Is it worth the heartbreak?
Ruby lugged the way too heavy school bag across the road, barley missing a car with no headlights. Why do school bags have to be so heavy? Understood, they have to fill it with a year’s worth of education but surely there is a lighter fabric. Ruby had only been in eighth grade for three weeks but it was proving easier than seventh and harder than sixth. It would have been a lot harder without Ella. Ruby and Ella had been friends since birth and “Best Friends Forever” simply didn’t cover how close they were. They knew every secret about each other and every heartache.
Ruby side stepped a puddle of green water and walked through the school gates. The only thing about Ella that Ruby was jealous of was, Ella had a boyfriend and (guess what?) Ruby didn’t. Apparently at this age is was compulsory. If you didn’t have a boyfriend, considered yourself a lonely creep who only washes four times a year or less.
Ruby passed a group of girls whose only accessory was their boyfriends. Ella came side-ling up to Ruby and smiled.
“You would tell me if your pet fish died wouldn’t you?” Ruby nodded. She was surprised that Ella would even mention her prize gold fish in the same sentence as herself.
“Yeah, I would but they haven’t as far as I know of. Look, Ella, do I have a zit?” This was truly life and death. If Ruby walked around all day with a glowing spot, who knows what would happen. She might attract a bull from Spain. Who knows? Things happen. Ella rolled her eyes.
“No. Oh wait, one. Maybe two. Hardy noticeable really.” She patted Ruby’s arm which was about to fall off from the weight of the backpack. Great, unattractive and spotty. Ruby almost felt like a leopard with braces and glasses. Ella and Ruby made their way past the throngs, toward assembly.
Honestly, how can some one be so boring. The head teacher droned on about either climate change or baby rattles. Still, Ruby knew it was better than factions or persuasive essays. (Those were Ruby’s least favourite).
“Has he finished? I turned my ears off.” said Ella, propping her head on her hands. Ruby tried to not giggle. And Failed. The head teacher lifted his eyes to the middle row.
“Ruby?” he said sternly. “I don’t find the mould in the cafeteria food funny. Please keep your humour to yourself during assembly.” He lowered his eyes.
“And in the further, please keep the toilet paper out of your skirt.” Heartless. Ella put a protective arm around Ruby as they left the room. The chants and teasing were jabbing.
“Its fine, Ruby. Just forget about it. Remember the guy who had mashed potato in his hair? I can’t even remember his name.” said Ella when they were safely hid inside the bathroom. Ruby sniffed strongly.
“But its a classic embarrassment situation! Toilet paper in my skirt!” Ruby buried deeper into Ella’s shoulder.
“Why was it me that he picked on?” Ella cringed.
“Honest?” Ruby nodded.
“Well, you were sitting rather close to the front and your laugh was a little too loud. I mean, I know I am funny but really?” Ruby burst into tears.
“I didn’t say be mean! Are you saying I’m not cool. That’s why I can’t get a boyfriend!” Ella handed her a piece of paper towel to dry her eyes.
“No, you are cool.” Ella tilted her head. “Maybe if your hair was a little less up tight….” Ruby hastily took the tie out of her hair.
“Maybe if you smiled more.” Ruby laughed.
“That’s better. Now who can resist that, eh?” said Ella as Ruby smiled and put her hand on the handle.
“Mmm.” Before walking out the door, she glanced in the mirror.
“Not bad. I feel fairly confident.”
When they left the bathroom and walked toward the classroom, the laughs were not as loud as before. They took a seat at the back. Teachers can’t see past the third row.
“Take a mental not of all the boys in this class. Just not Harry, I heard his toenails are way too long.” said Ella lightly. Ruby sat in her seat eyeing the boys in front of her. Mental note made.
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