intelligence, mostly because I wasn’t one of the geeks that shoved it in their face. So I went mostly unnoticed except for a ‘hi’ here or there.
Steven was a different story. He was artsy, like me, and smart, too. But people knew his name. People knew Steven Greenburg and said much more than ‘hi’ to him in the hallways.
Not that I blamed them. Steve was everything that you wanted in a friend. Or boyfriend. He was honest, sometimes to a fault, and loyal. He kept secrets and backed you up when you needed help. He made everyone laugh, even the teachers, and had all of the answers to the homework. He was practically perfect, except for that one scar above his left eyebrow he’d gotten in a skateboarding accident when he was thirteen.
Steven and I had been close friends for years, but ever since Steve had been bumped up the social ladder from mundane artist to well-known guy’s guy, I was demoted and Sarah replaced me. She had been placed on the same rung as Steve, in the middle upper-class of the high school hierarchy, and she glommed onto him like a leech. Being a cheerleader made her the perfect candidate for Steve’s girlfriend, or at least that’s what she thought, and she did everything in her power to make her aspirations come true.
Steve hadn’t asked her out yet, but everyone assumed that it was only a matter of time before he was broken down by Sarah Goldman’s patented seduction techniques. They always were.
And so I watched hopelessly as Steve began to become another of Sarah’s victims.