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09 September 2000 @ 06:56 pm
Scapegoat  
I have this friend, Laura. We've been having trouble communicating lately. I'm not sure who is at fault. Could be me. Being in Leadership and the Playwright Project takes up more time than I thought. Could be her. She seems to have issues building up inside of her, and sometimes I think she just needs to lash out at something or someone. Last year, she had her friend Serena, who tended to be so...ogre-ish...that she became the butt of all complaint. But now Serena's moved off to another high school, and Laura needs a new scapegoat.
Yesterday we were waiting outside of our AP American History classroom, when out of the blue, Laura grumbled, "I don't like him."

"Who?" I asked. I wasn't paying attention. I was watching a trail of ants wander into my old Spanish classroom. Room twenty-four.

"Serramonte." she answered, glaring at me. She doesn't really understand my fascination with...she doesn't know and I don't know. She never saw American Beauty, but I saw it with Marisa and I think sometimes I act like the kid with the video camera. I see beauty in everything. "I don't think he can teach at all."

"What do you mean?" I was confused. I think he is a great teacher, and I told her so.

"But all he does is lecture on and on. It's boring, and I don't get the lessons."

"Do you take notes?"

"Of course, but they don't help me a bit!"

"You could use mine." I offered. She gave me a sour look.

"Only if I can read between the doodles and the random notes you insert inbetween." she sneered. She had a point. I don't concentrate in class anymore than I do during conversations. "But, I mean, he could at least show some videos or something to make it interesting."

"One, I think he is interesting." I counted off on my fingers. "Two, it's a college-level course. He's teaching it like it is a college class."

"But we're not in college, we're only high school students!"

"So?" I didn't quite get her point.

"So he should make it easier!" she yelled. Then she quickly glanced into his room. Lucky for her, he wasn't there. I rolled my eyes.

"Laura, this class is so easy it makes me laugh. We haven't had any real homework in ages, and listening to lectures are a breeze! I had a tougher time in Bible, and that was back in freshman yea-"

"SHUT UP, Samantha! You just don't get it!" She stomped into the classroom, which Mr. Serramonte had just opened. I turn to Marisa, who has been standing silently next to me throughout the entire exchange.

She gave me a strange expression. "What?" I asked.

"Exactly." She looked at my book for a moment. The Vampire Lestat. "What was that all about?"

"You've known her longer than I have. You tell me."

Marisa sighed. She did have a theory on what was going on, however. "Frankly, Sam, I think she's jealous of you."

I was puzzled. No one's ever jealous of me. Nothing to be jealous of. "Why?"

"We'll talk later." Marisa promised, grabbing my sleeve and dragging me into the classroom just before the bell rang.

*****

"Okay, so spill." I say now, into the phone reciever.

"You know how last year she wouldn't get you a birthday gift, or even acknowledge the day?"

"Yeah."

"I think she was jealous because you had that party and she didn't."

"That's silly. It wasn't a big deal, just you 'n' me and the gang from OG and Sarah and her boyfriend at Chevy's."

"Yeah, but that was only two days after Laura's birthday."

"I can't help that we were born four days apart. That was the only day that week that Lisa was available, and it was her party, too." I pause. "Besides, Laura was invited and she could've come if she wanted. But she said she had plans already."

I can hear Marisa drumming her fingers on the wall. "Yes, but notice how those plans never materialized? She didn't go because she didn't want to have to sit through your party hearing everyone wish you happy birthday and give you gifts."

"But that didn't even happen." I point out. I think this whole thing is irrational.

"At any rate, even if she wasn't jealous of that, there's other proof." Marisa lowered a voice a notch. "You know how she's envious of Hillary? Always putting her down as being a teacher's pet? Like when Hillary read all three required books over the summer?"

"Yeah, I did notice that she's envious of Hill." Hillary gets good grades, is borderline popular, and very smart. Laura made a huge deal about how Hillary managed to read The Wings of the Dove, Of Mice and Men, and Rising of the Sun (some Hemingway book, it may have been called something different.) in one summer. We were required to in English. I only read two, because Henry James drowned me in overdescriptions. Laura only read Hemingway. I never understood what she was fussing about. We failed to do our job, Hillary didn't. End of story. But suddenly, Marisa's jealousy theory makes more sense.

"Well, she feels the same about you. You barely pay attention in Serramonte's class, or anyone's class for that matter, yet you get some of the highest marks on tests, and would easily ace the classes if you weren't so lazy." I say nothing, as for the most part this is sad but true. "It infuriates her."

"I can't help being smart." I say finally after a pause.

I can just picture Marisa shaking her head as she answers, "I know. She has some issues to work out, and until she does we just have to be patient."

*****

I can be patient. Really. But it's beginning to look like I'll be her new scapegoat, behind my back, of course.

Just what I need.
 
 
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