• Pens from all around the room scribbled down the notes that were flashing up on the screen, but Jackson’s seemed slightly delayed. His eyes only glancing up once or twice on every slide picking out a few words making incomplete sentences like:

    Search originally Ark the God the Grail cup used…

    The rest of the time his bright green eyes were resting on the girl who never once looked up during class.

    Her brown hair looked as though she had taken a shower the night before, slept on it, and then did nothing with it in the morning. Resting on her shoulders was a blue Nike-hoodie, faded of course, the one she had worn nearly everyday for two years. Following that were her jeans, too big for her boyish hips and faded to a dirty green. Her name, Ellie.

    She was beautiful in his eyes, but to everyone else? Just another freak to pick on during class. Jackson watched her write, her soft hand gliding gently across the thin notebook. Then the bell rang; he turned in his seat placing his useless notes away into his backpack. By the time he stood up, put his pack on his shoulder and turned to his three football teammates, they were in the back corner surrounding Ellie’s desk. Oh no, he thought quickly searching for the history teacher Crap! He was already out to lunch too.

    “What ‘cha writin’ Elphie?” David the quarterback asked snatching up the purple notebook. He cleared his throat and began to read the haiku written in green ink aloud.

    “Red is the color-
    of love. It grips at the heart
    and it yearns for more.”

    All three burst into laughter, with tears nearly streaming down their faces and each time they looked over at Jackson, he made a little smile, playing along with their cruel joke. But it didn’t stop there. Peter, the running-back had ripped out the page with the haiku, tore it up and tossed it in the trash. He did the same for the pages before and after it, destroying poetry of all likes.

    Ellie looked up at them, her shoulder length brown hair falling in front of her face, but it did not mask the tears slipping down her cheeks. She threw her things into her hand-me-down bag trying to keep it together as best she could before completely breaking down in a bathroom where the only things that truly knew her name were the cold metal walls of each stall.

    She pushed her way through the football players who were now mocking her for her clothes and accessories. Jackson watched with sad eyes as she nearly ran out of the room bawling. After his teammates grabbed their bags each joined him by the door still laughing and there, they asked him the hardest question he would ever have to answer.

    “That was so awesome! Right Jackson? We made her cry!” Johnny the half-back asked.

    It was a simple harmless question. Only two words, but they were the toughest ones he had to hear directed at him. Right Jackson? Oh, but he couldn’t let them know, him liking a girl like her.

    Jackson let out a fake laugh and answered with only a two word response back “Yeah, sure…” His eyes didn’t make contact with them afraid of what they might find out so he walked out of the history room down to the cafeteria, trying to keep what he just witnessed out of his mind.

    He was sitting at his usual table where David, Johnny, and Peter always sat too and of course their girlfriends. Well, all except Jackson’s who was crying in the bathroom; at least he wished she was his. And just was he was thinking about her, Ellie walked in the large bustling cafeteria with her head down, but you could still see her puffy beautiful gray eyes and cute red nose which was raw from blowing.

    She moved carefully as if she was a tiny field mouse caught out in an open meadow in owl country. She dodged everyone around her with fluid motions until she hit the lunch line. A few moments passed before she reappeared with a flimsy styrofoam tray piled with spaghetti. Pausing for a second Ellie searched the large room for a place to sit with no one to bother her.

    But of course no one would have it that way. Ellie began to walk to a secluded table, passing where Jackson was, and as if on cue, Cynthia, Peter’s girlfriend, stood up with out a second to be lost and ran into Ellie pushing the styrofoam plate upward so the spaghetti stuck to the poets stomach.

    “God! Watch where you’re going Elphie!” Cynthia yelled before storming off to the bathroom to fix her makeup. And too, like Cynthia, Marry, David’s girl and Audrey, Johnny’s girl, stood up ramming their shoulders into Ellie’s as if to make a point before following Cynthia into the ladies room.

    Ellie could feel the warmth of the sauce seeping through the thin hoodie threatening to stain the shirt below. She peeled off the plate and scraped off the extra spaghetti, walked slowly to the trash, dumped it all and walked out of the lunch room. Jackson was so focused on her he didn’t even notice the tables all around were staring and laughing, he was sure she did.

    Ellie passed the bathroom where she could hear Cynthia’s voice floating out “Oh my God, Elphie is such a freak! Did you see the look on her face when I shoved her lunch into her stomach?” Ellie tried to ignore what she had heard, but it was difficult when the words where cruel and harsh.

    As she entered the empty second floor bathroom, Ellie stopped in front of the mirror to inspect the damage that was done. There were small noodles and chucks of tomatoes all over the front. She slipped off the faded hoodie trying to be careful not to get the mess on her pants or sleeves. Gently laying the sweat shirt on the damp floor her eyes gazed upon the white shirt, to large for her curve-less body and saw the red stains that seeped through making it look as though she had murdered someone.

    How could people be so cruel? So mean to torment the same person since middle school, when being popular meant everything, meaning she had nothing. Her vision clouded over, the second time in one day, and the tears began to slip down, splashing onto the porcelain sink. For the rest of the lunch period she tried to get the spaghetti off of her Nike-hoodie before returning to class, but the bell rang before she could finish and now she has a soggy, tomato sauce stained blue hoodie, and like all high school girls, as soon as the bell rings girls are drawn to the bathroom like bees on honey.

    They entered one after another each staring at Ellie laughing as they passed her to either use the facilities or hog the mirror to touch up their makeup or hair. Ellie, on the other hand, hurried out of the restroom slipping on her hoodie to hide what she had not finish on her white shirt before returning to class.

    Jackson returned to his next class, which was math only thinking about Ellie and how mean everyone is, was, and will be to the sweet, quiet, beautiful girl who no one really knows. Class went by quickly as did the rest of the day until finally he could return home to work on his homework and visit the family who loves him, but what about Ellie? What was her family like, did she have siblings? Grandparents who would come and visit? How about mom and dad? Where were they?