Short story about an all to common problem
Indiana held the phone above her, tilting her head at an awkward angle. She pouted into the camera lens, checked the photo and tried again. Changing her expression, she seemed satisfied and posted the image online.
“Oh! Indiana has changed her profile picture,” Beyoncé exclaimed.
“Let’s see! Oh, she’s such a poser,” Sienna glanced at her friend’s phone.
Sienna was envious of Indiana’s long wavy chestnut hair, but would never admit it.
They were part of the ‘in’ crowd at Eastern Hills.
All of them good-looking girls, and well aware of it, wearing their school skirts as short as they could get away with, flaunting their long brown legs.
The boys at the school lusted after them, but the group intimidated them.
The girls knew their power, considered themselves the cool group of the school.
Congregating under the shady tree at the bottom of the school oval at lunch and recess, they were far enough away from the eyes of the teaching staff to risk a quick cigarette.
From this vantage point they kept a lookout for any boy that may show attention, whilst showing disdain, every few seconds glancing at their mobile phones.
Indiana was thankful they let her in this elite group, but found it exhausting to keep up the facade.
At home she reverted to the normal fifteen-year-old she was when with her family.
Letting herself into her house after school she unrolled the waistband of the plaid school skirt, restoring the length.
She had the house to herself for a while today. Her parents wouldn’t be home for another hour, her eldest sister was still at work and her little sister had gone to a
friend’s house for a play date.
The house welcomed her home; she gave a sigh of relief, throwing her heavy school bag on to the floor. Switching the kettle on for a cup of tea she dropped two slices of bread into the toaster.
Taking the tea and toast into her bedroom she reflected about her day, she despised herself for going along with the bullying tactics of her group.
How cruel they’d been to that new girl Clarissa, who’d had the nerve and stupidity to approach them on the oval. She could never expect to be part of the cool group, she wore glasses and braces and was way too smart. Sienna had made her cry with nasty comments and they’d all laughed.
Her phone made its usual ring tone, slipping it from her blazer pocket she saw a message from Sienna.
Indiana’s heart sank. It sounded as if Clarissa had told her Mum they had bullied her. I hope she doesn’t involve me; she thought.
“Indiana Clarke, Beyoncé Smith and Sienna Thompson, please come to the principle’s office,” the disembodied voice came over the loudspeakers.
The girls came from their various classes and congregated outside of the office.
“What’s going on?” Indiana whispered to her friends.
“It’s that stupid cow Clarissa,” Sienna replied. “She told her mother we were bullying her.”
“Her mother told mine she’d been talking about killing herself,” Beyoncé added,
“As if it’s any fault of mine!”
“If she’s such a wimp, then maybe it’s best she throws herself off a cliff.” Sienna said.
The school principal called them in and gave them a chance to explain their actions. They all denied that they’d hurt Clarissa’s feeling and said it had all been a misunderstanding. Mrs Beck gave them a stern lecture about the school’s policy on bullying. They got off with a warning.
Several weeks went by, Indiana still felt she had little choice but to remain with the group, the alternative was unthinkable but the bullying continued, although toned down and only done when no one else could hear. They left Clarissa in doubt she wasn’t welcome at Eastern Hills, no one liked her and that it was best if she left.
One night at home in her room Indiana was chatting to her friends on her phone, they were discussing what they would wear to the end-of-year ten ball.
She tried on the dress her mother had bought her and took a selfie. Checking the picture before she posted it, making sure she looked amazing, she noticed that behind her in the photo was an image of a girl staring at her through the mirror.
Spinning around to check that there was no else in the room, she looked at the photograph on her phone once more. “It’s Clarissa!” She whispered, horrified.
Dropping the phone she ran into the lounge room to be with her family, who were all sitting watching Home and Away.
“Have you finished your homework Indi?” Her Mother didn’t notice the look of horror on her daughter’s face.
The home phone rang. “Get that Indi,” her sister said.
Indiana answered the phone.
“It’s me! Can’t talk long, mum’s taken my mobile. Shit Indi, Clarissa’s hanged herself.”