Ramash holds a passion for creative writing which is visible in his words as he balances his university studies with his love to write.
Nerd/ Popular labeling
Fitting In He looked up at them. The Ivy League of schools. He ran his hand through his hair. It was usually a mess but today he had enough time to comb. He walked through the school gate, keeping his head low because he didn't want to attract any unwanted attention. As obvious as it was, Jimmy was not even close to the “Popular” title. In fact, I'm pretty sure he had more qualities of the “Nerd” title.
He always gave the bare minimum effort to everything he did, even when it was not on purpose. This was probably because as long as he can remember, he and his mother didn’t stay in one place for too long. She worked for a company that always has her on the move around the state.
Out of nowhere, a flying marker hits him on the side of his head. ”Ouch”, Jimmy whispers. “Oops, sorry”, the group of jocks crossing the hall replied with sarcasm dripping from their voice. "What a nerd” they breathe under their voice as they scurried off. Jimmy was not the most social guy so the popular kids never liked him. He had gotten so used to it by now that he didn’t even care about that. He didn't even understand why people even picked on him. He only have one friend. Speak of the devil. Rachel walked up towards him as he was still pondering over what had just happened. “Earth to Jimmy?” she mockingly greets. “Hey!” says Jimmy with the first time expressing any warm emotions.
“I saw what they did to you. It wasn't an accident.” Rachel expresses.
“Rachel its fine, honestly, I don't care.” Jimmy replies with the smile he had after seeing Rachel fading.
Rachel further pushes.
“Just forget about it Rachel, I’m fine. If it bothered me, I would report it to the student council. ” Jimmy concludes.
Jimmy saw his class up ahead. He didn't have an answer for Rachel right now so he told her that he'll see her later during lunch. ”Ok.” She muttered and walked off.
If only Rachel knew how he felt. He knew they shouldn't be teasing him and treating him like that. But how can he muster up the courage to even confront them? He was nobody. Pathetic. The thought even disappointed himself. “I'm such a loser” he chuckled with a heavy heart. Deep down he just wanted to fit in like the rest of the kids. He had been neglected, left out of things, and tossed away. In his mind, he thought maybe If he let them pick on him then maybe, there was an even slight chance that they´ll accept him as one of them. Weird logic. Yeah, I know. But he just didn’t wanted to feel as an outcast so he went along with it in desperation.
Ms. Jennifer class was his favorite. She was an athletics teacher. She was nice but she also knew how to push her students. She was the only reason he took the one thing he was good at actually serious; athletics. Though Jimmy was not strong his body was flexible. He was the president of the athletics club run by Ms. Jennifer who encouraged and supported him all the way.
Her class was held in the gymnasium. Jimmy made his way to the back. Kids were already standing in a formation led by Ms. Jennifer. He craned his neck and stretched over to catch a glimpse of Layla who was standing at the front of the pack. She was the crush of half of the school. Her wavy curls and exotic eyes were testament of her mother who was from Porto Rico. The Caribbean features were impossible to ignore in her as well.
Ms. Jennifer called for attendance. Children replied one by one getting themselves marked as present. When Layla’s name was called, no reply came. Ms. Jennifer looked up from her register and say Layla gossiping with her friends. This infuriated the teacher. She called her out and noticed that Layla had been absent for the past whole week.
“Where were you been the whole week, Layla?” Ms. Jennifer asked.
“I had to go with my parents to the Maldives.” Layla replied boastingly.
Ms. Jennifer continued to lecture Layla for the next five minutes. She told her it was not okay to miss school in the middle of the semester just to go to a holiday. Layla listened half-heartedly. She continued to talk with her friends as the teacher spoke. She didn’t maintain eye contact and whispered to her friends that everyone including Ms. Jennifer were just jealous of her. She was a complete brat. This still didn’t stop Jimmy from crushing over her as he carefully listened to Layla’s Porto Rican accent with his eyes glued on her. Ms. Jennifer finally gave up on Layla and got back on with the roll call.
Layla turned to the back and saw Jimmy starring. She reversed to the back and whispered into Jimmy’s ear,
“Ok!” He replied. He tried to act cool but he couldn’t believe one of the popular girls was asking to talk to him. “Can this not be a miracle?” He thought to himself as his face blushed like an apple.
After class, he practically speed walked to his locker, where Layla and her posse were already there.
“Hey, Jimmy right? Layla smirked.
“Y-yes” Jimmy stuttered. “Way to go Jimmy, so long with the trying to act smooth.” he thought to himself.
“Okay, so we wanted to ask if you wanted to trash Ms. Jennifer’s house with us tomorrow at 11 pm.”
Girl what, rewind. Jimmy had always followed the rules. He stayed in the boundaries and never defied any of them.
“Umm… I- don't know...” Jimmy hesitated.
“Come on Jimmy! We´ll include you in everything after this. It's like you proving your loyalty to us. You'll finally be popular.” Layla countered.
Ok pause. You're probably thinking he didn't do it and it was not worth it. Sorry to disappoint you but Jimmy did say yes. If you were in his place you would understand. This was a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity for him. Everything he always wanted was being offered to him. This chance would never come again. So like the dumb, easy to manipulate child he was, he accepted.
On the night it came… he had to sneak out of his house as there was no way he could let his mother know about this. She didn’t raise him like this. Crazy what people would do to gain some popularity. He met with the rest of the kids and went around to Ms. Jennifer’s house. She always treated him like the rest of her students. She never cared that he was not popular. He felt bad doing this to her but he convinced himself that she would want him to go forward with this plan if it meant that he could finally have friends.
Layla gave him the toilet paper and to Jimmy’s surprise some eggs as well. While the other kids ran around throwing toilet paper, she stood there with Jimmy and told him to throw the egg at the windshield. They both could see that there was still light so Ms. Jennifer was still in the room.
“Throw it!” she said. But Jimmy didn’t want to. He realized that maybe this was a mistake.
“Hey Layla... “
Realizing one's mistake
He threw the egg and suddenly the door jolts open, outcomes Ms. Jennifer. Jimmy froze but Layla runs away and so do the other kids. Ms. Jennifer glares him in the eyes. He follows the other kids ran straight home, face full of tears. Mind in the clouds. He got home and rushed straight to bed. His mother wasn’t home yet so he just collapsed on his bed. Little did he know, the following day would prove to be the worst day of his life.
The next morning was a blur. He woke up to the sound of a phone blaring, and his mother answering it. She was in her pajamas frowning,
“Oh.” She said, she looked over to him and glared exactly the way Ms. Jennifer had did.
That could only mean one thing.
“James Miller Cooper!” she bellowed.
“Yes, ma?” he gulped.
“Come down right here this instance!” echoed throughout the house.
He scurried down the stairs.
“Don't yes mom. You know exactly what you did.”
He glued his eyes to the floor.
“I’m up here not down there.”
“Yes, ma” he replied.
“Did you throw egg and toilet paper Ms. Jennifer’s house last night?” She started tapping her foot which meant that if he lied, she would know.
“Y-yes” he stammered.
“Nope. Get your stuff and go to school.”
“Okay”, he said.
When he arrived at the school everyone stared at him.
“Is this whole world against me?” he thought.
He was in English class when the announcement was made that they need him in the front office. He shuffled his way there. When he got into the principal’s office, Ms. Jennifer stood disappointed over the shoulder of the principal. Watching Ms. Jennifer like that was an arrow to his heart.
“Yes sir?” he asked.
“Jimmy, please have a seat. I would like to discuss some things with you.” The principal replied.
“Ok”, he said.
He sat down and the principal continued, “We found out what you did yesterday and that is against our school motto. So we are demoting your position as president of the athletics club run by Ms. Jennifer to its secretary. Layla will be the new president.”
“I don't understand…” Jimmy tried to plead his case.
“I’m sorry. Rules are rules.” The principal hushed him.
Jimmy came out of the office bursting into tears. He never knew that this is what it would come down to, over just trying to fit in.
Rachel was waiting outside of the principal’s office to see Jimmy. She had heard the announcement made earlier for Jimmy. She was confused to hear that therefore she decided to go herself. Just when she was patiently waiting on the sofa outside of the main office, she heard a sobbing cry come out. She looked over and saw Jimmy with tears dripping from his eyes. He was holding back the cries because he didn’t want to further embarrass himself in school.
“What happened Jimmy?” Rachel asked.
Jimmy regretted not telling her earlier about the expedition Layla had got him into. He told her about what had happened. How Layla had got him in trouble, how he had broken the trust of Ms. Jennifer and how the principal had stripped him of his hard earned presidency, worse given it to none other than Layla. Rachel carefully listened to the whole ordeal Jimmy had gone through.
“You are so stupid!” Rachel giggled. She continued to laugh at Jimmy after he was done explaining. He thought to himself that he deserved the mock by Rachel. She suddenly made a serious face and held Jimmy by the collar.
“How dare you let that happen to yourself?” Rachel went on to put some sense in Jimmy’s head. Jimmy realized his mistake and dried his tears. He knew what he had to do. This had gone too far. The old Jimmy would have just kept his head down and rolled over but the disappointment on Ms. Jennifer’s face and him being stripped of his presidency which was the only thing he had ever worked seriously for was too much. He wondered if Layla would ever talk to him again if he came out clean to his mom and teacher but fortunately, Rachel was there to break it down for him that he didn’t need to prove anything to anyone for their friendship. This was something that couldn’t be forced over someone. Friendships require equality and respect. What’s even the point of Layla talking to him if that means she will always get him in trouble? Of course, there was the fact that Jimmy had a crush on Layla as well. However, this incident opened his eyes that she was not the right person for him. He saw through her pretty face into the ugliness she held within her. His mind was made up.
As soon as he got home that afternoon, he told his mother about what he had done. He apologized to her and told her how embarrassed he was. His mother was understanding of his behavior of trying to act like someone he was not just to fit in. She was happy over the fact that her son came confessed and even acknowledged the courage it must have took him. She offered to call the principal on Jimmy’s behalf in order to clear out the air among the teachers as well because the school staff was still very confused why Jimmy of all kids would to such a thing. Especially, Ms. Jennifer who was his constant support during the turmoil time he has had in the school.
“No mom, I would like to do this myself.” He replied. His mother was impressed as this was the first time she had seen her son take charge of a matter himself. Otherwise he would just let it go or find some other way to deal with it rather than taking it head on. She proudly agreed.
Next day, when Layla came to the class she was approached by Jimmy. He offered her a chance to tell Ms. Jennifer that the egging of her house was her idea and she had manipulated him into coming along just to put on the blame. Layla villainously laughed at him.
“Oh yeah! What are you going to do about it? You don’t have the balls for it, you pathetic little nerd.” she replied. She thought that she could bully her way out of trouble. That was probably why she even asked him to come. She knew he wouldn’t speak up about it and that way she would not have to get in trouble. Little did she know, he has had enough. He had already been like that for too long and look where it had gotten him.
“If that’s how you want to do this then okay. Listen carefully for the announcement. I am sure the principal would love to have a word with the new athletics president when I tell him the truth.” Jimmy firmly replied. Layla was stunned. She had not expected this in a million years. Perhaps she had gone too far. All her friends had told her that Jimmy was just a nerd who would never speak up. Moreover, he was hopelessly in love with her so he would be an even easier target. But the toughness she say in his eyes now was contradicting to all that. She realized that bullying was not going to work so she tried another manipulation to keep his mouth shut.
“Look Jimmy, all this is my friends’ fault. I just wanted to spend some time alone with you and get to know you.” she romanticized. Unfortunately for Layla, Rachel had already told Jimmy that she might try to do this to manipulate him. With the face of Rachel in his mind, he walked away. He even felt something for Rachel at that moment that he had never felt for Layla.
The next time Jimmy, saw Layla was in the principal’s office. He had already told everything to Ms. Jennifer who was at first quite mad at him but after giving a complete twenty minutes lecture on his stupidity in handling the matter, forgave him. The principal took the presidency from Layla and gave it back to Jimmy as he had learned his lesson. As for Layla, her parents were called to school and informed about her plan of egging a teacher’s house and tricking another student to get the blame.
There was a huge stir in the school when word got out of how Jimmy had stood up for himself and had gotten Layla stripped from her newly found presidency. The popular kids were now weary of teasing Jimmy knowing that he was not the same foolish boy who would do anything to try to fit in with them even if it meant to keep his mouth shut. Moreover, the “nerd” kids started to glorify him as he had stood up to the hierarchy of the school. They all wanted to be his friends now. But he knew that there was only one true friend that he had who was with him through everything. He never had to do anything to try to earn that person’s friendship; Rachel. Jimmy finally realized he didn’t had to try to fit in where he wasn’t meant to be. He knew he was going to be fine as long as he had even one but true friend with him.