I told Lauren that I’d hold her milk carton while she went to the bathroom. It was the way she said my name in her fake thank you’s, like, “thank you, Sabrina,” that made me decide to put it back in the crate. All the milk from the cafeteria is expired and chunky, anyway, so I’m practically doing her a favor.
On second thought, maybe I should hold it for her since it’s expired. Although the kids here don’t seem to mind the chunky milk.
On third thought, I’ll put it back in the crate.
However, Lauren is a snobby brat who complains about everything she sees. She’d definitely complain about the milk.
On fourth thought, I’ll hold the carton for her.
“The milk tastes so good today,” Lauren said while enjoying her chunky milk.
Damn! I should’ve put it back in the crate. The kids here are too nasty for me to manage.
One time I bought a Sprite for fifty cents, and I thought I was having a good day because the cafeteria usually sells it for a dollar more. When I was handed the Sprite can, it was inordinately warm and just slightly open. I thought, okay, okay. They forgot to refrigerate it or something. I couldn’t really explain to myself why the lid was popped open, though. Once I opened it, it smelled very familiar and gross. This is my imagination. This Sprite can’t be what I think it is. And when I took a sip, I am drinking piss. There is someone’s pee swishing around in my mouth. I asked Marjorie if the Sprite tasted funny to her. She said it tasted delightful. I decided to give her the Sprite.
The past three years of my life were dedicated to wasting time cleaning the plastic-wrapped ‘hamburgers’ off the tables. These children never cleaned their faces or hands, much less picked up after themselves. The cafeteria was lice ridden, germ infested, ruled by snotty rich brats like Lauren, disgusting, and always had an odor. We were in high school. How can preschoolers have better hygiene and manners than a bunch of kids in high school? Every day, I ended up being the only person cleaning this nasty cafeteria because, “Sabrina can’t shut her mouth.” The principal never punished any of the other children for creating this pigsty that they call the lunchroom. I’ve stayed long enough after school to know that the janitor cleans up the entire mess completely. She leaves that place spotless every single day. But come lunch, it becomes a whirlwind of ketchup and half-frozen french fries. It amazes me how this janitor keeps her sanity, along with the cafeteria looking brand new.
“Thank you for holding my milk, Sabrina.” Lauren said.
I’ve hated her since freshman year. She walked into the classroom for the first time with un-bitten acrylics clutched onto the straps of her backpack. She had a smug look on her pretty, ordinary face. Lauren then sat next to me and immediately said,
“Your sweater smells like linen and I’m actually really allergic to linen. Could you please take off your sweater? It smells like linen. And I’m allergic to linen. My throat is getting itchy.”
“Well actually, this sweater is Polyester.”
“Oh. Are you sure? I’m really good at smelling things and I’m pretty sure that’s linen.”
“It says on the tag that it’s Polyester and I’m pretty sure you didn’t make the sweater,” I retaliated.
“I have a really good sense of smell, though. I think you’re wrong. I’m, like, really allergic to linen, so if you don't take your sweater off then I can’t sit next to you.”
“But it literally says on the tag that it’s polyester.”
“Okay, I get that, but I have a good sense of smell and I know I’m right.”
“Fine. I’ll take it off.” I didn’t even understand how someone could be allergic to linen. I threw the polyester sweater down on my backpack, nowhere near her nose.
“I can still smell the linen from here, could you please move it further?”
“Fine.” I pushed my backpack, with the polyester sweater on it, further away from my desk.
“I still smell it a lot. Since you can’t put the sweater somewhere where I can’t smell it, I think I’ll just ask the teacher to move me somewhere else.” She said.
“Fine.” The teacher moved Lauren across the room, the absolute farthest away she could be from my polyester sweater.
“I can still smell the linen so strong from here, so can you, like, put it outside of the classroom?”
“Are you kidding?”
“I’m, like, really allergic.”
“Mr. Diaz, do I really have to put the sweater outside of the classroom?”
“I’ll put the sweater in Ms. Merri’s classroom so that everybody could be happy. She loves the texture of linen.” The teacher said.
“Thank you, Mr. Diaz. I, like, really appreciate it because I’m so insanely allergic.”
“Of course, Lauren. As I was saying, class, you will be given an essay at the end of each quarter-”
“Excuse me, Mr. Diaz?” Lauren interrupted, once again. “I’m so sorry, but can I just sit this one out? The aroma of the linen sweater is just really making my throat swell up, like, I literally feel like I’m dying.”
“That’s a load of crap.” Everyone stopped in their tracks, turned around, gasped, and looked at me. I just used a word that should never have been used until I was twenty-one years old. The C Word.
“Sabrina! You should never say that word! Go to the principal's office!” The teacher practically pushed me out the door. In my school, The C Word was the worst kind of all, worse than The S Word (stupid), The I Word (idiot), and even The D Word (Dumb). I got called into the office for everything. If I even breathed wrong, my mother would get a call and I’d be leaving school early. They hated me here, mostly because in the beginning of ninth grade I was violent, stubborn, and vicious. I’m much more calm compared to what I used to be, although some might say I’m still very stubborn and vicious. The difference between now and then is that I said and did everything I was thinking, which meant if I wanted to throw a rock at someone’s head, I wouldn’t bother to think about it. But now I’m much calmer, and only throw a rock at someone if they absolutely deserve a rock to be thrown at them.
“Sabrina, you said a very bad thing today. We’re gonna have to call home and ask a parent to pick you up.” The principal had a thick southern accent and gelled black hair. No one knew his name, not even the teachers. I’m sure he’s said it before but we don’t seem to remember it. Adams maybe? Roger? I gave up awhile ago.
“Because I said crap?”
The Principal held his heart and gasped, “Ms. Williams,” yes, my name is Sabrina Williams and I am not a tennis player, “that is enough mouth from you today!”
“I don’t understand-”
“Enough! I’ve had it with you! You do nothing but disrespect the students and staff.”
“The students and staff disrespect me, Mr. Principal.”
“You need to show respect to your peers in order to get respect in return.”
“Respect is earned, not given. I will not show respect to those who constantly complain about how their best friend is wearing the same outfit they wore to the dance. I will not show respect to those who make fun of children with learning disabilities, religion, race, and/or gender. I will not show respect to those who chastise me for voicing my opinions out loud in front of everybody where people can hear. That’s the real reason you want me out of the school. To silence me! But guess what, Mr. Principal. You never will, and therefore, I do not respect you.”
“Sabrina, you’re a smart young woman. I’ll give it to you straight; no sugarcoating. Once you turn my age and you’re husbandless, you will be single and lonely for the rest of your life. So take it from me and get married at a young age. Heads up, though, no one will ever love you if you don’t shut your damn mouth. The rest of us here have learned to do it the hard way.”
“I know you think I’m a miserable person already, but I’m happy on my own. I don’t care about birthing children or marrying someone. You think that’s what women want, but for a lot of us, it’s not.”
“You’re not a woman.”
“I am a woman.”
“You’re a growing girl.”
“I’m a woman.”
“Please. You’re in your junior year of highschool and you still have mosquito bites!”
“Principal Gonzalez!” We both turned around to find the vice principal standing in the doorway, heart in hands, just like the class when I said crap and the principal when I said it again. “You are arguing with a student!”
“She certainly doesn’t act like a student.”
“You say I don’t act like a student because you’re triple my age and I’m still smarter than you.”