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Sheila was the really quiet girl. If you asked someone in the hallways to describe her, most would just call her “the shadow.” She walks around school with her head down, like she can’t take her eyes off of her shoe laces. Her hair always stuck in front of her eyes. No one ever noticed Sheila, no one knew her story, or where she was born, or what she liked doing after school.
It was tuesday, mashed potato day in the cafeteria, which meant no one ate. The mashed potatoes were disgusting, so everyone sat socializing. I noticed Sheila walk up to the lunch lady and ask for a plate. She walked to the corner table alone and nervously shoveled in the food. She didn’t look at anyone, just focused her eyes on the mashed potatoes. I guess I was kind of staring at her because my friends tapped me on the shoulder. “Like Sheila?” they asked. “Bet you could take advantage of her pretty easily.” My friends laughed, joking about what they could do to Sheila to mess her up.
My friend, Mike, walked up to her. “You like parties?” he asked her. She looked up from her food, like she had been mapping the human genome and someone had just messed her up. Mike repeated the question.
“Y-yeah, I guess,” she said hesitantly.
“Well there’s gonna be a party at my house tonight if you wanna come,” he said.
She smiled a half smile, but I could see how nervous she was inside. Mike walked away, and sat back down at our table. “We’re gonna mess her up tonight,” he said. I didn’t really know what he meant, but I laughed anyway.
That night, I rushed over to Mike’s house. Everyone was there. I went up to mike. “Where’s Sheila?” I asked. He pointed to the kitchen. Sheila was in the center of a huge crowd. I saw a group of guys walking up to her and touching her, like she wasn’t even a person. The girls were laughing and telling her to go to the bedroom with Sean, one of the school’s football players. She sat with her legs crossed like she had no idea what was happening. Sean took her arm and brought her up to the room. I heard him slam the door. Everyone was laughing, and chanting, and drinking. I stood there, confused as to what I should do. Mike tapped me on the shoulder. “Told you I’d mess her up,” he said.
I laughed a little, but I was really worried about her. I knew Sean, and he was a good kid, but when he gets drunk, he gets crazy, willing to do anything. I didn’t know what it was, whether it was the beer Mike was handing me by the bottle or my general lack of good judgement, but I felt like I wasn’t obligated to help Sheila.
I went home that night drunk. Sheila went home that night raped.
We all heard about it on monday. Sean told everyone about how good she was and that the quiet ones are always the best. I sat there hearing everyone talk about how Sheila would be scarred for life. No one bothered to do anything, and no one noticed that Sheila wasn’t at school, except for me.
After lunch ended, everyone walked back to class. I walked alone. The next classes passed quickly and by the time I was done thinking about Sheila, the bell had rung. I walked out to my car and headed home.
Dinner was really quiet that night. “Who died?” I asked my mom. Wrong choice of words I soon found out. My mom stopped eating and looked at me.
“Do you know who Sheila Anderson is?” I looked at my mom.
“Yeah, kinda, why?” I asked. I knew something bad was coming.
“We just got a call,” said my mom. Tears started to roll down her cheek. “We just got a call. She committed suicide this morning.”