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A Moment Passed
“Hurry up! Class is almost over!” Mr. Smith, the PE teacher, exclaimed and pointed his finger towards a door marked Boys. I nodded my head, as I paced over to the locker room. Although my first day of school was nearly over, my mind was full of worries about the future workload that lay ahead. AP World History was definitely going to ruin my sleep schedule, and I barely understood a thing that my math teacher had said. Considering that today was merely a run-through of all my classes, I knew I was in big trouble this year.
As I entered the locker room, so trapped in my own thoughts, I barely avoided being run over by two boys barreling full speed at me. Luckily I squeezed myself into a gap between two lockers. “Look out dude!”, one of them screamed as they ran by.
I quickly found my assigned locker and started trying out my newly given combination. There was a crowd huddled near the far end of the aisle, heads close, clearly plotting some type of sneak attack. Already late, I instead turned my attention to working out my lock combination. But, as my fingers fumbled with the decade old metal dial, a whisper caught my attention.
“What the hell is up with that dude?” Someone hissed from behind my back.
Discreetly I check over my outfit, making sure nothing was off; it wouldn’t have been the first time I left a tag on my new school outfit.
“That dude’s messed up!” sneered someone else. “Gross!” he added before shoving his backpack haphazardly into his locker.
After realizing I wasn’t the subject of their mockery, I looked around to see who the whispering was about. Immediately, I found the cause of the commotion.
At the end of the hallway stood a boy, leaning on the wall, white earbuds plugged firmly into his ears, the cord loosely hanging down to the phone in his hand. Despite the chaos in the locker room, he was unfazed, seemingly more interested to whatever was on his phone. His demeanor was so nonchalant, standing by the door with backpack and clothes on, apparently ready to go despite the impossibility that he could’ve tried out his locker already. It wasn’t his quickness to get ready, however, that demanded the attention ire of all the boys in the room. It was his outfit. From the crop of short spiky hair dyed softly pink, to his rosy, unicorn T-shirt, he screamed femininity. And yet, it was all outshined by his coral skirt, gleaming in comparison to the mundane locker room.
After glancing at him long enough to take his outfit in, I returned my attention to my more pressing concern: the puzzle that was my lock combination. With everything I needed to squeeze into my overused brain today, getting involved with a ruckus was the last thing I needed.
“School is over in 5 minutes! So try out your locker combination before school ends!” announced the PE teacher, as he shuffled towards the exit.
Recognizing the limited time I had, I frantically worked to solve my lock combination which refused to unlock.
Once the teacher left, the mumbles behind me evolved into an uproar of derision from the entire class. Left and right, repugnant comments were being made on the unusually dressed boy in pink.
The lock combination rejected the supposed combinations I was given for it, stubbornly continuing its duty. The chaos dominating the room wasn’t helping me; each passing second seeming to strengthen the closed door of the locker and the distasteful mockery of the boy in pink.
“Hey girl, you’re in the wrong locker room”, yelled one of the boys, followed by cries of laughter and taunts from several others.
Letting go of the lock, I finally turned my attention to what had now developed into a verbal attack. The boy barely reacted, and just remained leaning against the walls with little to no movement, ignoring the wave of insults being hurled.
I couldn’t stop but stare at the student. Amidst the chaotic guys yelling across the room stood the root of the disorder, earbuds plugged in seemingly to maximum volume. As unrepeatable taunts were being tossed from the back side of the locker room to the boy, a ball of paper flew by him, and in that split second I saw his eyes widen. He quickly corrected himself, resuming his blank stare at his phone.
I needed to do something before this could get even worse, but what? Should I yell at the guys to just leave him alone? What if they did the same thing do me, thinking I’m only protecting him because I’m similar to him?
Should I go over and just talk to him then? What would I say to him? Is he even a he or does he identify himself as something else? What if the guys think I’m talking to him because I’m like him and start going after me?
While my head was bombarded with my own questions of doubt, my eyes came into contact with the the boy in pink for a brief second. In that moment, I noticed his brown eyes glistening with the salty waters generated from all the scorning. I could feel my blood immediately surge through my veins from the desolate glance I had witnessed. I was going to stand up to these bullies because it didn’t require much more than common sense to realize this abuse wasn’t right. Any of it.
I stood up with fists clenched on both sides and my chest puffed out, scanning the room. No one paid me any attention. Instead, the jeering remained ever so present and so did the boy in pink’s unwavering stance.
I stood silently while the crescendo of jeers began to overwhelm the locker room. the boy in pink not willing to move an inch.
I knew that this was the time for me to say something. I was going to confront the goading of the guys, stop the torment of the boy in pink, and inform him that not everyone was against him, that he didn’t have to fight this battle alone.
My mouth opened slightly, ready to vomit out these words when my voice betrayed me, and all that came out was an inaudible whimper, squashed by the wave of tumult in the room.
Almost on cue, the bell rang prominently, authoritative in its every buzz. Almost instantly the room was emptied, as the guys swarmed out of the lockers with a few last cracks and insults, as they left. Realizing school was over, I broke my stiff stance and sunk back on the bench with a sigh of relief. Taking my eyes away from the scene, I put on the backpack that had been forgotten during all that had happened. It was over; the teasing had ended, and there was no need for me to step up for the boy in pink anymore.
When I glanced back, the boy in pink was gone without a trace. The ball of paper lying motionless on the ground and the entire locker room, now painfully silent, were quiet reminders of what I could have done. But the moment had past. The guys were gone, and so was the boy in pink.
It’s okay, I thought. I would say something tomorrow if it happened again. Besides, I had an entire year ahead of me to make up for what I did today. Or rather, what I didn’t do. Before I left, I gave my locker one last go, just in case. But it didn’t budge.