Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Friend (11/02/17)
TITLE: Orange Is the Colour of Friendship
By Lucy Steel
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Two weeks ago, when I started my new school, mum gave me advice – just be yourself. Clearly mum has never been in ninth grade – no-one should just be themselves in ninth grade. Being yourself will not make people like you. Being sexy like Selena Gomez, or fun like Miley Cyrus – that’s what will make you successful in high school.
Or being Jacqueline Adams.
Jacqueline Adams is the Princess of Silverdale High. She doesn’t need a tiara because her golden-flecked chestnut hair is so shimmery it’s like a crown of light around her head. Her impossibly long lashes frame hazel eyes, which open wide as she speaks, giving the impression that she has a delicious secret just for the listener.
Her laugh is silvery and tinkly. Boys will do anything to hear her laugh. Which is just as well because she excels in telling people exactly what they should do to make her life more comfortable – from doing her homework to buying her a Coca-Cola at lunch-time, Jacqueline will convince you it’s just what you want to do at that moment.
Her nickname around school is Supermodel. Super-full-of-herself is more like it.
I haven’t seen Jacqueline at school today, which is strange. She’s hard to miss. Each morning she glides through the school gates, already surrounded by an entourage almost as glittery and gorgeous as herself. Jacqueline looks like she should be walking into the Palazzo Versace, not the school quadrangle.
I, on the other hand, look like I belong in the Formula One Motel. But right now I’m in science class, looking at my hands like they’re the most fascinating things I’ve ever seen. I’m doing this so people can’t see the tears in my eyes as I wait for the inevitable words from the teacher -
“Will someone please partner with Lisa!”
We’re forming groups to conduct a science experiment, and, as usual, no-one wants to pair with me. Initially, I would look hopefully at faces, offer a tentative smile. But I quickly learned it was less humiliating to keep my head down rather than suffer the averted eyes and uncomfortable shrugs of classmates.
Still no-one joins with me. My glasses fog up with tears and I ask to be excused. The teacher dismisses me with a wave of her hand.
I run to the toilets, lock myself in a cubicle and put my head in my hands. Big fat tears run down my face. Why does no-one like me? Is there even one person who’d want to spend time with me?
I suddenly realise I’m not alone – I can hear muffled sobbing in the cubicle next to me.
I stay quiet – the last thing I need is to face someone right now, even if they are a crying mess like myself. But I inadvertently let out a sneeze and I know I’m done for.
“Who’s there?” hiccups a voice from the cubicle.
“Umm… Lisa,” I say.
I’m silent, hoping to end the conversation before it begins. But the voice continues, this time with a touch of hysteria.
“I don’t know what to do…. “
I sigh and miserably unlatch the toilet door.
“Do you need help?” I call, stepping out of the cubicle.
The cubicle door opens and I’m face to face with… Jacqueline Adams!
I suck in my breath slightly. However, Jacqueline looks at me without recognition.
“No-one can help me”, she wails, “I’m beyond help!” She points to her legs. “Look!”
I blink. Oh wow!
Her legs are orange. Not subtle, brownish-orange, but bright orange, like a fluorescent work jacket.
“My mum’s fake tanning cream! I wanted it to work so I put on seven coats.” She slumps onto the toilet seat and blubbers, looking like a beautiful seagull with her skinny orange legs dangling.
Then, I have an idea.
“Take these,” I say, removing my black opaque stockings.
She comprehends what I’m doing and relief swamps her face. “Oh, thank you!” she breathes.
She puts them on, takes my arm and we walk outside. “You know, orange is my favourite colour,” she says ruefully. Then she brightens. “What are you doing for lunch?”
I can’t stop smiling. I may have found my one friend!
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