Missing school always gives me so much anxiety. I always fear that the one day I stay home from school, there’s this all-or-nothing type of test happening or the class does something completely new and I’m left not knowing what or where we are in the curriculum. On this particular day, I go to my classes early to speak to the teacher and ask if I missed any work.
The bell rings and 3rd period ends. I raced out of the classroom, knowing that my class for 4th period was on the other side of the hallway. I make my way through the crowds of other students and occasionally apologize if I have to cut through their group to go towards my needed direction. I didn’t realize that at first that someone knocked my books out of my hand as I was walking by. I looked at the floor towards my books, and then at the person who was walking in that direction. It was Laurie, and she was smiling back with her new “friends”.
“What is your problem, Laurie?” I yelled, wanting Laurie to hear that I was finally talking back to her, and not afraid of her using anything from our past friendship against me. Laurie turned her whole body around to walk up to me.
“Wow, you actually speak up for yourself now?” Laurie mocked and then began to laugh. “Please, we all know you’re too much of a wuss to actually mean it.”
“And you are actually trying way too hard to play the mean girl role in high school,” I spat back. “Seriously, Laurie, just leave me alone–“
“Seriously, Laurie, just leave me alone,” Laurie mimicked, and her friends began to laugh. After seeing the type of people Laurie hangs out with, I never understood how we were once friends. Maybe Laurie was once a decent human being capable to have real friendships, instead of “yes” girls. “You know I passed by your band class the other day while I was on my way to the bathroom and… well, I don’t know who’s going to tell you this, but as a former bestie of yours, it’s only right to tell you the truth and say that you were really dragging the rest of that class down.” Her friends “ooo-ed” as Laurie said that. It angered me that Laurie knows my major, and the fact that she knows that one way to get me upset is to tell me how to play my violin.
“We were never best friends,” I responded, not even paying attention to anything else she had to say.
“Please, give us some credit! We shared our deepest darkest secrets with each other… except the one where you tried to get with my boyfriend at the time.” Her friends gasped; clearly, they are paid actresses or they really don’t know anything about this. “How is Simon, by the way? Got sick of you too? It’s okay, girl–“
“You really do not know what you’re even talking about,” I said, really wanting nothing more than to end this conversation. “And no, I don’t speak to Simon, but maybe you should try calling him; I know how he likes going for leftovers.”
It wasn’t until then that I felt a hard thud of my head hitting the hallway ground. I looked up to see Laurie on top of me, and I began to fight her while I was on the floor. Eventually, her friends stepped in and tried to grab her away from me. When they successfully did, I wipe down my clothes and put my hand near the cut on my lip. Laurie would not stop trying to fight off the people holding her back.
“You’re a fucking bitch, Sophie! I hope your dad stays in prison forever!” Laurie screamed at the top of her lungs in the hallway. The security guards grab hold of Laurie and begin to escort her out of the hallway. I grabbed my head where Laurie had grabbed my hair. What in the bloody hell is that girl’s problem? I hear what she yells as she gets pulled away down the hall, and it immediately makes me sick to my stomach. I hated that I told Laurie so much of my personal life back when we were friends; it was nothing but ammunition now whenever Laurie wanted to upset me. She was once a friend I confided in, and now she’s a person I wish I never opened up to. Milo was right all those times back in middle school; Laurie was never a friend to me, even when I was one to her.
“Mrs. Lee?” a voice from a room called out. I looked up and then at my mum, who gets up from her seat and walked toward the principal’s office. I already know that I’m grounded for the rest of my life after today. I always worry that my mum thinks the American culture is the reason why I’ve gotten in trouble in school. I’m afraid that she will make us move back to the UK or even worse; back to Korea. I squeezed my eyes shut, hoping that this day would just end.
It wasn’t long until my mum and I left Waverly High for the day. I felt sick to my stomach knowing that I was going home before the school day was over. I looked over at my mum. She continued to look forward and walk towards the car parked in front of the school. I was terrified to even breathe in her direction. She entered the car from the driver’s side, and I entered the backseat, not really wanting to sit next to my mom. She sat in the driver’s seat as if I wasn’t in the backseat, just waiting for her to say something to me. She simply started the car and drove away from the school without a single word said.
I looked down at my phone, opening up my messages with Milo to text him until my mum finally spoke while waiting at the stoplight.
“That cell phone will be confiscated when we walk into the house,” mum stated without looking back at me. I didn’t fight her on it; I knew the consequences of being a kid in trouble. “You know better than to get into fights with other girls, Soojin-ah.”
“I didn’t get into a fight with her, she started it!” I tried to explain to my mum, but she wasn’t listening to me.
“You were never like this before you met that boy,” mum spat back, and I knew exactly where she was going with this. “You met that boy and all of a sudden, you’re now getting yourselves into situations that you wouldn’t normally get into!”
“That’s not even true!” I yelled out. My mum stopped the car on the corner of the street, double parked in front of a busy store.
“Soojin-ah,” my mum sternly said my name. I know talking back is wrong, but I needed her to understand that my friendship with Milo is not the reason I am getting in trouble. It’s people like Laurie that don’t mind their own business and want to make my life a living bloody hell that–
“Your father would be disappointed in your behavior,” my mum said as she continued to drive along the road. I turned my head at her, wanting nothing more than to yell and scream and say everything that I wanted to say.
I don’t, even though I feel like I’m a ticking time bomb at this point.