I feel like I’ve hit the proverbial ‘wall’ today—I have no idea what I’m going to write. It probably doesn’t help that I’m PMSing, that it’s gorgeous outside and I’ve just spent the last two-and-a-half hours coming up with my first-ever PowerPoint presentation for a workshop I’m doing on Tuesday. Jeez, who knew that creating a frickin’ PowerPoint presentation could take so long! The result is that I’m a bit brain-mushy right now. Ugh.
But I know that I just have to write SOMETHING, whether it’s six, sixty or six hundred words. Just two more days of this (today and tomorrow) and I will have completed my challenge to myself to write a short story in one sitting each day for seven days. I’m quite proud of myself for having made it this far. It’s definitely been an intriguing ride experiment.
Okay, deep breath, exhale out…here I go.
The New Girl
Trina thought that the new girl in her seventh grade class at St. Bonifacio’s was stuck-up. She was one of those pretty mestiza girls that everyone seemed to think were so sweet, when they were really the biggest bitches of them all. The new girl’s name was Myra Melegrito, which Trina thought sounded old-fashioned and dumb. Isabel, Trina’s best friend, agreed.
“She thinks she’s so hot,” Isabel whispered to her as they waited for their teacher to arrive. They both stared at Myra—with her perfectly medium-brown, shoulder-length, slightly wavy hair, deep brown eyes, and skin the color of oatmeal—with visible disgust, their lips pouty, their otherwise smooth-skinned faces crinkled up as if they’d smelled something awful.
“My brother said she’s fast, too,” said Trina, leaning more closely to Isabel. “He said she already made out with Bryan Garcia and Jimmy Lee.” They both shook their heads, even though they’d both made out with Bryan or Jimmy at least once over the past two years themselves.
“Eew,” Isabel replied. “She’s only been here for like a month. I heard she had a boyfriend back in the Philippines too.”
“What a ho,” Trina said. Isabel nodded gravely.
The teacher walked in just then and greeted the class, but Trina couldn’t help but stare at Myra Melegrito. Secretly, Trina wished she could look like Myra. Trina hated her own stick-straight, blue-black hair that required at least two cans of Aqua Net a month, and she thought her flat nose and brown skin were ugly, not to mention her hips! Once she got her period her hips ballooned as if some invisible force had filled them with fat. Trina was tired of the cat-calls that they earned her on her daily walk home from school, and she did dozens of leg-lifts in the privacy of her bedroom to try to rid herself of her extra unwanted flesh.
Myra, on the other hand, was not only light-skinned, she was skinny. Not skinny in a bony, nasty way, Trina observed, but in a way that made her seem like she was floating when she walked. Trina watched as Myra raised her hand when the teacher asked a question, and she suddenly wanted to smack her in the face.
“Trina?” the teacher, Ms. Bonjean, called, pulling her attention away from Myra. “Trina, why don’t you answer this. I know you’re very interested in current events.” The rest of the class tittered, because Trina was always late turning in her weekly assignment: to read a local newspaper and write a report on a current event.
“I didn’t hear the question, Ms. Bonjean,” Trina said, her anger at Myra’s beauty shifting slightly onto the teacher. Ms. Bonjean frowned, then gestured to the class.
“Can anyone tell Trina what the question was, as she was clearly preoccupied with something more important than paying attention in class.” The teacher seemed to Trina to grin maliciously, which made her blood boil.
A couple students mumbled. Myra Melegrito raised her hand again, this time even higher. Isabel kicked Trina’s feet under her desk. Ms. Bonjean called on Myra, who was smiling.
“The question was,” Myra said, her Filipino-accented English making her seem even more stuck-up to Trina, “what is the name of the Vice-President of the United States.” Then Myra, who was sitting in the front row (“teacher’s pet,” Trina thought disdainfully), turned slightly towards Trina, and looked her straight in the eye, her smile mocking and smug.
“Thank you, Myra.” Ms. Bonjean turned back to Trina. “Well?”
Two other students held their hands up, but Ms. Bonjean gestured for them to wait.
“I want Trina to answer the question. Come on, Trina. Myra was nice enough to give you the question. Now what’s the answer?”
Trina felt her breathing coming faster, and her hands got cold and sweaty at the same time. All she could think was how much she hated Myra Melegrito and how bad she was going to kick her ass after school. She’d go up to her at lunch and tell her, “You think you’re so pretty but no one here likes you. You’re a bitch and a ho.” The thought made Trina smile, a secret, mean smile. She glared at Myra but kept smiling. Trina thought she saw Myra shiver.
“The Vice President is George Bush,” Trina said flatly. “And the President is Ronald Reagan.” She turned to look at Ms. Bonjean, who seemed unimpressed.
“Very good,” the teacher said. Then she started talking about the upcoming election and how important it was that they all vote someday. Trina tuned her out, but noticed that Myra had turned back to the front of the classroom again. Trina took a piece of paper out of her desk—she had her own Sanrio Hello Kitty notepad and matching pen that her dad had given her the last time he came to visit from the Philippines—and scribbled a note to Isabel:
“That bitch is gonna get it.”
Trina passed it furtively back to her best friend, who giggled when she read the note. And then Trina waited, patiently, still smiling slightly, for the bell to ring for lunch.