Kingdom Come | Teen Ink

Kingdom Come

October 1, 2013
By jennzthejust BRONZE, Auburn, Alabama
jennzthejust BRONZE, Auburn, Alabama
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
I met a stranger in the night,
Whose lamp had ceased to shine;
I paused and let him light
His lamp from mine.

A tempest sprang up later on,
And shook the world about,
And when the wind was gone,
My lamp was out.

But back came to me the stranger—
His lamp was glowing fine;
He held the precious flame
And lighted mine.

- Lon Woodrum

“Here are your quizzes I graded over the weekend,” my math teacher tells us, passing them out. “Everyone got what I expected. The only thing I can say to you slackers is that you didn’t work hard enough.” She eyeballs me with gleaming, convicting eyes as she gives me my paper. I quickly fold it up and stuff it in my binder before anyone catches sight of the huge imposing zero written over all my careful work I had done last Friday.

“What did you make, Jennessa?” Leslie asks me, smiling innocently, the 100 on her paper displayed neatly on her desk beside me.

“It’s none of your business,” I say to her, pulling my book out as a strategy to ward off any more preppy-girl attempts at conversation.
Leslie ignores the book and pretends to be hurt as she pulls out a compact mirror and a tube of lipgloss.
“Well,” she remarks as she smirks at me through the mirror, “I suppose there’s no room for slackers in this school anyway.”
The bell finally rings, and my perfectionist- OCD teacher reluctantly dismisses us for PE. The emblem ironed onto my shirt scratches uncomfortably, reminding me of the imaginary shackles that bind me to this private school: my grandparents who insisted on sending me here with their money. I know I should be grateful, but public school isn’t exactly a torture chamber. There was diversity, and it really brought out the best in everyone. Here everyone is the same- the same race, the same political party, the same church denomination, the same type of rich parents, the same EVERYTHING. So here I am, bound up into this terrible oppression of sameness with no one else to be by my side. Well, no one except Lauren. We are the two black sheep of the school. We sit alone together at lunch, get frowned down upon for not trash-talking the President and are Muslims for not believing God has a political party. We are always the ones being called out for unfair things.
Of course, today is no exception. I stumble out of class, my eyes searching frantically for Lauren. Finally I see her blond head poking up out of the crowd and we are drawn together like magnets. There is a game of double-dutch and a game of dodgeball going on; we already know we are not welcome. So we divide and conquer the gym, searching for any stray ball or rope. I dodge various flying obstacles and finally see my salvation: a badminton set. I push through all the polos and khaki pants. Just as I’m about to grab it a cookie-cutter girl with her nose protruding into the air at a ridiculous angle somehow effortlessly snatches the set away with a flourish without ever lowering her nose. I watch with my jaw clenched as she deposits it at the feet of her master Leslie, who is the ringleader of all the cliques. The girl carries on with her day with a triumphant expression on her perfectly groomed face. These kind of people I call the Pedigrees. Pedigrees are the perfect dog if you want to display them in china cabinets all day. They are ranked the highest of the high. All of their features are pegged into templates of limited possibility even before they are born. They are spot- free and seemingly flawless, but the mutts are the ones who are smart and loveable and brave. The mutts are the ones with quirks and personality. The school is packed to capacity with Pedigrees, and there is a deficiency of mutts. A very mean-spirited fantasy involving Leslie, the Pedigrees, and an overturned china cabinet begins to brew in my mind when Lauren shouts my name.
“Jennessa! Jennessa!” So I take off running to her before I can make the fantasy a reality. I arrive at her side promptly and slightly out-of-breath. “You’ll never guess what I found!” she squeals gleefully. She points, and my gaze follows hers. There they are---piles and piles of red and blue foam mats used for kindergarten naptime. They are all crammed in the dusty supply closet. No one is looking and no one forbade us, so we pull two out and marvel at our good fortune. We tumble and stretch and leave foam footprints. Then, I get an idea. I balance on one foot and stretch my other leg out with my hand.
“Look, I’m a yoga master!” I tell my friend. Her braces glint in the fluorescent light as she
grins and follows suit. We are on top of the world, balanced on a mountaintop, looking down at our thriving kingdom of Pedigrees. The sun smiles down upon us, the rulers of the world. The wind blows on our faces and our silver crows rest peacefully in our perfect hair. All is in order and everyone in their place, when suddenly the weather takes a turn for the worse. Dark clouds gather overhead. The torrents of rain that come down knock the crowns off our heads, and the last small thing I see is that silver crown rolling down the hill, more and more mud tarnishing it as the seconds go by. The powerful wind twists even more and becomes a towering cyclone of bleach-blond hair, Mary Kay lipstick in a sickly Barbie-pink shade, and jangling keys that emanate gleaming power. Just as Lauren and I have accepted out fate after watching our orderly kingdom be demolished, the cyclone comes to a standstill right under our noses. We realize to our horror that our fate will not be ended by a deadly, looming cyclone but by a 5 foot 3 inch woman by the name of Mrs. Anderson. Slowly my friend and I lower ourselves down from inner-dogma position as Mrs. Anderson waits impatiently with a made-in-China smile pasted on her powdered face.
“What are y’all girls up to?” she asks in a syrupy sweet tone. I get the sensation of a bag of sugar being shoved down my throat, and rightly so. The venom in her voice lurks dangerously beneath the surface.
“Just doing some stretches and enjoying our PE like anyone,” Lauren replies with a defiant edge in her voice. Her voice echoes off the gym walls, bouncing back and hitting us in the head. Everyone has dropped everything. A hundred pairs of eyeballs bore down into my skull. The Pedigrees are smirking with a triumphant expression on their faces, and suddenly a million horrible fates for everyone staring flash through my enraged mind.
I imagine Mrs. Anderson being lowered into a pit of vicious piranhas. They just take the first bite out of her wobbly stilettos when that lady tells us, “Y’all know that devil worshippin’s a sin, don’t you?”
A collective “Oooooohhhhhhh!” swells up from the crowd. Tears spring to my eyes, but I force them back down. I whisper through clenched teeth, “We. Weren’t. Devil. Worshipping.”
But Mrs. Stiletto Anderson hears nothing except the scheming voices of the Pedigrees in her head. “This is a CHRISTIAN school, and you can devil-worship your way out of our holy doors if you girls ever do it again.”
My jaw drops open in disbelief. Before I can retaliate, she gives us a Botox-injected smile and click-clicks away back to the office. The gym is still silent. The faces of all the other students are mixed. Some are surprised and happy, some are just shocked, and one or two are sympathetic. But none of it matters, because the sympathetic ones did nothing. The feeling of being ostracized keeps growing and growing inside of me; the gym walls begin to close in. I have to escape. I feel Lauren on my side turning to walk away. No, I think to myself. This has gone on too long, and I will not be silent.
I turn to face everyone and everything with all I’ve got. The gym lights beat down on me like a spotlight----blinding me and magnifying me. “I hope each and every one of you is happy with the remarkable contributions you’ve made to God’s kingdom,” I tell them, flashing a Mrs. Anderson fake smile. No one moves. In that moment we are all frozen there, forever two separate groups of people. Then, one girl next to Leslie makes a shrill, desperate chuckling noise in her throat. The other girls in their groups follow suit, and I turn around and run away to the safe haven of the bathroom. I slam the door shut from the soprano desperation that fills the gym. Of course, Lauren is there right next to me.
“This is unbelievable,” she says. I nod over and over again in agreement and force down the tears another time. As I sit there in silence, I realize that I can’t dwell on this forever. Slowly, I balance on one leg and pull my other leg out with my hand. Lauren does the same. All of a sudden rays of hopeful sunshine penetrate the white walls, and that gentle breeze again blows against us, covering us, comforting us. I feel the silver crown being placed on my head, then I get the sensation of rising above it all. We are once again on top of the mountain, masters of yoga, rulers of the world. There is no one here to judge but us. The grass is soft on my feet, the sky is blue as can be, and our kingdom is once again calm after the storm. As the birds in the majestic trees sing beautiful songs to us of peace and joy and justice, I know that my presence is welcome here. I know that this is my kingdom. This is my home.

The author's comments:
I pray that the world will come to love the people that don't quite fit in more and more with each passing day.

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