Mom came home excited this morning cause she had finally found a warm coat at a garage sale for me. We were already over a month into an unusually cold winter and Mom has done nothing but worry. Mom was worried now that I wouldn’t like this coat because it was blue and made for a boy. Blue just so happened to be my favorite color and besides, this thing looks brand new! I was happy that I would no longer have to layer my clothing to stay warm at school, but I was also thankful that Mom could finally stop worrying about me!
I can remember feeling confident, and warm when I had arrived to school that following Monday. I kept my bare hands buried deep inside of both coat pockets, and I smiled when the mornings winter sun shined through my breathe. My new blue coat had made me feel invincible, not only from the cold weather but from everything, and from everyone!
My new blue coat didn’t have a hood but I hung it nicely by the collar on the back of my seat. During my first period class Becky had approached my desk, and she complimented me on my new coat while she ran fingers down the sleeve. I really couldn’t tell if Becky was trying to be mean when she said to me “Nice coat, Monica.” A moment after she left I turned around in my seat and I watched Becky whispering and giggling with this group of girls who were sitting in a circle on the floor in my class. My stomach is now twisted in knots and I stare up at the clock praying for time to speed up.
During my third period class I always have to sit in the back adjacent to Brian. At the start of the school year Ms. Gibbons asked me if she could move my desk to the back of the class, next to Brian. She said that by me agreeing to do this that I would be her big helper, whatever that was supposed to mean. Brian gets picked on a lot and by everyone, well by everyone at school except for me. The bullies in our class nicknamed him “Tic-toc,” because of the way he walks. I can say with all honesty that before today I have never been cruel to Brian. Today Brian makes a comments to me about my new coat, only Brian looks pretty worried at me when he begins to speak. Brian was trying to be desecrate with a hand cupped over his mouth as he says out loud for all to hear “Monica? Is that MY coat?” My fear of being found out by everyone overcame me, and I panicked. I did the only thing that came to mind and I reacted to Brian’s question by being mean. I denied it all. Instead I give Brian a dirty look and I called him a name. Then I asked the teacher to move him because he would not leave me alone, and I lied and told him that he smelled bad. I watched Brian’s eyes flood with tears, so many that they changed the color from blue eyes to silver. When Brian returns to his desk that is now off in a corner alone it pained my heart to listen to his muffled whimpers and his best attempt to swallow all of his feelings and not cry.
At lunch recess Brian was all that I can think about. I found a familiar place to hide in the courtyard until the bell rings. My new blue coat was still keeping me warm but I feel partially exposed. Just then I notice Brian and he was playing with the same group of girls that were in my first period class, and Brian looks pretty happy! I watched them play for a while until Brian notices me, and I watched him point a finger at me and say something to the girls. They are all staring at me from across the courtyard now and one of the girls I recognize, she is my cousin, Angela. The first bell rings so I run towards my classroom door. I am waiting to enter my classroom when I hear Angela’s voice from behind me yelling “Come on Brian!” The cold winter air sent shivers down my spine as my neck and my back are completely exposed. Angela has grabbed a hold of the collar of my new blue coat and she will not let go. She’s holding the collar tight so that when I tried to wriggle out of her grip I stumbled and fell and she’s now holding me up with my coat. Angela now peeling my new coat from off my arms and when I open my eyes I only see Brian’s face while he’s standing in front of me. Brian is shocked, he’s surprised, but he’s also completely satisfied. Angela hands Brian my coat and Brian holds the coat inside out and presents the collar for everyone to see. “SEE! SEE! I told ya, Monica! This IS my coat. That’s my name, right there!”
A black permanent marker had made me a liar to everyone that day. I was humiliated and I felt a little like dying. My heart was racing and I was overwhelmed by humiliation. It distorts all of my senses, but I can distinctly make out one sound, and that is Angela’s laughter, above it all.