The friendly cheerleader swam in the sea of other students to her next class with friends by her side. As she entered the annex building, she sensed the commotion before she turned the corner.
There was a circle of students murmuring encouragement in quiet tones. The familiar heat of a fight brewing was all she could feel now. She dropped her books next to the orange lockers and strode to the group with one purpose in mind without ever making a decision.
Within the ring were two familiar faces. A plump, quiet boy she knew from the neighborhood was nose-to-nose with a snarling angry boy who bore down on him with dark threats flashing in his eyes.
She moved through the crowd with her eyes on the boys, trying to read their lips, sense their next moves. Hands that tried to stop her, keep her safe, were stung with the electricity of her resolve, and released her.
Despite the fact that intermittant shoves were being thrown around her slight body, she slipped like a petal between two angry bees, and talked with calm intent.
The tension thickened, knotted, heightened until her words massaged it back to the ground.
She turned to face the rough, angry boy, her pale determined eyes boring into his black stormy ones and calmly, firmly told him things people didn’t tell him. Despite that now he towered over her in muscular heft with thick-fingered fists clenched and ready, she saw the little boy he was years ago, slight and sweet and begging his big sister to let him join in their play date. She read his secrets all over his face, and used that to talk him out of a very bad decision without letting anyone else hear. Then she locked his secrets in her heart, because they weren’t hers to share.
Feeling in control now, she turned her back to him and put a hand up on the trembling shoulder of the pent-up boy who was under attack, and magically moved him away, pride still intact.
Before a teacher approached scene, the words and calm she pushed into the air forced the feet of the crowd to move on. Allowed the bully the get one more threat off his tongue that would never be followed through upon. Gave the frustrated boy in the glasses another chance to not be someone like the people who doled out cruelty to him, whose only touches and words for others were violent.
As she walked him to his class she whispered hopes and belief and understanding in his ears, because she saw his secrets, too.
Once he was safely tucked inside, she picked up her own books and moved on, with no one the wiser as to how similar the bully, the bullied, and the cheerleader were.
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This post was written for The Red Dress Club Memoir Meme writing prompt.
The prompt went like this:
Imagine you are meeting someone for the first time. You want to tell them about yourself. Instead of reciting a laundry list of what you do or where you’re from, please give us a scene from your life that best illustrates your true self.
There were two scenes that came to mind, but this was the first. I try not to think too much when I write. I let them just come to me, write themselves in my head. Then I type it out, clean it up a little, try not to over-think. I’m having a hard time sharing this one, but in my efforts to try to be more brave this year, here it is. I hope you see me now.
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