The bell rang and Tina rang as fast as she could to her locker, grabbed her coat and got on her bike. She could hear Barb and her friends whispering, “Hurry up, let’s get her.” They trailed behind on their bikes but fortunately Tina was taller than all of them, longer legs and bigger bike. She was a good 5 blocks ahead. Tina looked over her shoulder and knew she wouldn’t have to go in hiding, she’d lose them quick enough once she got to the foot bridge. None of them lived near there and they didn’t know all the shortcuts behind the church.
Safe, this time but what about all the other days. She’d have to tell someone sooner or later, she couldn’d stand this. For the past 5 weeks four of her peers at school had heard of a rumour spreading about her father. That was Barb with her big mouth and distorted stories. But the students believed and and Tina was so ashamed. Rumour was that her father was a “drunk and robber”. She looked at her nails in disgust. She had none left, she had started chewing the skin now she was so nervous. What could she do to stop those girls from chasing her and yelling, “Your daddy’s a drunk and a robber. You’re a loser , loser, loser!!”
She dug into her school back to get out a sheet her teacher gave all the student to have signed by parents. She didn’t remember what it was. She hadn’t been listening much, she was too distracted now. She was always daydreaming so she wouldn’t have to think all the time.
Later that night her mother gave her the signed permission slip, kissed her on the cheek and said, “Good luck, darling. I hope you win.” “Huh?” Tina looked perflexed.
“The permission if you are chosen to spend an afternoon with Jean Beliveau of Les Canadiens de Montréal and you get to meet the entire team.” How could she not have heard this…OMG, Jean Beliveau was her hero!! He was the gentleman of all gentlemen in hockey!
The next day, the teacher announced that she had all the permission slips. The teacher was to choose one student and put it in fishbowl with the other classes of the school. They had to wait until the end of the day 10 mintues before the bell rang.
At the 3:30 p.m. there was an announcement on the speaker, “The runner ups have all been submitted…and the winner is…Tina Gagnon.” Tina could not believe it. She looked up at her teacher…her bullies gave her looks with daggers but the rest of the class clapped their hands. Tina`s cheeks turned red. Her teacher asked her and the 4 students who had been bullying her to stay in after the bell. OMG, now what, Tina thought. Her belly was churning and she thought she was going to throw up.
The classroom was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Mrs. Grant leaned on the front of her desk and looked at each child. Tina had no clue what was going on.
“I know you are wondering why I asked you all to stay. I received a disturbing phone call from the ticket master at the train station two weeks ago.” Tina gulped. This was her hiding place when the bullies caught up to her. She would stop at the train station that was half way home, run into the washroom and lock the door and pray and wait and pray for the bullies to get tired and leave. She had been doing this for a month now.
Mrs. continued. “Monsieur Castonguay said he was concerned about 4 girls who were chasing a certain student here and yelling curse names and chanting things about her father. Do you know anything about this, girls?” The four culprits lowered their heads in shame. Tina just managed to blush…it seemed the only thing she could manage at this point.
“After he called I asked a student from another class to follow Tina and see who was chasing her. You see monsieur knew Tina very well and asked her what the problem was but she refused to name her assailants. She even begged him not to tell her mother or the school. Now that is pretty darn brave and nice of her don`t you think? So my other student came back with a report after following Tina and her “chasers” for two weeks and gave me the names of each student.
Now, I know who you all are and you know what? I am not going to tell your parents THIS TIME. I chose Tina`s name to be put in the runner ups to see monsieur Jean Belliveau because she deserves this treat. And that will be a lesson to all of you, that being mean and vindictive to anyone NEVER pays. Have I been understood?”
All four heads bobbed eagerly and Tina was no longer blushing but had the most radiant smile as she puffed out her chest and stared at her teacher.
© Cheryl-Lynn 2014/03/29