I Believe in God
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“Come to the Dark Side, We have COOKIES.”
I laughed as I sat next to Evan at his table set up in front of the library. My weird, Gothic friend was selling T-shirts with that message and a little bunny head with red horns and eyes, fangs, a long tongue, and a cookie behind him that looked burned gray. Gray because the shirt was black. It was lunch time, and I wasn’t very hungry. I was trying to write a note to Max who was most likely to understand my dilemma.
“What’s this for?” I asked, picking up one of the T-shirts and holding it up to myself.
“T-shirts, $20, for Craig’s campaign of class presidency,” Evan said. “Care to join?”
“No,” I replied, sitting back and propping my feet up on the table. “I don’t do school stuff. Besides, that price is way to high. Lower it to Free and I’d buy one. Not good campaign strategy to sell stuff, especially for $20.”
Evan nodded and scratched out the “20” with a marker and wrote “FREE” above it. I chuckled and tossed away his money can. I took my shirt and looked on the front and on the back where it showed a picture no vegetarian, animal-rights obsessed person (a person you will never find down here) would appreciate.
“No where on this does it mention a campaign or Craig,” I told him, looking again.
He grinned and took the shirt and pointed to the picture on the back. “The bunny is me and….that is Craig. Disturbing picture, I know, but…”
He pulled the shirt inside out. It was red with the black words “VOTE FOR CRAIG” and the back said “…OR ELSE.”
“I wanted to write ‘Beware the Bunnies’, but Craig wasn’t up for it,” Evan said.
I shook my head and held onto my T-shirt until Max and Hallie and Craig exited the cafeteria. Hallie bought a shirt and Max scrunched up her face at it. Craig just shook his head and I doubted he liked the message of cookies better than the one of evil bunnies. Why did Evan like bunnies? I shook my head, not willing to travel down that road.
“Oh look,” hissed Hallie. “There they go.”
We all turned to see the cheerleaders walk out together in their purple and blue uniforms with “EAGLES” written across their tops. I looked away pointedly but no one paid attention. Max looked exasperated and the others had spiteful looks on their faces.
“Hey, look! It’s the rodent twins!” Mariah called so everyone could hear her. Hallie glared and Max turned bright red. “Then there’s the Satanist, the dork, and miss can’t run or kick a ball!”
Trying very hard to ignore her, I closed my eyes. I didn’t know her, I only had about a hundred reasons to hate her. It all started with Mariah pulling down Max’s gym shorts every day last year, throwing spitballs at me, but what bugged me about the little character I knew of her was that she talked about her own friends like they were us.
Mariah laughed and the others went along. Adrian smiled good-naturedly and there was something off about the emotion in her big, brown eyes.
“Shut it dye job!” Hallie shouted. I squeezed my eyes shut again, begging God to slap a hand over her huge mouth, all thoughts coming through that way. However, some prayers left unanswered…or denied. “You are all so stupid, did you get someone smart to read you the dictionary for those words. Hey, Adrian, is it your fault Bobby dumped you! Or was it all the plastic surgery?”
Sometimes Hallie was as harsh as Mariah and I hate myself for teaching her all those comebacks, which was always the only thing I was gifted in. That and sarcasm. I forced myself to open my eyes and saw Adrian and Grayson walking toward the restrooms.
“I gotta go to the bathroom,” I quickly excused myself, jogging after them. When I walked in Adrian was in front of the mirror putting on lipgloss. Grayson was in one of the stalls. I stood by Adrian who was almost as short as Hallie and Max.
“Hey,” I said awkwardly, unsure of what I should say and what her reaction would be. “Look, I’m sorry about Hallie. She just…hates you all.”
“Don’t you?” she asked cooly, taking out her mascara. She would make a great make-up artist one day.
“I don’t have a reason to,” I said and then confessed, “I used to. But no fears, I have learned the error of my ways.”
Dramatically, I said this and Adrian giggled. I grinned and waved before I left. I felt better than I had in years. Finally, I rejoined my gang and I hastily changed the subject to stupid things on sitcoms and my stupid jokes that they found hilarious though Evan was much better at it then I was. When Morgan joined us, the subject returned to cheerleaders and alas, the bell rang.
Unfortunately, the class I was in was Mrs. Iles, the new teacher. She taught American history and acted like a first grade teacher. There was the gum wall of shame (with names of gum-chewers), the note wall of shame (where she posted everyone’s notes, crossing out everything embarrassing), and the bully wall of shame (for wrong-doers uttering the word ‘gay’ or ‘ignorant’.)
I sat at the front of my row with Craig behind me. Adrian and Mariah were in that class along with everyone else running for a class office, which was a strange coincidence. I sat, chin in palm, staring into space as she read us the lesson. Then she explained the elections.
“For class president: Craig Naul, Mariah Thompson, Mary Hilton, and Sunny Zulaka. For vice president: Denise Zulaka, Hallie LaBlanc, and Zak Gillory. Secretary: Charlie Alysson, Tony Kelone, Kari Childs, Jonathan Lei, and Dustin Carmoosh. Finally, treasurer is Warren King who is running unopposed.”
It was highly boring and she gave us a speech about racism when Greg mentioned his club was going to be “bigger than the KKK.” I have no clue how she took that as a racial slurr, but he was given detention and put on the bully wall.
“Miss Stevee Angel,” she said and I snapped out of my daydream. “Dress code violation.”
So my shirt was untucked and I was not wearing a belt. She had to pull out the orange T-shirt saying “DRESS CODE VIOLATION.” It was ugly orange and wrinkled and torn. Anyone breaking dress code had to wear that. I stood up and walked to the front of class, feeling a bit rebellious. Highly embarrassing as I found it days later, at the front of class, I took off my uniform shirt, standing in my black bra for the few seconds it took me to put on the stupid shirt. Everyone was gaping at me, and I’d join Greg in detention the next morning. Then, the jocks started clapping and everyone else followed. I smiled sheepishly and bowed, then taking my seat as Mrs. Iles shook her head. While she went on talking, I took out my notebook as this boldness lasted, I wrote out my note to Max.
This is hard explaining, but I know I have to. I think right now you’re the best to trust with this secret. Something changed on Saturday. I decided to, well, change. And I hope your okay with how I plan on doing this. I want to be more committed to things, I want to be a better Christian, and more than I want to do more, I want to stop this prejudice I have, even if I can’t stop yours. We hate all the preps, right? They act all preppy and the overuse of the word “like” and we’re sworn enemies. I hate that. God helped me realize that, you’ll be proud to know. I understand where some of this hate but Adrian had never done anything wrong. I hope you understand.
Dani Luvs Ya Not