If you had to choose between having a rock catapulted at you and being insulted by those whom you love, what would you choose? Keep in mind; this is a decent sized rock I’m talking about. If I were given the ultimatum, the rock would win any day. I have positively no doubts about that.
Seventh grade was when I truly had this realization.
It was January, the day after break. I remember distinctly, due to the post-Christmas distress that loomed over the tiny middle school. To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t in the mood much for socializing that infamous day of Mrs. Smith’s wellness class.
I entered the room silently, thankful when I saw a young-looking sub sitting in Mrs. Smith’s chair. I walked back to my seat, trying to ignore my energetic friend, Sarah, who sat practically bouncing up and down in the chair next to mine.
“Oh my God, Kelly. I need to tell you something!” she squealed, as I sat down at my seat.
“What?” I demanded, a little too harshly.
She remained relentless. “Jess said something about you today.”
That caught my attention. Jess was probably my ‘best’ friend; I didn’t think she would ever say anything about me. I tried to convince myself that I had nothing to worry about as she spoke.
“So, I was in Math, and I heard Jess talking to someone, I don’t know who, and she said…” she trailed off, dropping her voice so low it was almost completely inaudible. Not good.
“What?” I repeated; annoyed by her sudden evasiveness.
She sighed and looked away from my harsh expression. “She said that she wishes she wasn’t your friend. That she’d be more popular if she wasn’t.”
Each word was like a piercing blow to my frail ego, and my even frailer heart. Without a word or explanation to Sarah, I headed towards the door.
“Bathroom,” I mumbled to the confused substitute. I didn’t know if he heard me, and I didn’t care. I never looked back as I bolted to the bathroom, the tears already cascading down my face.
I wish Jess had thrown a rock at me. Any size, I won’t be picky. Anything would have been better than the scar she left on my ego and heart, all with those simple words. It may have been petty, a popularity issue, but that’s something I’ve brought with me. That when someone mentions popularity, or lack there of, I think back to that day. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will leave scars that will never leave you. This I believe.