Change

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

hannah mcbree starts her first year of middle school with her best friend, amy carter. amy has anxiety, and is targeted as a result. at first hannah doesn't really notice, but then things get out of hand, and someone has to change what's happening.

Change

Disclaimer: There is some language in this story that is not profanity though may be taken as offensive and harmful but please note that it’s used only for effect, not as an insult to anybody.

 

The large building of Alexander Pearson Middle School looms over me. Amy Carter stands by my side, tapping out the beat of some song with her fingers. She’s really nervous. Before I met her last year, I had thought I had a bad case of nerves, but Amy actually has anxiety. I never even knew you could have anxiety at ten. Now we’re both eleven, and starting middle school so she’s even more freaked out than usual. She can be really tiring sometimes because of her frequent panic attacks but she’s really nice. Smart, too.

Even though Amy’s close to hyperventilating, I’m really excited for the start of this year. New school years are always exciting for me. I tell Amy to take deep breaths as we enter the building. 

Our teacher is Mrs. Allison. The rest of the class is noisy and disruptive, which is a little disappointing, but surely they’re just happy too. They’ll probably become quieter later on. Mrs. Allison is also more careless than I thought. Aren’t teachers supposed to know everything and always be patient while not letting the class go crazy? 

Just as I think of her, Mrs. Allison calls on Amy to answer a question. Uh-oh. Amy gets scared when she has to talk in class, especially on first days. She stutters. “I-I…” 

Mrs. Allison raises an eyebrow. “Yes?”

“I-uh…”

Her face flushes as her tablemates begin to laugh. Since I sit at the opposite side of the room, I can’t help her calm down. 

Why are they teasing her? What’s wrong with a stutter? Why are they being so rude? They don’t even know her!

I hear a lot of retards and idiots go around and I almost want to cry for Amy. They’re being so mean and Amy’s thoughts will make it a lot worse. Then, I can't take it anymore and stand up. I almost want to yell back at them but that would be just as mean as what they’re doing. I settle for a weak “Stop it!” 

All Mrs. Allison says is, “Hannah McBree, take your seat! Class, quiet down.”

Of course, they don’t.

The next day, when they taunt Amy again, I tell them that it’s mean and to stop. This time, they actually do.

One month later, things settle into a routine. Amy’s tablemates, Ryan, Jason, Bryant, Lynn and Ashley have stopped being so horrible to her. But then as I double back to my locker after school because I forgot my math textbook, I see Bryant and a couple of other students surrounding her. 

“Hey!” I shout. I shove some other kids aside as I push closer to the center where Amy is. They’re kicking her, and shouting unspeakable things at her at the same time. Did this happen the whole month? Why did I never know? Why didn’t Amy tell me?

She’s not even doing anything. Just curled up into a ball and crying. 

I never knew I could feel anger like this. They know it’s wrong. They know that it hurts, physically and mentally. And they do it anyway.

“Hey! Cut it off!” I snap. They’d better listen this time. They have to. I don’t know what I’ll do if they don’t.

Jason looks up and sneers at me. It makes his face look really ugly. 

“What are you going to do?” Ryan asks, smirking.

Good point, Ryan. Good point. I have no idea.

I could talk to them. But they won’t listen.

But hey, it’s worth a try.

“Don’t you know that it’s wrong to do this? It’s called bullying. Physical assault. You’re almost twelve, and that’s the age where you can be arrested. Taken to court. Charged with crimes. And physical assault is a crime.”

I pause to let the words sink in. But none of the students around Amy look the least bit concerned. 

Plan 2, then.

I step in between Ryan, who seems to be doing the most hitting, and raise my fists. This is probably going to end badly, but I have no real other option. I’ve taken martial arts classes before but I was never really good at it. 

Ryan steps back. He’s backing down. Wow. 

I help Amy up, glaring at him and his friends to make sure he stays back, and hug her. 

Growing up, I’ve never noticed all those things wrong in the world. From bad teachers to abusive classmates. But now I see them. And I swear to God I’m going to do everything in my power to change those problems for the better.

I promise.


Submitted: December 19, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Luna Cai. All rights reserved.

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Comments

Ann Sepino

This is a beautiful short story despite what happened to Amy. It just might be the right thing to inspire young kids to stand up for others. Kudos for shedding more light on the problem with bullying, and for depicting anxiety in a simple but grounded, realistic way. :)

Sat, December 19th, 2020 12:16pm

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