Jamie stood in the crowded hallway and listened to the bustling of the students. The first day of school was the most important at McGill Academy; New friends, new books, and the teacher Meet ‘n’ Greet. September 10th was said to be the funnest day of the year, that is, if you weren’t the new kid. Jamie slowly made her way down the crowded hallways towards the front desk. The lady at the desk looked at Jamie with a bright smile. “Well hello there. How can I help you?”.
“I need my class schedule and locker number.”
“Okey dokey, can I have your student ID and name.”
“Here’s my ID and the name is Jamie Zepedeo”.
“My you have quite the accent, where do you come from?”
“I moved here from South Africa”
“That’s a long ways away deary. Here's your class schedule and locker number. Have a nice day”
“Thanks ma’am.” Jamie waved a goodbye and made her way to locker 108.
She shoved her brown backpack into her locker and hurried over to the library which was full of students, and very noisy. The young librarian was very helpful and show her where all the various textbooks were.
“And if you need any help, just call for me.”
“Thanks” responded Jamie she left the library with her arms full of textbooks. After dropping her textbooks off at her locker she headed off to her first class; science.
Throughout the whole day Jamie felt like an outcast. Nobody seemed to want to acknowledge that she even existed. But when the day was almost done she checked her class schedule one last time. Her spirits immediately lifted when she found out that the last class of the day was art class. When she stepped into the room she felt strangely welcome. Jamie couldn’t believe how colourful the room was and she was amazed at the various students art work. She made her way to the back of the room by an empty table.
“Hello everybody, I am your teacher James Klark” exclaimed the teacher. “And as I am sure you all have met each other in earlier classes, let’s get started.” Jamie was given a small canvas, a pallet full of primary colours and various different sizes of paint brushes.
“Ok everyone, I would like you to make the colour wheel, but add some creativity into it.” announced the teacher. Jamie began to sketch out a rough pattern and then started to mix primary colour with primary colour.
“Let’s see how creative I can get” she thought. Her art began to look like a mural that belonged on a wall. Her colour wheel began with a soft red and slowly intrugated into a reddish orange. When Jamie got nearer to the end of her painting she noticed a girl walking up to her table.
“Hi, I er saw you sitting here all alone and thought I’d...um join you.” said the girl.
“oh, okay, you can sit here.” Jamie pointed to a seat next to her.
“So what’s your name? I haven’t seen you here before.”
“I’m Jamie, what’s your name?”
“My name’s Amelia, I’ve been here for two years, I think.”
“That’s really neat. This is my first day here. Anyways, what are you doing for your colour wheel?”
“I’m making mine look something like an eye I guess, but um I think yours is way cooler. I love the way all the colours er intrugate into each other making it look like um a glass ball.”
“Really, thanks so much and I love your idea too.”
“Mud Girl, Mud Girl!” was the first thing Jamie heard that morning. The comment stuck with her all the way to the lunch bell. She looked across the lunch room and tried to find Amelia. There she was, at the back table. She rushed over and waved to Amelia. The person stood up and walked over. But that wasn’t Amelia, who was it?
“Well look who it is, it’s Mud Girl!”
Before Jamie could react, she was surrounded by a group of boys.
“What did you do, fall in a pigsty?” jeered a boy in a green jacket. All the guys began to laugh. Jamie could feel her cheeks burning, after the laughing died down a boy behind her was still chuckling. “So what do ya say we play a little game?”
Jamie couldn’t contain herself any longer “You keep your mouth shut and leave me alone!”
She tried to break through the circle of boys but they held like a brick wall.
“What is wrong with you guys?” yelled Jamie.
“What’s wrong with you?” asked another of the gang “ You look like an alien!”
“If you don’t like what I look like then don’t look at me.” hissed Jamie.
Just then an announcement over the speakers could be heard “Could Randy O’Holleran, Brad O'neal, Jeremy Klarsy and Rian Hoffman come to the office please?” The gang quickly broke up and dispersed into the crowd that surrounded their fight. Jamie just stood there and slowly crumpled to the floor. She could feel tear after tear slowly trickle down her cheeks. Amelia walked up behind her and kneeled down to the floor.
“I…I’m so….so sorry Jamie” Amelia said in a quivering voice “I should’ve....wa….warned you.”
Jamie cried. Amelia pulled her up to her feet and walked out of the lunch room and into the library. Not until then did Jamie speak. “Those guys are so cruel!”
“I for..forgot to warn you about Randy’s gang, it’s er all my….my fault”
“No it isn’t your fault, Randy could’ve just left me alone.”
“You have to um know that they do this to er every coloured teen.”
“Really?” questioned Jamie.
There was a moment of silence, both girls thinking about the fight. A hurt look crossed Jamie’s face and Amelia began to cry.
Jamie took the long way home that day.
“What could’ve possibly spurred Randy’s hate?”
She entered a path that led into the woods. She walked down the dirt path, passed the fir tree, jumped over the puddle and sat down onto a fallen maple tree. The scene in front of her was fantastic. From there she could see the mountains with their white peaks. Just before that was the tops of maple, fir and cedar trees. A small lake peaked at her through the trees. And the sun shone on through the sky. From Jamie’s view she could see a few clouds on the blue canvas. The scene looked so peaceful and clean. No pollution or sign of the city. No hurt or tears just peaceful, Jamie quickly grabbed her sketchbook and pencils and began to draw the scene that lay before her. First came the bright blue sky and it’s fluffy white clouds then there was the greenish mountains and their white tops. After that she began to draw the hills and trees that lay before her. She noticed the browns and grays and specks of green that were just below her feet. She began to look all around her, how come all the colours seemed to fit together so perfectly? Even the yellow fungus matched that dead tree. The browns of the tree trunks seemed to compliment the dark brown leaves. The purple lilacs strangely matched the muddy puddle. Jamie realized that all the colours of the earth matched each other perfectly. Just like pen on paper.
“Why can’t people be like that?” thought Jamie.
When She arrived at home that day her parents noticed her glum attitude.
“Is there something you’d like to tell us Jamie?” asked her Mom.
“No, I’m fine” answered Jamie. She rushed upstairs to avoid further conversation with her parents.
“Mud Girl, Mud Girl” Jamie complained to her old friend Zoe on the phone “I can still hear it ringing in my head.”
“Maybe you should confront Randy and tell him ‘No.’”
“Easy for you to say.”
“I guess so, but you know what I mean. Next time he teases you, don’t give him a reaction” explained Zoe.
“You're right Zoe. I’ll also need to tell my parents.”
“You haven’t told your parents yet!?” Zoe was aghast.
“No” Jamie confessed.
Soon after her phone call ended a knock was heard at her door. The person didn’t wait for a response before coming in.
“Hey Honey, are you sure there isn’t anything at all you would like to tell us?” asked her scruffy Dad.
“Well….” Jamie looked down at her feet in guilt.
“We got a call from your principal today saying that you were being bullied by a bunch of guys. Why didn’t you tell us this before?”
“I don’t know.” answered Jamie.
“We’re really sorry that this has happened to you Jamie” replied her Mom. “And we want to know exactly what happened.”
Jamie began telling the whole story to her parents. She started it at the very beginning of the day.
“They really said those things to you?” asked her Dad.
“The thing is Dad, the whole school is unfriendly to me. And I’m the only black kid there.”
“I know Honey, but if you look at the big picture we are all the same.”
“And Jamie” added her Mom “always remember the old saying ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.*”
“Thanks Mom.” responded Jamie.
Her Dad opened up his arms and gave Jamie and his wife a big bear hug. Jamie could feel the tears start to come.
“I love you Mom and Dad.”
“We love you too.” responded her parents in unison.
Her Mom kissed her gently on the forehead. The door closed with a click and Jamie was alone in her room once more.
Jamie walked into McGill Academy with a renewed confidence the next day. She felt that maybe, just maybe, she would be able to get through this day without incident. Jamie unlocked her locker and let her backpack drop into it with a “Thud”.
Someone whispered in her ear “Mud Girl”
She whipped around only to see the fast moving back of Randy. But somehow the comment didn’t stick as it did last time, It just slowly faded away. As the day wore on, Randy and his Gang kept on calling her cruel names. Jamie felt the sting, but every time she remembered her Mom’s wise words. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” It was finally lunch time and Jamie was starting to get sick of Randy.
“Jamie!!” yelled the over excited Amelia.
“Hey Amelia” answered Jamie.
“You…okay this...morning?” asked Amelia
“Ya, I had a really good talk with my parents yesterday.”
“That’s…...good. I’m gonna….get some um lunch…..want anything?”
“No, it’s okay.”
Amelia walked away to the long line up in the cafeteria. Jamie was alone in her thoughts. She scanned the lunch room to see if Amelia was coming back, but what her caught attention was not her friend, but someone completely different.
“Why is Ryan walking in my direction?” Jamie said to herself.
“Hey, um could we talk?” asked Ryan.
“If you have anything to tell me I don’t want to hear it.” answered the scared Jamie.
“Listen, I’m sorry about what my friends did alright.”
“Okay?” Jamie was confused, why would Ryan just come up and say “Sorry?”
“And well, we won’t bother you anymore.”
Jamie looked up into his eyes with a piercing stare. “Promise me, promise me that you won’t bully me any more.”
Ryan walked away with an easy pace. Jamie could tell he was much happier, and she felt as if a weight off her shoulders had been lifted. The day went by with an easier pace after that. Jamie knew that just the promise that she wouldn’t be bullied anymore was good enough for her.