Belonging Story

For most kids the end of sixth period couldn’t come quick enough. I’m not like most kids. I belong to the minority group known to everyone as ‘the rangas’. The helpless, lonely kids who according to most suffer from the potentially life threatening disease they all called ‘Ginger vitis’. I say potentially life threatening as if we step out of line, they will make us wish we were dead. During school we usually avoid the relentless abuse as there is safety in numbers but as soon as 3:05 rolls around and we go our separate ways, the war begins. The bell played like the last post. I watch the clock on the classroom wall, hoping that anything will slow the oncoming bombardment. ‘hey little red riding hood’. ‘Hey ranga’. ‘Hey your hairs on fire’. I knew all the different names and for some reason though they still got to me. The public embarrassment delivering that fatal blow too my self-esteem.

Sure enough the bugle called and the battle began. My mission was from school to home in the shortest amount of time. During that time I also have to get my bike and avoid all unnecessary human contact. I shove my books in my bag and make a hasty exit. Ducking and weaving through the crowds, eye contact will only result in an explosion of unstoppable forces. My walk is almost a sprint, sweat builds under my arms but does very little to cool the mental heat consuming my mind. I veer off to the exit, the ecstasy making it seem like the bike rack will never come over the horizon. Accidentally I bump one of the slower pedestrians, he shouts out the first round of fire for the day as I soldier on into the battlefield.

I make it outside and am struck by the natural sunlight, the red heads kryptonite. I make the dash for the bike rack and work on the combination for the lock. In the rush I cant get the numbers right. That when they started heading towards me. A year 10 boys who always found me easy picking. I try not to look at them and keep on with my pad-lock but I feel their...