The Wrestling Team

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of a middle school girl finding herself enemies with the popular kid and joining a group of arrogant guys on the wrestling team.

Submitted: February 05, 2014

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Submitted: February 05, 2014

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Friday

“So… do you think you could do that?” I’m standing in front of Mr. G in the office after school. “Sure, I’ll definitely look into it, hopefully we can get you on the mat as early as Monday.”

“Great, thanks, see you next week!”. I leave the office and start walking home, the crisp leaves crunching underfoot. I was just asking Mr. G., my P.F. teacher if I could join the boys wrestling team. I go to River Canyon School for Girls and they don’t exactly promote wrestling. Most girls in 7th grade worry more about grades or who has the newest phone than who can pin faster or shoot the best. We don’t even have a team, not enough girls want to wrestle. In fact, I’m probably the only one. The River Canyon school for boys doesn’t have a big enough gym for wrestling mats, so they use our mat room instead. Why not wrestle with them, it wouldn’t be any trouble for me?

I cross to my street. No one else is around and it’s kind of peaceful. My house is just on the edge of town, right next to the canyon. We have this beautiful view and I often get up early to see the sunlight creeping up the yellow stone. My house is kind of on the outskirts of town so I go on a shortcut instead of going all the way around on the road. I jump over Mr. Whitop’s gate onto the path that’s so worn it’s gone down to dirt. Mr. Whitop has an open backyard and leads straight to my house. It’s a big old blue farmhouse with 12 acres of land around it. It’s kind of creepy at night but to me, it’s home.

I’ve been wrestling, or at least roughhousing, all my life, at least until my dad died. It’s been downhill from there out. I’ve always been a tomboy and I’d rather be in the boys school. I don’t belong at my school. It’s also kind of hard to make friends with prissy girls all over. I don’t mind being alone though. Being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.

I take out my key and push open the heavy oak door. It closes with a clang and echoes through the house. I climb up to my loft and start on homework.

*Pin: When your opponent is on their back, resulting in an automatic win.

*Shoot: An attack while standing

Monday

Today was an average day until lunch. Boring math, annoying PF, more interesting cooking, and finally social studies. I was walking down the hall after the bell rang and passed the popular kids corner, when a high voice addressed me.

“Aren't you ashamed of you hair, I mean you barely brushed it. You look like a porcupine!” Mandy  said. Her entourage giggled. Mandy was the most popular girl at school. She was sweet in front of the teachers but a pain in the butt during recess and lunch.

“At least I don’t spend hours on it in the morning and get tardies at school,” I replied and walked off to my spot. This is what happens every week. I’m just waiting for her to do something really bad so I can get her in trouble.

I sit at the very back of the school, near the art division. There’s a little corner that the past garden club turned into a little seating area. The grasses and flowers are so tall, you can’t see anyone if they’re in there. There are blue eyed grasses, unthorned roses, succulents, minor’s lettuce, and a bunch of other plants.  No one knows it’s there, it’s tucked into a little hallway that most people pass. It has one marble bench with an inscription: For whoever discovers this, may you recognise the peacefulness around you and see the beauty of this garden.

It’s 3:04 after school. I’m waiting in the mat room for the rest of the team to arrive. This is the first time I’ve ever been in here. The mat has always been off limits during school. Three sides of the room are covered in mirrors. The other has the door and a couple of first aid cupboards and exercise equipment. There’s also a couple of pull up bars. The floor is padded with thick rubber mats except for the large one in the center. The main mat. Red and white, it has two large circles within each other and the smaller has a multi colored rectangle in it. It’s ancient. The whole room is old. The door is open halfway and I hear footsteps and laughter.

“Hey, I heard that there’s a girl joining!” A boy called out.

“She probably can’t even tell a takedown from a sit out. This’ll be a hoot!” Someone else said. There was lots of laughing at that.

“I feel sorry for whoever has to practice with her, wrestling a girl, can you imagine that!” More laughing.

“Mommy, mommy, the big bad boys hurt me, I wanna quit.” Another imitated a little girl. They came into view. There were a couple of scrawny kids, a really short one, a tall and thin, and one with the fiercest brown eyes I’ve ever seen.

“Hey, that’s enough,” he said,” She might just be able to whip you guys’ sorry butts. You never know,” he argued. At least there was one decent kid in the group.

 “Laps, let’s go, run, run, run!” The coach was here. We started running around the big circle.

“Is this the team?” I ask a kid next to me.

“Yep, us and apparently you now.” He replied.

“Wow I thought there would be more of you.” He sped up.

The tall guy that defended me earlier's name was Josh. He was the team captain as I learned as he led warm ups. As everyone else fell into the pace of practice, I could see the boys were wowed by my ability to move smoothly on my feet and attack flawlessly. We worked on our stance and I noticed as their eyes widened when they saw my stance perfect with my legs exactly shoulder width apart and my back strait. I guess I'm not as wimpy as they think! We ended practice with matches. We all lined up lightest to heaviest and wrestled to the first takedown. The loser would be out and the winner would move on to the next weight level. I started off first since I was the lightest and wrestled up 30 pounds. Pretty good for a first day. I could tell the boys either hated me or were starting to let me in. The coach was cool though. He had a soft spot for girls and always rooted for me when we wrestled. I packed my stuff up and started for home in the waning light, proud of how I did.

Tuesday

Did I mention how annoying Mandy and her group are? It doesn’t look like it, but it makes me feel like punching her and running home to my tree and cry. Oh, I didn’t tell you about my tree. It’s this big oak tree in my backyard. It’s so ancient, it was probably planted before the house was built. It’s huge. It goes about thirty or forty feet up and when you get to the top, you can feel the South wind on your face and see the hawks soaring over the town. I’ve never seen anyone else climb it but I’m born a climber. Remember the tomboy part of me?

Wrestling practice. Day two. There’s a new kid today. His name is Jason. He’s short and thin and is closest to my weight so I’m wrestling him during practice. His dad was a pro wrestler and you can tell. He knows a lot of tricks. He’s kind of quiet and has a mass of curly blonde hair on his head almost the length of mine, which by the way, isn’t very long. He’s kind of different from the rest, strong in a gentle way. We spent the day running for conditioning. I got out my Ipod and earphones and tuned out. We ran about 5 miles on the track. Everyone was sweating and huffing but I’m also a runner. Give me a track and my music and I can run all day.

“Good job today, I heard all the boys were picking on you,” Jason was talking. were packing up our stuff after practice. He really seemed like a nice guy. The rest of the team were also nice.

“Thanks, but the the guys stopped making fun of me after yesterday,” I replied with a little smile.

Thursday

Science class, 6th period. I slink into my seat. The day has dragged on and I can’t wait to get out of school. The clock seems to be going backwards. “Hey, what’s up,” It’s Mandy again. I can hear the fake sweetness in her voice. Like I said, she has perfect hair, perfect everything and is the topic of just about everybody’s conversations around here. She smiles her perfect smile and sits down next to me. I can’t stand her. The fakeness of it all. She lives double lives. Everything that makes her look good goes on Instagram and she hides all the bad stuff away where no one can find it. “What’s this, you’re on a wrestling team?” She asks, pointing to my new wrestling sweatshirt. “Yeah, I’m on the wrestling team over at the boys school.” I reply and continue my worksheet. If I bore her long enough she’ll stop talking to me. “Isn’t that for boys? Eww. I wouldn’t want to wrestle with BOYS!” She keeps going,”Why are you even on the team? Are you a boy?” She falls into a fit of giggles. “Yes, I am totally a boy,” I reply sarcastically. She finally stops and actually gets to work. She seems moderately satisfied and gives me a little smile and wave at the end of the day. This doesn’t look good. She’s probably going to tell all of her little friends, and make a nasty rumor or something.

See, this is also why I love wrestling. There are no girly girls and I can take out my anger on whoever I’m wrestling. It’s a win-win and I don’t end up in the office for punching Mandy.

Friday

Today there isn’t practice so I head to my mom’s pet shop. Mandy didn’t do anything stupid so I hope she just forgot it. I love working at my mom’s shop. It has all kinds of reptiles, cats, birds, and rodents. I especially like the rats. Most people think rats are dirty sewage creatures, but they’re just like miniature dogs. My job on Fridays is to clean the cage and feed the turtles. I don’t get any allowance so my mom pays me to work here. I hate how kids who get allowance always say that they earned their money with their hard work. What hard work, you mean living? That’s not hard at all. My mom thinks that it’s better preparation for the real world to earn money, so I work.

I get to the petshop in about ten minutes, it’s not that far from the school. The door jingles when I open it. I can see the rats are pretty happy to see me. There are two of them that we’ve had forever. I guess this town doesn’t like rats. I already named them, although I’m not supposed to in the case they might be sold. Pepper is a blackish brown rat with dark brown eyes and Salt is white with brown eyes and grey spots on her back. They’re both females and are sisters. I come up to the cage. They climb excitedly on the bars to meet me. I take them out and put them on my shoulder and get to work cleaning the cage. They’re shoulder rats and nestle down in my sweatshirt. I check the calendar.

“Mom, it’s been two weeks, it’s pay day,” I yell across the store. Then I look again. It’s my birthday today! How could I not notice? I’ve been so busy that I forgot my own birthday!

“Mom, it’s my birthday!” I yell again

“I know,” she replies,”and I got you a present! I’ll tell you after you finish the cage.” I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever cleaned the cage.

“Okay, you ready?” My mom was at the cashier’s counter, wiping off any dust. “This year, you’re thirteen, so you get to keep Salt and Pepper!”

 

Monday

We didn’t have practice on Friday and today is my fifth practice. I finally belong here. The guys have accepted me as their teammate and buddy and realize I’m not as wimpy as they thought. We keep drilling. Today I’m working extra hard. Tomorrow is our first dual meet and I want to to be extra good and get my first win of the season. Dual meets are kind of like competitions, but just against another school. Jason was teaching tricks to get a better take down. We wrestled all day. I love it when I’ve worked super hard and really tried because I can tell that I’m better.

I  rush home to play with my new pets. Salt and Pepper are really calm rats and let me pet them while watching T.V.. They climb over me and the couch, and after tiring themselves out, they come and snuggle next to me and fall asleep. I can’t move! I don’t want to wake them up. My mom let me take the cage home so I made a hammock, a sleeping box and a couple other toys to keep them excited. Their fur is really soft, and they already know a lot of tricks. This is the best present ever!

 

Tuesday

“Mira Henders, please report to the office,” crackled over the loudspeaker. I got my stuff, waved to my teacher, and started walking down the hall. Today was my first real match. That school was coming here so I had to get out of class early to help set up the mats. The rest of the team is already there and already started pulling the heavy mats from the mat room to the main gym. You probably haven’t ever seen a wrestling mat. They’re huge and are usually divided up in six sections for portability. Each section needs to be rolled up, strapped tightly, and carried to the gym. Not to mention there are three tight doors to get through. We finally got the mats set up and started our warm up.

West Valley, the team we were wrestling arrived and then we had to let them use the mat for themselves. In the mean time, our coach gave us a pep talk.

“Don’t care about how big they are. Don’t think about how old they are. Don’t think about how good they are. You can beat them, so go out and wrestle! Mira, you’re first. Warm up a bit more.” I was the lightest so I would always go first. I walk onto the mat.

I crouch down, in my stance. Right foot on the line, staring right into my opponent's eyes. I put my game face on and softly growled under my breath. My opponent was soft. He won’t make it through one period. He looked overconfident. He was probably thinking that he would easily beat me. I was a girl, how hard could it be? I had him down. He sets his leg too far forwards, so I can easily grab and trip. Tweet, the whistle shot through the air. I switch my position, now my left foot is in front. Here comes the move of the day. Tap his head, push down, blind him, go for it. I leap forwards, nearly tackling him. He does the rest himself, falling on his back. I grab his head and arms, connect, lean back, his shoulders are on the ground, pin. It was all over. We get up, shake hands and go back our team. The rest were laughing. "Did you see that?!" He went all starfish! Man you got him in 15 seconds! Nice" not bad for the first match.

The rest of the team did really well, winning all the matches and pinning most. We were all really happy with how we did. My record was upheld and no one else got a pin so fast. It was awesome!

Throughout the weeks…

We keep the same routine and keep having dual meets. I usually won, lost a few, but as long as I worked hard, I was proud of myself. Nothing really interesting was going on and there isn’t much to tell.

Monday

“Okay, quiet down. I have an announcement. We are going to have a little project with graphs. We’ll do this one about pets. Come up and write what kind of pet you have on the  board and see how many other people have the same pet. We’ll start with the easy ones. Whoever has a dog, come up.” Mrs. Bendillily called during math class. We went through dogs, cats, fish, and all of the standard pets. “Alright, If you have another pet that does not fall into these categories, come up and write it on the  board. I come up and  write  RATS in big capital letters. I can tell the class is looking at me kind of  funny at me  now. I’m the only one to put a tally beneath it. Mandy starts laughing and the rest of the class joins her.

“You have a pet rat? Ewww,” she asks,”Well it does make sense, you even look like a rat!” The class laughs harder. I can feel the blood rush up my cheeks. My face is turning red. I shoot an angry glare at Mandy and quickly sit back down. Oh the nerve! What is her problem? I guess she just likes picking on me. I finish my math problems and pack up while Mandy secretly keeps laughing behind me.

 

Tuesday

Tomorrow is league finals, kind of like the big wrestling competition. All the school will be there. We’re working extra extra extra hard.

After practice, Jason comes up to me. “We’re going to grab a shake at McDonald’s. Do you want to come?”

“Sure, that sounds fun. Let’s gain back those calories that we burned during practice,” I joke. McD’s is about a half mile from school so we all walk there.

“So how did you get involved in wrestling?” Rowan, the skinny kid asks.

“Well, my dad used to roughhouse with me and taught me a couple of moves.”

“What do you mean used to?”

“Well, he kind of died in a car accident last year.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“Don’t be.”

We’re kind of quieter after that. We reached McD’s, I got a soda and walked to my house.

Wednesday

The bell rings. I’m the first out of the classroom. I’m practically running towards the locker room to change into my wrestling uniform. My phone starts buzzing in my pocket. Ugh, what now? It’s a text message.

 

MIRA HENDERS IS SUCH A BI***

SHE JOINED THE WRESTLING TEAM JUST SO SHE COULD BE WITH BOYS

SHE JOINED JUST SO SHE COULD TOUCH THEM

EWWWWW

WHAT A SL**

SHES NOT EVEN GOOD

SHES SO DIRTY,

SHE OWNS RATS

SHE EVEN LOOKS LIKE A RAT

HAHAHAH

I DON’T EVEN WANT TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS HER

SHE’S SUCH A RAT

SHE ALSO SMELLS

SHE PROBABLY CAME FROM THE SEWERS JUST LIKE HER RATS

AND SHE ALWAYS PLAYS THE PITY CARD JUST BECAUSE HER DAD DIED LAST YEAR

WHAT AN IDIOT

HER DAD WAS AN IDIOT TOO

THATS WHY HE DIED

HE DESERVED IT

I look at who sent it. Mandy. She sent it to the whole school. Literally. The tears start coming. She insulted my dad. He didn’t deserve it. You know what Mandy? It was your drunk dad that crashed into our car that night. I was right there and I saw it. My dad was a really careful driver. It was just unlucky that he was in the front. I was in the back, with my mom. He was the one who got hit head on. He was the one that didn’t survive. Mandy’s dad barely had a scratch. That night, I almost wished I could die. It’s your dad’s fault. And I almost never told anybody about it. The tears are pouring. Now I’m actually running. I go to my spot, with the tall grasses and flowers. I sit on the ground, sobbing. What did I ever do? No one likes me. I keep quiet. I never get in your way. Why do you hate me? Your family destroys mine and now you destroy me. I barely even have a family anymore. I wish I could die now. The school is empty by now. I sit in a ball and keep crying until I can’t anymore and I don’t have any more tears. I just sit there, staring at the message. Then I hear it.

“Mira! where are you?” “Mi-ra, come on, we’re going to be late” I don’t care. I don’t want to be a wrestler anymore. I don’t do anything. I just sit there and stare out emptily.

“Alright, you guys check around the gym, I’ll do the art section, and you do the rest” I hear footsteps and more calling. I wish I could disappear and never come back. He’s getting closer, I can hear him now. It’s Josh. He’s always been one of the nicest to me. I can see him. He sees me.

“I found her. Come here guys!” He yells excitedly, and then he sees my face. “What’s wrong?” I give him the phone. I can tell he’s shocked.

“Who is this girl? What is her problem?” He asks in disbelief. The rest of the team arrives. He shows them the text. They all look shocked too. Josh grabs my phone and starts typing.

“What are you doing?” I ask. “Sending it to our principle. Come on, we have to get to Leagues.” Jason helps me up.

“Come on, let’s win this thing! Show this Mandy how good you are.” The rest of the team cheers.

We went to leagues and we all won at least third place. Everytime I felt like I was losing, I thought of Mandy, and I worked even harder. I ended up with first place. I  also got the best wrestler award. My mom drove me home with two  giant trophies in the trunk.

Thursday.

Mandy came to school with a black eye. I don’t know how, but I’m sure the guys did it for me. It was third period when the dreaded phone call came. I was sent to the office.

“We have a situation with the other school, so I’m going to drive you over, okay?” The secretary put me in her toyota and we drove the couple miles to their school. When we got there, I saw that Josh was in the office. We sat down in the counselor’s office. She turned on her computer and showed us the text message.

“This message was sent to the principle. Did you know about it?” She was addressing me.

“Yes, I did.”

“How did you get involved in this?” she looked at Josh

“Well, I found Mira crying in a corner and she showed me this message. I sent it to you guys so you could do something about it.”

“What do you want us to do?”

“Tell Mira’s principle. Have Mandy apologize. Suspend her. She deserves it.”

“Alright now, you can go back to your classes.”

The drive back was silent. I was called directly to the office when we got back. Mandy was there. This time, the principal was talking.

“Why did you send this?”

“I don’t know, I was mad.”

 

Friday

“So… do you think you could do that?” I’m standing in front of Mr. G in the office after school. “Sure, I’ll definitely look into it, hopefully we can get you on the mat as early as Monday.”

“Great, thanks, see you next week!”. I leave the office and start walking home, the crisp leaves crunching underfoot. I was just asking Mr. G., my P.F. teacher if I could join the boys wrestling team. I go to River Canyon School for Girls and they don’t exactly promote wrestling. Most girls in 7th grade worry more about grades or who has the newest phone than who can pin faster or shoot the best. We don’t even have a team, not enough girls want to wrestle. In fact, I’m probably the only one. The River Canyon school for boys doesn’t have a big enough gym for wrestling mats, so they use our mat room instead. Why not wrestle with them, it wouldn’t be any trouble for me?

I cross to my street. No one else is around and it’s kind of peaceful. My house is just on the edge of town, right next to the canyon. We have this beautiful view and I often get up early to see the sunlight creeping up the yellow stone. My house is kind of on the outskirts of town so I go on a shortcut instead of going all the way around on the road. I jump over Mr. Whitop’s gate onto the path that’s so worn it’s gone down to dirt. Mr. Whitop has an open backyard and leads straight to my house. It’s a big old blue farmhouse with 12 acres of land around it. It’s kind of creepy at night but to me, it’s home.

I’ve been wrestling, or at least roughhousing, all my life, at least until my dad died. It’s been downhill from there out. I’ve always been a tomboy and I’d rather be in the boys school. I don’t belong at my school. It’s also kind of hard to make friends with prissy girls all over. I don’t mind being alone though. Being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely.

I take out my key and push open the heavy oak door. It closes with a clang and echoes through the house. I climb up to my loft and start on homework.

*Pin: When your opponent is on their back, resulting in an automatic win.

*Shoot: An attack while standing

Monday

Today was an average day until lunch. Boring math, annoying PF, more interesting cooking, and finally social studies. I was walking down the hall after the bell rang and passed the popular kids corner, when a high voice addressed me.

“Aren't you ashamed of you hair, I mean you barely brushed it. You look like a porcupine!” Mandy  said. Her entourage giggled. Mandy was the most popular girl at school. She was sweet in front of the teachers but a pain in the butt during recess and lunch.

“At least I don’t spend hours on it in the morning and get tardies at school,” I replied and walked off to my spot. This is what happens every week. I’m just waiting for her to do something really bad so I can get her in trouble.

I sit at the very back of the school, near the art division. There’s a little corner that the past garden club turned into a little seating area. The grasses and flowers are so tall, you can’t see anyone if they’re in there. There are blue eyed grasses, unthorned roses, succulents, minor’s lettuce, and a bunch of other plants.  No one knows it’s there, it’s tucked into a little hallway that most people pass. It has one marble bench with an inscription: For whoever discovers this, may you recognise the peacefulness around you and see the beauty of this garden.

It’s 3:04 after school. I’m waiting in the mat room for the rest of the team to arrive. This is the first time I’ve ever been in here. The mat has always been off limits during school. Three sides of the room are covered in mirrors. The other has the door and a couple of first aid cupboards and exercise equipment. There’s also a couple of pull up bars. The floor is padded with thick rubber mats except for the large one in the center. The main mat. Red and white, it has two large circles within each other and the smaller has a multi colored rectangle in it. It’s ancient. The whole room is old. The door is open halfway and I hear footsteps and laughter.

“Hey, I heard that there’s a girl joining!” A boy called out.

“She probably can’t even tell a takedown from a sit out. This’ll be a hoot!” Someone else said. There was lots of laughing at that.

“I feel sorry for whoever has to practice with her, wrestling a girl, can you imagine that!” More laughing.

“Mommy, mommy, the big bad boys hurt me, I wanna quit.” Another imitated a little girl. They came into view. There were a couple of scrawny kids, a really short one, a tall and thin, and one with the fiercest brown eyes I’ve ever seen.

“Hey, that’s enough,” he said,” She might just be able to whip you guys’ sorry butts. You never know,” he argued. At least there was one decent kid in the group.

 “Laps, let’s go, run, run, run!” The coach was here. We started running around the big circle.

“Is this the team?” I ask a kid next to me.

“Yep, us and apparently you now.” He replied.

“Wow I thought there would be more of you.” He sped up.

The tall guy that defended me earlier's name was Josh. He was the team captain as I learned as he led warm ups. As everyone else fell into the pace of practice, I could see the boys were wowed by my ability to move smoothly on my feet and attack flawlessly. We worked on our stance and I noticed as their eyes widened when they saw my stance perfect with my legs exactly shoulder width apart and my back strait. I guess I'm not as wimpy as they think! We ended practice with matches. We all lined up lightest to heaviest and wrestled to the first takedown. The loser would be out and the winner would move on to the next weight level. I started off first since I was the lightest and wrestled up 30 pounds. Pretty good for a first day. I could tell the boys either hated me or were starting to let me in. The coach was cool though. He had a soft spot for girls and always rooted for me when we wrestled. I packed my stuff up and started for home in the waning light, proud of how I did.

Tuesday

Did I mention how annoying Mandy and her group are? It doesn’t look like it, but it makes me feel like punching her and running home to my tree and cry. Oh, I didn’t tell you about my tree. It’s this big oak tree in my backyard. It’s so ancient, it was probably planted before the house was built. It’s huge. It goes about thirty or forty feet up and when you get to the top, you can feel the South wind on your face and see the hawks soaring over the town. I’ve never seen anyone else climb it but I’m born a climber. Remember the tomboy part of me?

Wrestling practice. Day two. There’s a new kid today. His name is Jason. He’s short and thin and is closest to my weight so I’m wrestling him during practice. His dad was a pro wrestler and you can tell. He knows a lot of tricks. He’s kind of quiet and has a mass of curly blonde hair on his head almost the length of mine, which by the way, isn’t very long. He’s kind of different from the rest, strong in a gentle way. We spent the day running for conditioning. I got out my Ipod and earphones and tuned out. We ran about 5 miles on the track. Everyone was sweating and huffing but I’m also a runner. Give me a track and my music and I can run all day.

“Good job today, I heard all the boys were picking on you,” Jason was talking. were packing up our stuff after practice. He really seemed like a nice guy. The rest of the team were also nice.

“Thanks, but the the guys stopped making fun of me after yesterday,” I replied with a little smile.

Thursday

Science class, 6th period. I slink into my seat. The day has dragged on and I can’t wait to get out of school. The clock seems to be going backwards. “Hey, what’s up,” It’s Mandy again. I can hear the fake sweetness in her voice. Like I said, she has perfect hair, perfect everything and is the topic of just about everybody’s conversations around here. She smiles her perfect smile and sits down next to me. I can’t stand her. The fakeness of it all. She lives double lives. Everything that makes her look good goes on Instagram and she hides all the bad stuff away where no one can find it. “What’s this, you’re on a wrestling team?” She asks, pointing to my new wrestling sweatshirt. “Yeah, I’m on the wrestling team over at the boys school.” I reply and continue my worksheet. If I bore her long enough she’ll stop talking to me. “Isn’t that for boys? Eww. I wouldn’t want to wrestle with BOYS!” She keeps going,”Why are you even on the team? Are you a boy?” She falls into a fit of giggles. “Yes, I am totally a boy,” I reply sarcastically. She finally stops and actually gets to work. She seems moderately satisfied and gives me a little smile and wave at the end of the day. This doesn’t look good. She’s probably going to tell all of her little friends, and make a nasty rumor or something.

See, this is also why I love wrestling. There are no girly girls and I can take out my anger on whoever I’m wrestling. It’s a win-win and I don’t end up in the office for punching Mandy.

Friday

Today there isn’t practice so I head to my mom’s pet shop. Mandy didn’t do anything stupid so I hope she just forgot it. I love working at my mom’s shop. It has all kinds of reptiles, cats, birds, and rodents. I especially like the rats. Most people think rats are dirty sewage creatures, but they’re just like miniature dogs. My job on Fridays is to clean the cage and feed the turtles. I don’t get any allowance so my mom pays me to work here. I hate how kids who get allowance always say that they earned their money with their hard work. What hard work, you mean living? That’s not hard at all. My mom thinks that it’s better preparation for the real world to earn money, so I work.

I get to the petshop in about ten minutes, it’s not that far from the school. The door jingles when I open it. I can see the rats are pretty happy to see me. There are two of them that we’ve had forever. I guess this town doesn’t like rats. I already named them, although I’m not supposed to in the case they might be sold. Pepper is a blackish brown rat with dark brown eyes and Salt is white with brown eyes and grey spots on her back. They’re both females and are sisters. I come up to the cage. They climb excitedly on the bars to meet me. I take them out and put them on my shoulder and get to work cleaning the cage. They’re shoulder rats and nestle down in my sweatshirt. I check the calendar.

“Mom, it’s been two weeks, it’s pay day,” I yell across the store. Then I look again. It’s my birthday today! How could I not notice? I’ve been so busy that I forgot my own birthday!

“Mom, it’s my birthday!” I yell again

“I know,” she replies,”and I got you a present! I’ll tell you after you finish the cage.” I think that’s the fastest I’ve ever cleaned the cage.

“Okay, you ready?” My mom was at the cashier’s counter, wiping off any dust. “This year, you’re thirteen, so you get to keep Salt and Pepper!”

 

MOnday

We didn’t have practice on Friday and today is my fifth practice. I finally belong here. The guys have accepted me as their teammate and buddy and realize I’m not as wimpy as they thought. We keep drilling. Today I’m working extra hard. Tomorrow is our first dual meet and I want to to be extra good and get my first win of the season. Dual meets are kind of like competitions, but just against another school. Jason was teaching tricks to get a better take down. We wrestled all day. I love it when I’ve worked super hard and really tried because I can tell that I’m better.

I  rush home to play with my new pets. Salt and Pepper are really calm rats and let me pet them while watching T.V.. They climb over me and the couch, and after tiring themselves out, they come and snuggle next to me and fall asleep. I can’t move! I don’t want to wake them up. My mom let me take the cage home so I made a hammock, a sleeping box and a couple other toys to keep them excited. Their fur is really soft, and they already know a lot of tricks. This is the best present ever!

 

Tuesday

“Mira Henders, please report to the office,” crackled over the loudspeaker. I got my stuff, waved to my teacher, and started walking down the hall. Today was my first real match. That school was coming here so I had to get out of class early to help set up the mats. The rest of the team is already there and already started pulling the heavy mats from the mat room to the main gym. You probably haven’t ever seen a wrestling mat. They’re huge and are usually divided up in six sections for portability. Each section needs to be rolled up, strapped tightly, and carried to the gym. Not to mention there are three tight doors to get through. We finally got the mats set up and started our warm up.

West Valley, the team we were wrestling arrived and then we had to let them use the mat for themselves. In the mean time, our coach gave us a pep talk.

“Don’t care about how big they are. Don’t think about how old they are. Don’t think about how good they are. You can beat them, so go out and wrestle! Mira, you’re first. Warm up a bit more.” I was the lightest so I would always go first. I walk onto the mat.

I crouch down, in my stance. Right foot on the line, staring right into my opponent's eyes. I put my game face on and softly growled under my breath. My opponent was soft. He won’t make it through one period. He looked overconfident. He was probably thinking that he would easily beat me. I was a girl, how hard could it be? I had him down. He sets his leg too far forwards, so I can easily grab and trip. Tweet, the whistle shot through the air. I switch my position, now my left foot is in front. Here comes the move of the day. Tap his head, push down, blind him, go for it. I leap forwards, nearly tackling him. He does the rest himself, falling on his back. I grab his head and arms, connect, lean back, his shoulders are on the ground, pin. It was all over. We get up, shake hands and go back our team. The rest were laughing. "Did you see that?!" He went all starfish! Man you got him in 15 seconds! Nice" not bad for the first match.

The rest of the team did really well, winning all the matches and pinning most. We were all really happy with how we did. My record was upheld and no one else got a pin so fast. It was awesome!

Throughout the weeks…

We keep the same routine and keep having dual meets. I usually won, lost a few, but as long as I worked hard, I was proud of myself. Nothing really interesting was going on and there isn’t much to tell.

Monday

“Okay, quiet down. I have an announcement. We are going to have a little project with graphs. We’ll do this one about pets. Come up and write what kind of pet you have on the  board and see how many other people have the same pet. We’ll start with the easy ones. Whoever has a dog, come up.” Mrs. Bendillily called during math class. We went through dogs, cats, fish, and all of the standard pets. “Alright, If you have another pet that does not fall into these categories, come up and write it on the  board. I come up and  write  RATS in big capital letters. I can tell the class is looking at me kind of  funny at me  now. I’m the only one to put a tally beneath it. Mandy starts laughing and the rest of the class joins her.

“You have a pet rat? Ewww,” she asks,”Well it does make sense, you even look like a rat!” The class laughs harder. I can feel the blood rush up my cheeks. My face is turning red. I shoot an angry glare at Mandy and quickly sit back down. Oh the nerve! What is her problem? I guess she just likes picking on me. I finish my math problems and pack up while Mandy secretly keeps laughing behind me.

 

Tuesday

Tomorrow is league finals, kind of like the big wrestling competition. All the school will be there. We’re working extra extra extra hard.

After practice, Jason comes up to me. “We’re going to grab a shake at McDonald’s. Do you want to come?”

“Sure, that sounds fun. Let’s gain back those calories that we burned during practice,” I joke. McD’s is about a half mile from school so we all walk there.

“So how did you get involved in wrestling?” Rowan, the skinny kid asks.

“Well, my dad used to roughhouse with me and taught me a couple of moves.”

“What do you mean used to?”

“Well, he kind of died in a car accident last year.”

“Oh, sorry.”

“Don’t be.”

We’re kind of quieter after that. We reached McD’s, I got a soda and walked to my house.

Wednesday

The bell rings. I’m the first out of the classroom. I’m practically running towards the locker room to change into my wrestling uniform. My phone starts buzzing in my pocket. Ugh, what now? It’s a text message.

 

MIRA HENDERS IS SUCH A BI***

SHE JOINED THE WRESTLING TEAM JUST SO SHE COULD BE WITH BOYS

SHE JOINED JUST SO SHE COULD TOUCH THEM

EWWWWW

WHAT A SL**

SHES NOT EVEN GOOD

SHES SO DIRTY,

SHE OWNS RATS

SHE EVEN LOOKS LIKE A RAT

HAHAHAH

I DON’T EVEN WANT TO BE IN THE SAME ROOM AS HER

SHE’S SUCH A RAT

SHE ALSO SMELLS

SHE PROBABLY CAME FROM THE SEWERS JUST LIKE HER RATS

AND SHE ALWAYS PLAYS THE PITY CARD JUST BECAUSE HER DAD DIED LAST YEAR

WHAT AN IDIOT

HER DAD WAS AN IDIOT TOO

THATS WHY HE DIED

HE DESERVED IT

I look at who sent it. Mandy. She sent it to the whole school. Literally. The tears start coming. She insulted my dad. He didn’t deserve it. You know what Mandy? It was your drunk dad that crashed into our car that night. I was right there and I saw it. My dad was a really careful driver. It was just unlucky that he was in the front. I was in the back, with my mom. He was the one who got hit head on. He was the one that didn’t survive. Mandy’s dad barely had a scratch. That night, I almost wished I could die. It’s your dad’s fault. And I almost never told anybody about it. The tears are pouring. Now I’m actually running. I go to my spot, with the tall grasses and flowers. I sit on the ground, sobbing. What did I ever do? No one likes me. I keep quiet. I never get in your way. Why do you hate me? Your family destroys mine and now you destroy me. I barely even have a family anymore. I wish I could die now. The school is empty by now. I sit in a ball and keep crying until I can’t anymore and I don’t have any more tears. I just sit there, staring at the message. Then I hear it.

“Mira! where are you?” “Mi-ra, come on, we’re going to be late” I don’t care. I don’t want to be a wrestler anymore. I don’t do anything. I just sit there and stare out emptily.

“Alright, you guys check around the gym, I’ll do the art section, and you do the rest” I hear footsteps and more calling. I wish I could disappear and never come back. He’s getting closer, I can hear him now. It’s Josh. He’s always been one of the nicest to me. I can see him. He sees me.

“I found her. Come here guys!” He yells excitedly, and then he sees my face. “What’s wrong?” I give him the phone. I can tell he’s shocked.

“Who is this girl? What is her problem?” He asks in disbelief. The rest of the team arrives. He shows them the text. They all look shocked too. Josh grabs my phone and starts typing.

“What are you doing?” I ask. “Sending it to our principle. Come on, we have to get to Leagues.” Jason helps me up.


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