Monday, December 22, 2014

A Lesson in Bullying, Part 1

I heaved a sigh of relief as the dismissal bell rang, signaling the end of a long Monday. Eight long classes, six of which were AP, now done and out of the way of what really mattered on the first day of the week:
History Club.
I'd gotten a lot of grief for joining and running it over the years, from both my classmates and older siblings, none of whom understood just how I felt about it. The other members and I, though, we all felt that history is one of the best subjects around for being passionate about.
Our motto? Those who don't learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.
That quote is something we've tried to incorporate into our everyday lives, alongside with finding interesting events from the past we want to know more about. And somewhere along the way, the school faculty began to support us, and decided that for all the hard work we were putting into our research and discussions, the seven of us deserved some extra credit in our courses.
That's just a side bonus, really, and while we appreciated the gesture it wasn't something for us to get overly excited about. Unfortunately, though, there were others in the school who didn't feel the same way.
As I found out that Monday, walking into Mr. Cordrey's classroom, and getting the shock of my life. Because sitting at my usual desk was Chelsea O'Brian, possibly the prettiest, most popular and most cruel senior in Old Hills High School. She had an impressive stack of research notes sitting in front of her, though her current attention was the expensive iphone in her hands.
My fellow club members looked just as stunned, though decidedly more worried, and Jaelyn, sitting to the right of Chelsea, seemed ready to cry as she stared down at the floor.
"Um, hi there, Chelsea." I finally spoke, moving forward to stand beside her. "Are you actually here for the club meeting?"
Her eyes flickered up to me, then to Mr. Cordrey, and back to me before returning to her phone. "Oh, of course, I just love history." It took another moment for me to register that, still freaking out internally over this utterly intimidating girl being within three feet of me. I mean, Chelsea had probably dated and broken up with just about every athletic jerk who'd ever thrown my books in a mud puddle or pushed my friends and me around in the hallways and laughed about it.
Girls like her just didn't come to a club meeting of history buffs. But, apparently, this was a day for exceptions.
"Well, alright then... Um, you're in my seat, though." As soon as the words passed my lips, I knew they were going to cause a problem. Her eyes rose slowly this time, to send a deep glare into mine, and it was a gaze that promised pain.
Out in the world of lockers and bullies, that look would scare me. Well, it did scare, even here, but this club was my territory, and powerful or not, I wasn't about to let Chelsea think she could run it like any other school group.
I stood my ground, and lo and behold, she stood up, grabbed the papers off the table, and moved to other end. Suddenly, all of my club mates were staring at me with a mixture of awe and startled fear. I just rolled my tense shoulders and sat down, pulling out my own notebook.
The situation was just like a couple of points from the very subject we studied: small forces could easily defeat larger ones, if they fought on the correct terrain to suit their advantages, and presenting a strong face to scare off the enemy would sometimes prove enough to win without any confrontation at all.
"Okay then, we agreed to all look into Ancient Chinese civilization over the past week..."

To Be Continued

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