Wanting better | Teen Ink

Wanting better

May 22, 2013
By 3maree, Brockton, Massachusetts
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3maree, Brockton, Massachusetts
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Favorite Quote:
"Beauty is skin deep."

Author's note: I got inspired my experiences being bullied and being called names.

I walked through the dreary hallways, head down and slouching, hoping not to get noticed. Molly would've told me to walk straighter, and more confidently, she would've been gliding through here, tugging my hands, laughing. The hallways are loud and energetic, but it seems lonely and depressing to me, especially without her. Suddenly the chatters stops, and I stop too, frozen, why were people being so quiet? I notice two heels walking towards my direction.

Click, Click, Click, Click, Click.

I just stand staring at the ground, knowing that someone's coming for me.

The heels finally find their destination in front of me, their bright red, they have sparkles at the top, and the heels are blue, I've always been a fan of shoes, they don't bring attention towards you, shoes are at your feet and who looks at your feet? I have a huge collection of shoes at home, and I wear a different one each day, it's gotten bigger since Molly's mother told me in her suicide note; she said she wanted me to have hers.

"Flat chest Jess."

I look up from the pretty shoes, and through my drooping bangs to see Cathy Mooring and her friends, "Flat chest Jess" is the nickname they so kindly gave to me, when they found out my bra size.

"She is so ugly!" I hear one say, though I don't see who, since I'm looking at Cathy.

I try to step past them, but they all move as I do.

"I need your algebra homework."

I open my mouth to try to defend myself, but my mouth snaps close, when I see Cathy narrow her eyes. I hate myself for being so frightened of her, but whenever I try to do something, I can never bring myself to actually do it. While trying to ignore my heart thumping in my chest, I drop the backpack, and pull out my folder. Before I can open the folder, Cathy grabs it out of my hand, looks through the folder, throwing papers on the floor, and when she finds what she's looking for, she drops the folder, and sidesteps past me, with her follower's right behind her.

I bend down to pick the papers up, peeking up every so often to look out for other bullies; I have quite a few here. After I pick the papers up and stuff them in my backpack, I run to history class.

"Surprise history quiz!"

I smile; I have no friends, so I have nothing to do other than study, so I'm just going to get another easy grade. Other people don't feel the same way though; there's a chorus of annoyed sighs throughout the room.

"It isn't a surprise unless someone actually likes it," says Zander in front of me, to his friend Josh, sulking.

Miss Nelson passes the quizzes out, and I search for my pencil while waiting for the quiz. I finally find one buried under my books, and look up, Zander has started his quiz, keeping mine captive on his desk.

I know I should ask for it, but I'm shy, so I reach over, looking up to make sure Miss Jenson wasn't paying attention, she wasn't, she was listening to music, she was a young teacher, so she did stuff like that.

I slide my hand past Zanders elbow.

Almost there hand, almost there, I inch my hands towards the paper, but Zander looks down, seeing my hand, and slides the paper away, he turns around and looks at me and smirks.


Say something Jess. Talk...gets the paper back. Come on, Jane, Molly wouldn't want you to fail a quiz because of something like this.

I wonder what she'd do. Knowing her, she'd probably make a big scene about it, and get Miss Jenson to yell at Zander. But I wasn't Molly, so I couldn't do that, but still, I had to do something. I'm going to ask for it back.

But what if Zander gets mad?

So what if he does? He's a jerk, what do I care? I do care...I like him...

Why? All he's ever done is be mean to me...

I know. But he's so cute..

So? Appearance isn't everything...

But he's so cool...


Am I talking to myself..?


Geez, I'm getting weirder and weirder.

Okay, Jess, no more mind arguing, back to business, quiz paper... Okay, I will do this.


"The quiz is over, pass the papers up."

What?! I must've been debating with myself longer than I thought.

Everyone gets up to leave after all the papers are given to Miss Jenson.

I open my mouth to say something to Zander, but my fear stops anything from coming out, and I snap it shut again.

I walk to my locker, smoking mad for what happened, I talked to Miss Nelson and she's letting me retake the quiz, but I'm pissed that he did that to me.

I'm always letting people walk all over me, but it's never affected my grades before. I can't always be like this, I have to change, and I have to stand up for myself. Molly hates that I'm so easy to take advantage of, and shy, all the time she was alive, she wanted me to be more confident and to improve myself, now that she's gone, and I'm going to.

I turn my head to the left and see Cathy walking down the hallway. I take a deep breath, Molly if you're up there; get me through this confrontation...

I walk toward Cathy. "Um, Cathy, I have math next period, can I have my paper back?"

She looked me up and down and sneered. "I have it third, I'm keeping it."

"But it's my paper, I need it."

"Flat chest Jess, move out of my face," I felt eyes turning to watch us.


"Flat chest Jess-"

"You know what, Cathy; I need my paper back, so you better give it now!" I yelled in frustration.

Everyone gawked at me.

"I'm sorry; I didn't mean to yell, I just really need the paper."

Cathy glared, "Take your dumbass paper, I don't need it!" She went digging in her purse and threw it at me, "Now leave me alone, freak."

As she walked away, I beamed at the paper, ignoring her insults, and the laughter in the hallway.

I actually defended myself, Molly, there's hope for me after all.

The school day went by fast, there was some glaring by Cathy, and I could hear some people talking about me, but mostly everyone just stayed away from me, which is a good day in my book.

I walked home as I always did; it still felt strange walking without Molly, she lived a couple blocks from me, so we always walked together. She'd play music on her phone, and sing it loudly, and I'd pretend to be annoyed, but I'd love it, and she'd dance, and I'd smile, and she'd laugh.

It was nice out, the complete opposite of how I was feeling; the sky was a bright blue, and the sun was proudly shining down at me, smiling and sending rays down to kiss my forehead. The streets were quiet, the birds were tweeting and everything but me seemed happy.

"Why do you look so sad?" I remember Molly asking, it was my first day of middle school, four years ago.

"I don't know."

I smiled, lately; I've been having some real reasons to be sad.

"I't bothers me seeing people who are upset, I'm happy a lot, and when I see someone say, it makes me sad."

I continued looking down hands, they were very white compared to the black bench I was sitting on.

"I have adhd."

I looked up.

"It means I move a lot, and get distracted, and I'm jumpy, and energetic."

"I know what it means."

"Those girls were making fun of you by the way, I thought you should know, they called you stupid, and said you were weird," she said, pointed to Cathy's group who were sitting a few feet away from us on the school grass.

"They've been making fun of me ever since I left their group, you wouldn't know though, since you're new."

"Why'd you leave their group?"

"After my dad died, everything in the world seemed pointless, so I stopped talking to them, and now since I've been so vulnerable since his death, they try to seem powerful by bullying me."

I could see her hands slowly form fists.

"I had girls like them in my old school," I heard her say quietly.

I didn't respond, I just looked down.

I never knew how a group of people could be so mean, but Cathy and her two friends Lennete and Sara along with her boyfriend Zander were, they weren't just mean though, they were cruel.

"Are you sad because of them?" She asked after a few moments of comfortable silence.

I looked at her and examined her expression, she looked sincerely interested in talking to me, even with my lack of enthusiasm in the conversation.

"I guess they're part of the reason."

"You're shy, aren't you?" She asked smiling teasingly.

"Yes," I said truthfully.

She continue smiling, "I have to go, but I'll see you later, we can maybe walk home together? I know you live near me."

She walked away.

That was the day we became friends.

I walk home quietly, thinking over that day.

When I get home, I notice my mother's car is there, she isn't usually here early.

I walk up my porch, unlock the door, and walk in.

She's sitting on the couch; she looks up from her paper, and looks back down.

I'm curious why she's here early, but I don't ask her, I go upstairs.

My room is small, like a closet, but it's comfortable. It has a large bed that takes up more than half the room, a book shelf with a couple old books, a mini fridge, and drawers full of clothes. It's dark purple and it smells like strawberries.

I sit on the bed, and go under my pillow to look through my friendship album, it was mine and Molly's.

I look through the pictures of us, she was the pretty one, she had long brown hair, blue eyes, and tan skin, compared to my untrimmed black hair, brown eyes, and pale skin, in the picture of us at the beach, I looked ghostly next to her, her tan arm around my white neck, emphasized my pale skin.

I would be the obvious one to kill herself, so when she was the one to, it shocked everyone, she always seemed so happy, why did she do it?

Hell, even I was stumped on why she would do it, and she told me everything and absolutely nothing was wrong with her life, she had a mother and father, who were both caring, two siblings, who were sweet to her, and a good life.

I blamed myself for weeks, for not noticing something was wrong, especially the night it happened, she seemed so lonely, I should've known she'd hurt herself, Molly was always happy, she was never sad, never.

I went to counseling for a few months after it happened, after pretending to be okay though, I got out of it.

My mother went to counseling too, but before I did; she was sad, like me, she was before Molly even died, she started being sad when dad died, when I was eight, of cancer.

I laid down on my bed, hugging my album, it smelled like mints, like Molly smelled, since she was always chewing mint gum.

Why couldn't my life be normal? Why was I surrounded by so much sadness and death? Why couldn't I be happy?

"Dinner's here." I hear a weak voice say from down the steps

I put the album down and walk down to see the pizza on the table.

I sit down and grab a slice.

"How was school?" My mother's asks trying to look interested.

I look at her surprised; she hasn't asked me about school since Molly's death.

She looks at me right back, expecting an answer.

"Good, I got a ninety on my science test."

She tries to smile, but it fails.

She tries to be a good mother, but it's difficult for her, her depression seems to be getting worst every day.

Her sad eyes look over me one more time, before she stands up and goes upstairs.

I stand up too, and put the pizza back, I'm not hungry anymore.

I woke up with a headache, yesterday I fell asleep after skipping dinner, but I couldn't stay asleep, so I barely got any food or sleep last night. I rolled over my bed and landed on my butt.


My room looked how I felt, dark.

I walked over to my curtains and pulled one open, so I had enough sunlight shining through my window to see.

"Another day in hell..." I say sadly.

I move over to my mirror and shudder, my hair was like a birds nest, my face had dried up drool, and my eyes were red and puffy.

I go into the bathroom and take a shower, and brush my teeth. I think today I'm going to wash my hair, and condition it, I'm going to try on it appearance today. By the time I'm done my hair is \actually soft, it's even kind of shiny.

I look at myself, I wasn't too ugly now.

I blow dry my hair and comb through it, I never noticed how much potential my hair had.

I grab my straightener and manage to make it somewhat attractive. I plop open my old makeup kit, and smacked some eye liner and lip gloss on.

After spritzing some perfume on my wrists and smiling at my much improved appearance, I went downstairs.

My mom was sitting on the living room couch, her eyes were red, and puffy, like mine; she looked up and scanned me.

"You look different...nice."

"Thank you," I walked into the kitchen, grab an orange, and walk back out.



I take in the outside again, it's nice, like yesterday. The trees were green and the birds were still singing. The weather always seems to be opposite of how I feel.

I start walking down the street, looking at the ground.

I wonder if I can continue this new personality of mine not school? No, I'll probably crack by the time either Cathy or Zander get to me. I really didn't want to though, I wanted to stay strong, after my epiphany yesterday, I've been asking myself what Molly would want of me, she certainly wouldn't want me to crack, she'd want me to make new friends, and to stop being so sad.

I'm deep in thought when I collide with something.

I look up to see a very dashing looking boy in front of me, he has blue eyes, sandy brown hair, and a sincere smile on his face.

"I'm sorry."

I shyly look at the floor, "It's okay," I said softly.

"Um, do you happen to be going to Roosevelt high?"

"Are you going there too?" I said glancing back up at him.

"Yeah, I'm a transfer student," he looks at his watch, "can I just follow you there? It's getting late."

"Alright, but if I were you, I wouldn't walk too close to me."

"What?" He sounds confused.

I continue walking, "you'll see."

We walk in unison.

"Is it a good school?" he says breaking the silence.


More silence.

Then, "why do you say that?"

"The people at my school...they're not nice.."

"Why do you say that?"

"They're just not."

"Why do you say that?"

"Because they're not nice to me."

"Why do you say that?"

I turn around, and see him smiling widely.

"Shut up.."

"Shut up, Molly, I don't want to go.."

"No, you're definitely going."


"No ifs, ands or buts, I already got you all pretty."

"They're going to bully me.."

"No, they're not, I'll be there, they'll have to bully me first."

"They won't bully you, they like you."

"Well the feelings aren't mutual."

We were just about to leave for the party when-

"Um, hello?"

I blink, and look at him "what?"

"We're here and we're late."


"What were you thinking about, anyways? You looked really deep in thought"

"Nothing...I'm Jess by the way," I said smiling a little.


"It was nice meeting you Daniel," I say and start to go up.

He laughs, "we're going the same way."

I blush, but continue walking up the steps.

He quickly races in front of me, and holds the door open for me.

I could hear Molly gushing now, 'what a gentleman,' she'd say dreamily.

"Thank you," I step inside and I soon feel stares my way, not on me though, on Daniel.

"Oo, who is he?"

"He's so cute!"

"Wow, I think I'm in love.."

I walk to my locker, and I'm soon caught up to by Daniel.

"You're really nice," I say, "thank you for not being mean to me, but you're not obgilgated to hang out with me, I'm fine."

"I want to though, I like hanging out with you..what's you're first class?"

I smile at him, he's so sweet, Molly, I wish you were here, I know you'd love him, "I have history."

He looks disappointed, "Algebra...but I can walk you to history.."

"If you don't mind," I say shyly.

He walks alongside me, and I still hear whispers, this time they include me too.

What is he doing with her?

Ew, is he blind?

He can do so much better, like gross.

I look down, hoping he can't hear, but when I glance up, he just smiles down at me.

I think I might have a friend in new boy,

It was lunch time, my classes were uneventful, and I had none with Daniel, which really upset me.

I walked in the cafeteria and before I even have time to look for him, Daniel finds me.

"Hi Jess!"

"Hello Daniel."

"My classes sucked, all the girls there were so annoying," he follows me into line for lunch, "they would not stop asking for my number!"

"That sounds like a real third world problem Daniel," I said laughing.

"You should stay after school with me, I'm trying out for basketball, and I need a friend there."

"You're going to be an outcast if you keep hanging around me Daniel," I warned, he was so nice, I wanted to know what he getting himself into by being my friend.

"I honestly don't care Jess, come on, I'll buy you a slice of pizza."

"You don't have to."

"No, I want to, as a gift for helping this morning."

"Well..since you insist.."I say greedily, grabbing a slice, he paid for both ours lunches to the lunch lady.

"I'll stay, but, I didn't know you played basketball."

"Yeah, I'm a shooting guard."

I nod slowly, like I know what that is.

He laughs, catching on "It just means I'm a good shooter," he pulls the chair out for me and I sit down.

"Thank you," I noticed half the cafeteria was staring at us, and I started flushing, they're probably still wondering why he'd want to be around me.

"I played for my last team in my old school, hopefully this one's better than that one though."

Suddenly I notice a distinct pair of eyes on me, it was zander, he looked angry, it was strange, he was looking right at me and Zander, and if looks could kill...well, I'd be six feet under by now.

"Why, wasn't your old team good?" I continue talking, but quieter, since I noticed him and I were being watched by practically everyone in the cafeteria now.

"No, not really," he laughed not noticing all the attention on us, "but I never called myself good at the game, I just think it's fun."

"Tell me about your old school."


Zander's POV

I enter the cafeteria with Cathy and her friends, Bella, and Jean, and suddenly I notice most of every ones eyes on someone. Everyone was staring at Jess, or "flat chest Jess," as all the girls called her, it was a juvenile nickname, more immature and stupid than anything.

"Flat chest Jess is so ugly!"

I frowned at Bellas words, because while Cathy, Bella and Jean were a fake kind of pretty, Jess was natural, and she didn't try too hard, not like they did.

Wait..did I just compliment her..? No, no, I was insulting Cathy and her friends, and it just happened to be in contrast to her.

"Why would he even talk to her? She's so weird!" I hear Cathy say to her friends.

I turn and look at Cathy again, only this time do I notice the boy next to her, he was the same one that the coach introduced us to, he'd be trying out for basketball with us later today. I don't know why, but the thought of her talking to him irked me.

I started glaring without realizing it, why would she even talk to him? She was smart, she didn't realize he was obviously just trying to use her, and get into her pants.

"Why are you staring at them, baby?" Cathy asks petting my arm.

I pull away from her and look at my burger.

I mean no boy sits with the class freak just to be nice, she had a girl do that before once, though. I think her name was..Molly? I heard she committed suicide during summer vacation, I really wasn't so certain though, because while she was friends with some of the people I knew, I personally never spoke to her.

I take a sip of my water.

Especially with her only friend having died and all, I felt guilty when I was mean to Jess, because she honestly didn't deserve it. I know I was a dick, I wished she'd yell at me or hit me or something because I'd absolutely deserved it. It made me feel bad when she just took everyone abuse. I only bullied her because if I didn't then I'd lose my "bad boy" reputation. I knew I was wrong, and I know I'm still wrong, but 'm not strong enough to resist the peer pressure and do what's right.


Jess' POV

Lunch time was weird, with all the staring and all, but after a while people stopped staring at us, so it went by quickly afterwards. Daniel said he had to go to the locker room, so I'd meet him at the gym.

Right now, I was at my locker, looking for my umbrella, since I knew it'd start raining later.

Molly hated the rain, she loved going outside, so she hated bad weather; whereas I loved the rain, it was just so beautiful and calming to me.


I turned around and was surprised to see Zander standing there, I mentally prepared myself to fight back if necessary, the new me wouldn't get pushed around so easily now.

"You dropped your wallet as you were leaving the cafeteria," he said looking down, "here."

I must've looked shocked, "Um...thanks.." I said taking the wallet.

He looked at me for a second and looked like he wanted to say something, but he just turned around and walked away.

That was weird.

I tried to think of what Molly would think of that..

She probably tell gush to me that Zander liked me, but that'd be obvious bullshit; She was over dramatic, so she might also suggest that he was planning on murdering me, and was being nice to hide it.

I laugh out loud, that one, I'd believe.

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