Chapter 3: Flashback- Fourth Grade
First grade and second grade passed quickly without much harassment. We were young and popularity hardly mattered. Those were the years when we really had fun. Then we hit third grade and people started to question our friendship, but fourth grade was when the first real blow hit Sarah.
Lunchtime in the cafeteria. Sarah wasn’t my only best friend anymore. I had three other best friends, who I probably should have dumped right then and there. I didn’t need them like I needed Sarah. Amy, Rose, Ellie, and I were the most popular girls in the fourth grade. My friendship with Sarah was ignored, which really made us both mad. Everyone pretended that I really didn’t like her, but put up with her because I was nice. No one associated me with Sarah because Amy, Rose, Ellie, and I were prettier than your average fourth grade girl, got better grades than the average fourth grader, and were the most popular people in the grade.
Sarah, on the other hand, was plain with her straight, brown hair, brown eyes, and glasses. She got average grades, and was the most unpopular person in the grade. She was ignored by all except me. No one wanted to even talk to Sarah, or they would be scared others would think they were Sarah’s friend and they would drop to the lowest possible popularity classification ever given.
Amy, Rose, and Ellie tried to keep Sarah out of what we were doing at recess, keep her away from the table they were eating at, and insulted her and talked about her behind her back. Still, I always made sure she was included in everything I did. Sarah was always grateful, but disappointed that she wasn’t wanted by the other girls.
Today at lunch, I had dragged her over from the other end of the table to sit with me, Amy, Rose, and Ellie. She was happy to be included, but was sort of scared of the other girls. They gave her disgusted looks and ignored her. She just bent her head over her PB&J sandwich and started eating. They acted like she wasn’t there.
“Why do you even hang out with her? It must be so hard to put up with her. I mean, she’s ugly, unpopular, and when was the last time she got an A+?” Rose asked me.
“Seriously, she isn’t worth it.” Amy joined in, in a prissy voice.
“Why is she your friend? Why are you so nice? You know, you don’t have to drag her around like a doll. Just chill with us.” Ellie advised me.
I looked at them and looked at Sarah. Sarah had turned bright red and pretended like she hadn’t heard anything though everyone knew she had.
“Why do you care? She has been my best friend since first grade and she’s really nice! Why are you guys always mean? What’s she done to you?”
They just stuck up their noses and started complaining though she was right there.
“Come on, Sarah. We can eat by ourselves. We don’t need to eat with them.” And I sat and the other end of the table, dragging Sarah along.
“You know, you can go back with them. Why are you with me? You’re pretty and popular. You don’t need me. Why don’t you listen to them? It’d be better for you.”
“No it wouldn’t! You’re better for me than they are. You’re a better friend and you aren’t mean ever. They don’t deserve me. You do. You want to come over tomorrow? I can do your hair for you.”
She smiled and I smiled back. “Sure, that would be fun,” she said, but she didn’t say it with the life she once had in her voice. She wasn’t bouncing up and down on her seat talking about how she wanted it or how she wanted to do mine. She wasn’t grinning her big grin. Her eyes weren’t bright at the prospect of coming over to do each other’s hair like best friends are supposed to. She sat quietly in her chair after she made her reply. After she smiled at me a small smile, her face turned neutral. Her eyes were dull and I felt like she wasn’t anticipating the fun we would have tomorrow.
But, being a fourth grader, I thought it didn’t matter too much.
But, as I look back on that day, I know that that day had definitely hurt Sarah and it was the first heavy blow that she wouldn’t be able to fully recover from. That that day wouldn’t be easily forgotten.