'Them' or 'Them'?
By Dhvani, age 14, Oman
Friends. The popular ones, or just the normal ones you've always hung out with? Which to choose? I want them both. God help me!
I guess you know what I'm talking about. But ... if you're not thinking what I'm thinking ... then read the story and you'll find out.
"Ugh, why do I have to go back to school, mum? Stupid first days!!" I said while having breakfast.
"C'mon, school's fun. Stop whining, for heaven's sake!" my mum replied.
I finished my breakfast, got in the car, and my driver drove me to school. I'm not really happy about going back to school, as I really didn't have a great year the year before in my new school.
As I walked through the front gates I saw my best mates waiting there for me. I ran towards them and we said our hellos and gave each other massive hugs.
"First day of grade nine, God! Did summer really have to end so quick?" Emily said, making a terrifying face. Mia and I just laughed. As we walked to homeroom we talked about summer, hot guys, beaches, magazines, and so on.
We entered homeroom and greeted some of our classmates, got to our seats, and Ms. Breeda McLoughin, our grade nine homeroom teacher, welcomed us to a new year and took attendance. She handed out our schedules and dismissed us all. As we got out of class, we saw hundreds of high school children scattering, looking for their classes, on a bright, sunny warm Saturday morning. Em, Mia, and I looked for Matthew to talk to him. As he saw us, he walked towards us and said, "'Ssup, mah peeps? I missed ya'll soo freaking much! How was your summer?" We cuddled him and he hugged us back.
I replied, "Haha, Matt, we're fine. Summer for me was horrible, and it turns out that for Em and Mia it was amazing. How horrible is that?" Then we decided to meet during first break at the drama court. I know it's a little weird to have one guy as a friend between three girls, but none of us cared, plus there was not only Matt, there was John, but at the end of grade 8 he moved to England. We're friends and will always be - we wanna leave it there.
It was first break, and we met in the drama court and talked about summer, schedules, teachers, subjects, books, and about the soccer team tryouts coming in about two months. The day was over at school, and as usual it was a boring day, and I got math homework already.
I got home, walked into the living room, and my parents said that they were waiting for me. They asked me how school was and if I was happy to see my friends. I replied, frowning, saying that school was amazing and I really enjoyed it. They were happy to know that I enjoyed school because I was whining in the morning about why I had to go to school. I laughed back and said that I was being sarcastic about school, and it was really bad because it's only the first day of school, and already I had math homework.
After I had finished lunch, I went up to complete my homework. After that, I sat on my laptop for a while and then watched TV. I was bored, so by the time I finished watching TV it was five in the evening. When I went to wake up mum, she said that we had to attend a party that night at a very close friend's place. I wasn't really excited, as it was a school night, and mum and dad always have parties going on. I'm not forced to go to them all, but for some I am. I went to the party and it was really boring. There was no one there my age. I was the only kid there! We got back at 12:30 that night, and I was really tired.
Then came the second day of school, a Sunday, another boring day, as classes drifted by. Eventually, the week ended. Slowly, two more weeks passed by. I was horrified about school already.
Then the fourth week of school came, a Saturday. I walked to homeroom with Em and Mia, we took our seats, and Ms. McLoughin was taking class attendance, when Mr. Salt, the high school principal, entered the classroom with a boy probably 5 feet 10 inches tall, with blondish-brown hair, sort of long. Em looked at him, then faced me and said, "Wow, that guy is cute!!" I told her to shut her mouth. Mr. Salt walked towards Ms. McLoughin and whispered something to her, then walked to the boy, and then out the door.
Ms. McLoughin asked the boy to come closer to her, put her around his shoulder, and said, "Class, we have a new student joining us from today! He's moved here from England! Harry, this is your new class! Class 9A. As you all know there is a system in the school for new children, so Harry will be appointed a buddy to look after him for a week or so."
Everyone stared at Harry wide eyed! Ms. McLoughin started talking again. "Harry, your buddy is going to be Dhvani! Why don't you go take a seat at the table next to hers?" Harry walked to the table next to where I was sitting with Em and Mia. Everyone stared at him as he walked towards me.
After about ten minutes Ms. McLoughin dismissed class. I got up from my seat and walked towards Harry, and introduced Em, Mia, and myself to him. He walked out of class along with us. Harry and I had almost the same schedule, and the classes we didn't have together he had either with Em or Mia. Matt was waiting outside our homeroom, and we introduced Harry to him, and Matt introduced himself to Harry. The five of us got along pretty well. Harry came along with me during break times to hang out with Em, Mia, and Matt.
Weeks passed, and Harry had now officially become a part of our little clique. He was a nice guy. He would hang out with us during the weekends too, and now Matt was not the only boy in the gang. Em told me that she had developed a crush for Harry. I was pretty surprised and encouraged her to ask him on a date. She was too scared to ask him because she was afraid of getting rejected by him.
The third month of school, the month of the soccer team tryouts, I was really excited, and so was Harry. He too decided to try out for the team. The tryouts were to be held on a Monday at 2:30 pm, right after school got over.
That Monday I was really nervous! As school ended, Harry and I walked to the field together. Mr. Horgan and Ms. Jones, the high school P.E. teachers, were waiting for the students to arrive at the field. All the kids who had signed up arrived. There were about 30 students, boys and girls, trying out for the soccer team. The girls were told to try out first for the girls soccer team while the boys watched. After about half an hour it was the boys' turn to try out for the boys soccer team. Harry played pretty well and I was impressed.
After the tryouts were over, Ms. Jones told the girls, "As you all know, there are only 11 players on the field. But we are taking five extra. For the girls' team we already have five players from last year, so we need 11 more players. For the boys, we also have 5 players, so we need 11 more players as well."
There was about a 10 second break, and then Mr. Horgan spoke. "The results of people chosen for the teams will be put up by Wednesday on the bulletin board opposite the cafeteria. For now, guys, good-bye, and you've all played really well!"
Everyone got up from the benches and walked off the field and went home! I went home too and so did Harry. The next day at school Harry and I were excited, waiting for Wednesday to come!!
When Wednesday came, the day the results were to be put up on the bulletin board, as soon as the bell for first break rang, Harry and I ran to the bulletin board. Running behind us were Mia, Emily, and Matt. By the time we reached the bulletin board, there were, like, ten other people there already! I pushed through people and so did Harry. I looked at the girls' team selections while Harry looked at the boys' team selections.
I pushed through the crowd once again after looking at the selected people. I just stared at my friends, then Harry came out too. I pulled him to the side, a little far away from Mia, Em, and Matt. After about two minutes, we walked towards Mia, Em, and Matt, and started to jump up and down with joy, screaming, "We got selected!! Yesss!!" They started jumping as well.
Saturday after school was the first day of practice for the soccer team. The practice was pretty tiring. I was surprised to see that I had a pretty good aptitude in soccer, much better than before. We practiced the next two weeks, three times a week (Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday), for two hours each day. It was terrible. I got really tired and barely had time to do homework.
The third week of practice, a Monday afternoon, Ms. Jones said there were already five girls on the team - those girls were all grade10. After practice they came up to me and introduced themselves. Their names were Maya, Lauren, Linda, Heather, and Lisa. I spoke to them for a while, and they said they were impressed by my soccer skills, and asked me to hang out with them during break time on Tuesday. I agreed.
Tuesday, during first break, I went to the drama court to tell my friends I was to hang out with the Grade 10 girls and some of their friends. My friends didn't seem to mind, so I did. On Wednesday, I went off to hang out with the Grade 10 girls again. Only during class time was I with my friends.
After about a week, my friends told me that I talked a lot about my Grade 10 friends. They were upset and told me to choose between them or the popular Grade 10 girls.
I chose the Grade 10 girls, and my friends stopped talking to me. In class I would sit all by myself. One day in school, I saw Harry had his hands around Em's waist and she had hers around Harry's. I smiled and walked up to them and said, "Hi!" They just looked at me and walked away. A tear rolled down my eye.
It had been three whole weeks since I had talked to my old friends. On the other hand, I'd always tried to be myself with the Grade 10 girls, but they never really liked me for who I was. They told me I should do what they did and not talk much and be like them. I didn't like that, but I told myself, "Well, at least they like my football skills!!"
Soccer practice still continued, and I tried talking to Harry, but he wouldn't respond at all. I was angry at him and all my friends. I was walking with Maya, Lauren, Linda, Heather, and Lisa and some of their friends, and we walked past the drama court, and I saw all my old friends sitting there, eating their lunches, laughing loudly, and Em and Harry making out. I walked off.
That same day, during second break, I heard Heather telling Lisa, "Oh, my God, Dhvani is so not like one of us! Thank God Maya told her she would have to be one of us if she wanted to hang out with us. She's, like, a serious freak or something!"
I was hurt, hurt by my new friends, the ones who thought that my soccer was amazing. Then I wondered, if I were still with my old friends, would they do this to me? No, they wouldn't, 'cause they like me for who I am, not for what I'm pretending to be, right?
I walked right up to Maya, and said, "Maya, you know you were never really a nice friend to me! You ruled over me, something my old friends would never do to me, because they like me for who I am, not who I am pretending to be!"
Maya just stared at me open mouthed as I turned away from her and started to walk away. Then she yelled, saying, "Dhvani, that was not nice! You can't say that to me! I'm Maya, the girls' soccer team captain! Get back here and apologize, or else I'll kick you off the soccer team!"
I looked at her and said, "I don't care if you kick me off the soccer team! Right now, actually, true friendship means more to me than soccer!" I turned away again and walked out of the cafeteria.
I then walked towards the drama court and saw my friends there. I went up to them and they just stared at me. I said, "Guys, I'm really sorry! I know leaving you guys was the biggest mistake I've done. Please, forgive me! I was wrong about the Grade 10 girls. They didn't like me for who I am. They wanted me to be like them! Maya said if I were to hang out with you guys again, she'd kick me off the school soccer team! I don't care. The thing that means the most to me right now is you guys! C'mon, please!?"
Matt got up, walked to me, pulled me towards him, and hugged me really tight, and said, "Welcome back, Dhvani! We've missed you a lot!" The others got up too and hugged onto us!! That made me happy and also made me cry. These are the friends who liked me and still like me for being me! Now that is true friendship!