Ruining Her Favorite Play
Margaret skips out of her house, smiling and laughing. She continues to skip, and she immediately feels calmer as she takes in this mild and beautiful Summer day. She continues to gallop through the sea of short, sleek, green blades of vegetation. Her bright, floral dress flutters as her silky, auburn hair bounces along. Fully grown trees shiver and flowers dance as the gentle breeze blows by. The sun is a brilliant orb of life sitting in the sky as clouds fly by. Sweet aromas of lilacs and tulips swim within Margaret's nose. Her skip slows to a subtle fast-walk as she continues across the soft green.
Her bare feet drag atop the sleek grass, which is decorated with a sheet of morning dew. Margaret carries a hardcover of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet in one hand and a bottle of ice-cold lemonade in the other, arriving at a picnic table near the fence that is guarding the backyard. Margaret places her book and drink on the polished glass table and takes a second to simply breathe. The aroma of the lilacs and tulips from her mother's garden still lingers. Margaret takes a sip of her lemonade and is pleased as the sweet, cold liquid travels down her throat. She breathes one more time and smiles. Margaret picks up the book and contently says,
"Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare."
Her bright, sapphire eyes begin to roll through the pages. Suddenly, before Margaret knew what hit her, a stream of water found the top of her head, making a complete mess. The table is beaten with the sudden rainfall. Down to its binding, the book is dampened with droplets. Nearby, the mouth of a hose is violently spitting in different directions after falling to the ground, and the laughing of children can be heard. As calm as can be, Margaret collects herself and walks back into her home. One of the boys looks confused, asking his friends, "We just soaked the weirdo with water! That girl is such a freak! Reading books, making conversation with teachers, acting so snobby. Do you guys know what her game is?"
The other two, hooded and unknown, shrug. One of them chuckles before responding.
“Just another pathetic people-pleaser trying to get good grades. A classic teacher’s pet. Nobody wants to be friends with that fake.”
The other boy jumps in, almost reaching for his feet and pretending to gag.
“And that snooty family of hers! Ugh! The whole lot of them are elitist frauds!”
Bending over, they all break into unsettling laughter and eventually pull themselves together. After adjourning, they all run off in directions away from the scene of the crime. Looking through a window on the second floor of Margaret's house, I see all of this, wanting to say nothing. Before I can scream at them, I feel a cold, wet hand gently grasps my shoulder. My head pivots to discover that this hand belongs to Margaret, who is giving me a look of disappointment meant for my lack of control. She gently shakes her head and says,
"Don't do anything you'll regret. They don't deserve it. I promise you they'll get what they rightfully deserve."
I push her hand away, asking,
"You always say that and it never happens! I would love to see them go to our principal with their tails between their legs. Unfortunately, I know that isn’t going to happen... it never does! At least go to their parents, just anything to get back at them for what they did. If you don't, I will pursue those kids with my favorite baseball bat!"
Margaret shakes her head again. She caresses my face, giving me that old look of disappointment. Although we both know I'm right, I still don't like seeing Margaret upset over my unchecked aggression. After removing her hand from my face, she walks to her room, dripping with the cold and crystal liquid from the outdoors, and closes the door behind her. I stand there, wondering why she endures these attacks, and why has she for so long.
There is nothing wrong with her. Nothing but goodness and purity fill that girl to the brim. Although a remarkable girl, Margaret is one of the most renowned targets for bullies at our middle school. A girl more mature than most adults, a child that has an IQ higher than Einstein's. She is the Beethoven to music, the Picasso to art and the Shakespeare to poetry. Thirteen-year old Margaret Thompson is my best friend, and is the most inspirational person I have had the pleasure to know. Margaret creates paintings that cause her mother to cry tears of joy, plays piano pieces difficult enough to make her instructor wet his trousers, is mature enough to engage many adults in perennial conversations that put philosophers to shame, amazes educators across the state because she received a perfect score on the SAT test (might I add, merely to humor herself), and struck psychologists when she took many tests that calculated her IQ to be approximately 165, which is in the ballpark of many renowned scientists and historical figures who have remain revered for centuries.
Regardless of the hatred and envy from many of our classmates, I was never jealous of her, and I am still not. I never have been envious of my best friend; ever since I discovered the practically immaculate intelligence and purity Margaret possesses, I only admire her. Not only do I look up to her brains and kindness, but I am always blown away by her beauty too. She has everything, but everyone tries their best to efface those respectable qualities with their harsh words, strident comments, and pure torture and tantalization.
And here she is: Margaret, a gifted genius, forced to sit with a bunch of morons. Bullied and tortured nearly every day, Margaret somehow manages to remain calm. But I can't; I'm ready to push a few faces in. Those kids better leave her be; they’re really pissing me off, and at this rate I have no problem taking up a part time job as a graveyard keeper. Margaret assures me that it is all okay and that she doesn't mind any of the bullying; she tried to convince me that she has adopted policies of patience and oblivion, which she claims is useful in ignoring and putting up with these snot-nosed, prepubescent terrorists. I honestly don’t know how she does it. I’m purchasing a shovel just in case I decide to enter the workforce early.
This entire situation is even worse because kids are picking on someone who is not only intelligent and talented, but is literally an angel. On weekends, Margaret gives up a few hours to help feed the homeless. She also donates almost all of her allowance (which, may I add, is a lot of money) to local hospitals. There is no pride in what these kids are doing; they’re terrorizing someone who is not only a good Samaritan, but even accusing her of brown nosing because of the wonderful things she does. Margaret insists that nothing is wrong and that I shouldn't cause any trouble, but I am certain she is hurting; she doesn't want to admit to the pain she is feeling, as she never wants to upset anyone… especially me because I lose my temper.
I have the burden of guilt bearing down on my shoulders ever since she and her family took me in. I had lost everyone I loved in an instant, but she didn't take a second to think when she held out her hand to me, hoping I would grab before I drowned in my own despair. At ten years old, I was already friends with Margaret, who already understood concepts from algebra to Shakespearean plays. Then there was me: the little nimrod who was so proud of knowing fractions and number factorization. Or that one time, when I was seven and I had gotten a perfect score on a division test and wanted to hang up on the fridge, and a moment later Margaret asked for help graphing a linear equation. Anyway, one day I was having a playdate at Margaret's house while her mother cooked and her father went to clean the house.
Now, nothing was more breathtaking than Margaret's abode: a three story home, the house at 32 Fountain Drive in a wealthy neighborhood, is an inhabited masterpiece. Banana-yellow paint ruling the exterior, this house is full of hardwood floors, elaborately laced carpets, sleek laminate, and polished rock tiles. Most of the furniture is made of furnished cherry wood and oak. The walls are conquered by pictures, paintings, and tapestries. Platinum mirrors hang on the walls while golden chandeliers hang from the ceilings. Expensive vases, ornaments, books, and knick-knacks fill most of the furniture in the house. The kitchen walls are of a snow white, while the living rooms are ruled by forest-green, the bathrooms washed in midnight-blue, the master bedroom enveloped in four sides of magenta, the guest bedrooms full of pigments of pink, and Margaret's bedroom is encased in a box of a wisteria-purple. Full of colors, antiques and impressive decor, Margaret's house always amazes me. When I was younger and went to visit Margaret, I always told my parents I was “off to the museum”. Then I nearly soiled myself once when I heard the market value of their home was over one-million dollars.
It’s one of those houses you see in an after shot on a home designer program; you wait for the house to be revealed and the owners drop to their knees in tears. Yeah, this house is basically one of those episodes that didn’t air. If I had the chance to pick a place to live, it would be in this house. I loved my house with every ounce of my heart, but Margaret's really tops it. The Thompsons were able to afford this stately home because Margaret's mother is a renowned real estate agent while her father is the CEO of a big technology company that is responsible for thousands of popular devices and products that are exported across the nation. Between Mr. and Mrs. Thompson, the family has an annual income of nearly five-hundred thousand dollars. Even now, I can't imagine making that much in several years of any future career of my own, unless I decide to become a doctor that practices law on the side.
A lot of people have questioned some of the decisions some of the Thompsons have made. Given their socioeconomic status, we have been the receivers of condescending glares, sneers, and unneeded gasps from other wealthy families. They do realize private school is an option, right? Or the lovely variations of how could they hurt their child’s education by sending them to a public institution? My favorite is probably I can’t believe they have their daughters around poor people! They act as if average people carry communicable diseases. Don’t worry about it, money bags; no one is going to make you bed ridden because they have a lower salary (or undeserving inheritance) than you, so don't get your golden panties in a twist.
The Thompsons have been similarly blunt to people with these comments like I have been. After receiving one of these responses, the Mrs. replied,
“We’ve taught our daughters to respect and befriend others regardless of wealth. By all means, send your pristine children to that private academy. Just know that we don’t want ours thinking they’re better than anyone. Besides, you’re quick to attack public schools but you’ve poured more money into that tacky dress than you ever have into another child’s education. That being said, please kindly take your royal opinion and shove it into a place out of my sight.” Needless to say, that lady friend of theirs never came over for a drink again.
Anyway, after a movie marathon the two of us ventured into the backyard to rest our bloodshot eyes (well, we were scared to; Mr. Thompson joked our eyes would fall out if we kept looking at the television with no breaks). We played as Mrs. Thompson put a casserole into the oven after allowing it to heat up to heat up. I ran around, played with Margaret, remained oblivious to the world around me, and was happy simply because I was happy. No more complicated was my life… not until the phone rang.
Margaret and I stopped in our gallops and leapt long enough to see Mrs. Thompson's reaction to the phone call. She walked over to the phone, wearing a smile that soon diminished after picking up the phone. Margaret and I stood, wondering what she was hearing. She gawked, held her hand up to her mouth, and her eyes began to water. Mrs. Thompson hung up the phone and dragged her feet before slumping into a nearby chair, her face glistening from tears. After we walked across the room, Margaret sat on her mother's lap before she asked her a question.
"What's wrong, Mommy?”
Her mother wiped away her salty tears, gently held one of her hands, and said,
"Oh, nothing, my dear. Just something happened at work."
Margaret then shook her head and said,
"You're lying to me, Mommy. Something is making you sad. What's wrong?”
Mrs. Thompson looked at Margaret, then at me. After holding my hands, she gave me a gentle but strong embrace and began to weep. I didn't understand what was happening. That was because I never understood death until now. All of my grandparents and my parents were all at my house when apparently a large fire had started. Trying to escape, debris trapped them in the living room... and they were all burned alive. Many say it was an accidental tragedy, but after a discarded shell casing was found in the wreckage, to this day... I’m not convinced.
At first I had no grip on what had just happened; I thought it was a sick joke, and later asked the Thompsons when I would be going home. When it had hit me what had happened, I couldn’t fathom that I was living this. After the initial shock subsided, I cried for days following the news. There was even more pain learning that my mother was pregnant with my little brother who was due in two months. His name was going to be Nathanial, and they had planned to announce that I would be a big sister at my party when I had come back home. I had no aunts, uncles or cousins, so I was all alone... until I learned my godparents were the Thompsons, and that I would soon be living on 32 Fountain Drive. I didn't care about moving forward; all I cared about was my family, which was literally ripped out of my life and I still felt alone.
But I tried to remember through all of that pain, that the silver lining was discovering the Thompsons were actually my godparents, and I would be calling Margaret my sister. Never will I forget what the Thompsons have done for me. They took me in when I needed a hug, a shoulder to cry on, and people I could call my family. They took away that deep loneliness and made me feel somewhat whole again. That is why l will do everything I can to protect my new sister and best friend, Margaret, from the evils of Seacrest Middle School.
I will defend Margaret, and apply retribution when necessary until she is safe, whether she approves of my involvement or not. I’m not treating her as some sort of deity because of the life her family has offered me (which people have accused me of, so I thanked them with the middle finger salute) but I have seen the kind of person Margaret truly is, and wow... I, without a doubt, believe this sad world doesn’t deserve someone as special as her.
My name is Elizabeth Dayton. I am a violent girl (so I've been told) with a past that... isn't really easy for me to explain or revisit. I love pop, rock and alternative music. I love to play video games and watch horror flicks. My favorite color is purple, while my least favorite is red, for obvious reasons (need I say more?). I’ve been told my brunette hair matches the dark earth, and my eyes are masses of uncut emerald. I try to keep myself up with everything I have been through, and many days... that’s nothing short of frustratingly hard.
But none of that matters because this is about Margaret. She is more peaceful than Gandhi on his best days. She loves classical music as well as symphonies. She does enjoy some video games, but she usually prefers to paint, play music, read, and write. Her favorite color is pink while her least favorite is black. Her striking auburn hair and sapphire eyes still fascinate me. I just want to know if my best friend is safe from these people; since it’s frowned upon to beat people, the next best I can do is protect her... unless I need to beat them in the process.
I walk in on Margaret, who is sitting on her bed, looking down at her wet book. William Shakespeare’s name is now blotted and its color trickles down the cover. It continues to run because I notice it is getting watered by Margaret's tears. I grow sad, but also angry as every second ticks by. I sit down next to her and ask,
"Are you okay?"
She looked at me, then back at her book, still crying. She looks back at me, wiping the tears away, and says,
“I’m... okay. It's just, I love this book. It's my favorite by William Shakespeare. He is capable of shattering the illusion of a fairytale by showcasing flawed love in its most raw form. Learning about this seemingly happy world and realizing the truths within it, I admired this book for its realistic depiction of a real-life confrontation, despite the plot being a tad far-fetched. But now all my notes and commentary in the margins are ruined. It will take hours, maybe even days, to replicate them in a new copy."
I take hold of her hands after she lays the ruined book next to her on the bed. I look into her overflowing pools of sapphire, still grasping onto her hands, and I say,
"I can still grab a baseball bat if you want to change your mind."
She shakes her head. She rises from her bed, places the soaked novel on top of her dresser and says,
"No please, Elizabeth; don't cause any trouble. You're my best friend, and I understand that you want to protect me. But are you any better than the children that are taunting me if you become violent?"
I grew silent after she finished speaking, but she still holds my hands, saying,
"Don't worry. I am okay. What I don't understand is... you with baseball bats. When did you become a major league contender?"
“Pff, I shouldn’t get a foul using the other team for batting practice.”
We both laugh and talk for a bit. But after I leave her room, I am still frustrated with the kids that interfered with Margaret's day. What kind of monsters prey on someone so innocent, who did absolutely nothing to them? She is an amazingly talented and lovable girl. Maybe the kids are jealous of her? Her parents have boatloads of money. Maybe they're jealous of her parents' fortune? Maybe kids are jealous that, unlike themselves, Margaret has someone who is willing to step up for her? Even if it is jealousy, how will bullying make it any better for them? It doesn't make any sense. But no matter what, Margaret has me to defend her.
One thing remains obvious: this one day Margaret finally broke and she failed to conceal it completely, even from me, and that further confirmed my fears that this is all truly hurting her. Over the last couple years, Margaret has been picked on before, but in those past events she convinced me not to be worried, that she knew they are all just a bunch of bumbling Neanderthals who can’t distinguish one orifice from the other (her words exact). I wasn’t convinced and still brought this to the attention of Margaret’s parents, teachers in the school, and even our principal. Without more than my complaints and Margaret’s acknowledgement of the events, nothing much more than a slap on the wrist was delivered to those punks. Even with Margaret reinforcing the events I recalled, I remained unconvincing and students got lenient punishments. Though I knew very well she deeply appreciated me getting it involved, verbalizing it to me on every occasion, but I could feel she was almost resisting my help against these bullies.
Margaret and I have always been closely connected, however; our friendship stems from early childhood, a bond that began and remained incredibly resilient. Elementary School was okay; innocence was still retained, and happiness was achieved through the simple offering of candy or a new pencil. You could walk in there and, in most cases, feel actually safe. Work wasn't so complicated, either, which left more time to enjoy life. Back then, nobody really bothered Margaret. Not like now at least. Back then kids were more worried if they had enough glue for their group project than of their classmate’s opinions. I remember the first day we were in Elementary school together. It was a day that I will never forget.
Before I lost my parents to the fire, my mother was bringing me to school. I was as nervous as I could possibly be. My legs trembled and my lips quivered, holding my purple lunch box while sitting next to my kitty backpack. Right before I left for school, Mom gave me a kiss on my forehead and hugged me.
"I love you Sweetie, and I hope you have a wonderful day at school!"
As I was about to turn and reluctantly walk forward, my mother tapped on my shoulder and told me one of my favorite sayings of hers I always hold close to my heart.
“Remember: even when the moon is not in the sky watching over you, it is still thinking of you and doing its best to keep you safe and sound.”
When I was much younger, I always thought the moon was beautiful. My parents always told me it was a gentle giant, providing its light to anyone who was lost in the dark.
One time shortly after the sun had set, I joined my father on the porch. He used to bounce me on his knees, especially when I was a baby, and it was super fun. It was basically a free ride! Dad said he used to love hearing me giggle with joy. After bouncing me on his knees for a few minutes, we looked up at the sky, spotting the moon climbing over the horizon.
“There is our friend and guardian of the night, sweetie.”
“Yup!” I gleefully shouted as I pointed at the moon.
“Darling, I want to tell you something very important about our friend, the moon.”
I looked at him in his deep and dark eyes, which still held twinkles of light within.
“Monsters come from the dark, and sometimes they like to hide and live in there. But you don’t need to worry about the dark so long as you look for and stay with the light. It scares off the monsters, and angels like you are meant to be protected by the moon and the stars.”
Leaving the car, I remember what Mom and Dad had told me about my friend, the moon, and I started to walk toward the school, Central Warrior Elementary, imagining what school would be like. It was funny, most of the incoming first graders had never even heard of the word warrior prior to that day (of course that didn’t include Margaret). In our new classes later that day, the teachers would have given the definition to that word. Approaching the school, I am quickly surrounded by a sea of moving children. I then found Margaret, who stood all alone by a flimsy tree, and walked over to her, needing someone to talk to myself. Until we were escorted to our new classes, Margaret and I just talked. While I mentioned some books, Margaret mentioned some plays she read. Then I was happy beyond words because I discovered that we were together in class for the entire year. Other kids were very friendly. There were only a couple of kids there who should've stayed back another year (not so much they didn’t deserve to be promoted due to their academic performance, but more so I didn’t like them and didn’t want to face them in the same class the following year). Overall, though, the experience was amazing, and not only that, but both Margaret and I were truly happy. Suddenly life happened, as it tends to, and... things quickly changed.
Now, Margaret and I are trapped in our absurd middle school, absolutely appalled by the kids that we have to deal with. I am especially upset with what those kids did to Margaret now. At that moment, I felt so helpless. Nevertheless, I will get my hands on the kids responsible for ruining her favorite play. They better watch out, or they'll have my foot in a place they prefer it not to be. There is only one thing I have to say to people who bother Margaret: leave her alone.