Shawna sat against the hard, brick wall of the school, her head in her hands. It was a perfect, California day full of sun and warm, sea breezes. Everyone around her was eating or talking with friends in the outdoor cafeteria area. But Shawna was in no mood for any of that right now. Ever since the phone call from Jamie’s dad last night, it felt as if someone had stabbed her heart with a red-hot poker. She still couldn’t believe her best friend had tried to commit suicide. Not Jamie. Not smiling, happy, beautiful Jamie. How could she have missed it? How could she not have seen that she was struggling, that she was hurting? It was right in front of her. It had been all along. Hayley and Danielle had been fat-shaming her for months, ridiculing her in the halls, posting shopped pics of her online. She’d done nothing to deserve it, but the girls seemed to find some kind of sick pleasure out of hurting other people.
Shawna glanced up at the two girls now, sitting at a table with some guys from the football team, laughing as if they didn’t have a care in the world, as if they hadn’t torn down a fellow human being to the point of trying to kill herself.
Emily Turner passed by their table. Shawna could hear Hayley calling her a slut. Emily had made the mistake of smiling at Hayley’s boyfriend. Now Hayley was spreading all kinds of rumors about how sleazy Emily was. None of it was true. Emily was a Christian and one of the nicest girls at the school. Shawna could see Emily fighting tears. The girl ducked her head and hurried away. Hayley and Danielle were shameless bullies. They didn’t care who they hurt or what damage they did. It was time for someone to do something, to stand up and be a voice against their cruelty.
Shawna watched as everyone turned their heads. They just ignored it. They didn’t have the guts to take a stand.
Well, Shawna was done being a bystander. She pushed away from the wall and stood up.
Written for Thursday 360