This is a regular column featuring original fiction by and for high school students, provided by Figment.com, an online community writing site for young people.
The air was warm and smelled of home, the comforting scent of lavender fabric softener underlying it. The soft folds of my blanket encased me in a cocoon that sheltered me from the harsh outside world. All was dark and quiet. The sky was a translucent, shining blue as I raised the blanket above me, holding it with my palms just as atlas had supported the sky.
Suddenly, a flush of chilly air hit me as my mom yanked the covers off the bed. “You’ll miss the bus if you don’t get up right now!” she reminded. I groaned. There was no escape. The day had finally arrived.
Stephanie Chase had been my best friend since kindergarten. Once we set foot in ninth grade, however, her lustrous, flowing hair, long, slender legs and lush eyelashes framing her almond eyes immediately shot her to the top of the social pyramid. She became so preoccupied with going out on dates that she completely stopped answering my phone calls and text messages. She became friends with the gaggle of girls who crowded her, fawned over her, and copied her every move. The warm smile faded from her lips and narrowed into a slight sneer. When she swept past my hallway greeting without even the slightest sign of acknowledgment, she made it clear that my low social status would taint her rising stock.
And now, as if to rub her superiority in my face, she was running for class president. Against me. From the moment she volunteered to be nominated, raising her perfectly-manicured hand high in the air like a dainty flag, I wished for nothing more than for her to somehow embarrass herself in front of the school, for her to have a taste of the bitter humiliation I had received every day since she rejected me. I wanted her stiletto to catch the edge of a stair while she strutted up to the podium, and I wanted her to have a glorious, slow-motion, face-first descent onto the hard ledge of the metal bar, arms flailing like a rag doll, trying to catch her fall. The impact would knock out a single pearly white tooth, a permanent blemish on an otherwise perfect visage. I shifted to keep the back of the stiff plastic folding chair from digging into my spine. The auditorium was a forest of classmates, chirping to one another. I let myself get buried in the sound, swallowed up completely. My speech had already been delivered, and probably forgotten, as soon as I had clunked down the steps amid the clicking sound of nails tapping against iPhones, undoubtedly texting criticism about my speech.
“Stephanie Chase, please step up to to the stage,” came the booming voice of the principal. Stephanie, in her pink miniskirt, stood up to whoops and cheers, and confidently proceeded towards the podium. And then, it happened. A beautiful nosedive that would have amazed the judges in any Olympic competition.
Stephanie crashed to the ground, her mouth open in a goldfish-like O shape. She skidded on the waxed wooden floor of the gym, her skirt flipping up. The auditorium roared with laughter. My glorious moment had finally come, so why didn’t I feel happy? Instead of gloating, I walked over to where Stephanie sat and offered her my hand. And for the first time since eighth grade, she flashed me a wide, open, dazzling grin.