Chapter 3: Group work

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Diego is my best friend at school. Ever since the start of high school we've always gravitated towards each other, it's like our interests are from another world and we can only share them with each other. We're really into philosophy and we're both really curious people.

Diego is the most balanced of the group without a doubt and, if I'm honest, I'm not even sure why he likes hanging out with us. With his charisma and skill, he could have anyone eating out of the palm of his hand, but he chooses to be one of us. Every now and then he escapes to hang out with his buddies from basketball, he's a big fan of the sport, and the guys from the astronomy club, his other great passion. He also works at his dad's bar. When they let us work in pairs in class, we always choose each other because we make a great team: we devour books, split the workload and discuss our conclusions. At break time, we sometimes head to the library to finish off some work. It really annoys the monarchy when we do that. It seems that a desire for knowledge and enjoying learning breaks some hidden rule of theirs.

A few weeks ago they made us feel really bad; I think it was revenge for my outburst in class. We were discussing the difference between real guilt and neurotic guilt for a case they put to us in Ethics class, the Hiroshima pilot.

"Come on, Judith, when the blame is on us it's not always because we've done something wrong."

"I know, but sometimes, guilt reveals something about ourselves that makes us feel uncomfortable or, at least, it makes us question ourselves."

"Explain."

"Well, nothing is black and white in life."

We were caught up in these issues when some members of the monarchy, as if we were invisible, started talking about us so loudly everybody could hear. I don't who said what exactly, because any of them could have been responsible. They were all the same. It was like there was a control tower broadcasting words into the collective consciousness, penetrating all of our brains.

"Some people aren't getting any, that's why they spend their lunch breaks in the library."

"Judith and Diego should fuck more and think less."

"I bet they're both virgins, they haven't even fucked each other." And they left.

Both of us sat there in silence; back then we didn't have the courage to laugh about things like that. It was as if a couple of strangers had dared to come into our home uninvited and criticize everything they saw without having any fucking idea. We didn't even tell the rest of our friends. The achieved their aim of humiliating us and making us feel like shit. All I could do was ask Diego:

"Continuing our conversation, can you see how sometimes we feel guilty when we haven't done anything wrong?"

"Yeah, you're right."

We sat in silence for three minutes straight, I counted every second as it passed, then Diego threw out a question:

"Why does our friendship bother them so much?"

And, still in shock, I answered:

"Because we're a threat to them."

The debate still continued years later, we never forgot it.

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