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Unreasonably Suspended

Alyssa Neal, Creative Writing Editor

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I had just gotten on the bus for school when it happened. Many would say that I’m over dramatic because of my reaction. Sure, it’s not the worst thing to happen to people, but who cares? It’s unwarranted and uncalled for.

“What,” I started, turning around quickly, and smacking the hand that was still far too close to my bottom, “the nuggets?” I turned a fierce glare on the guy who thought it was “okay,” and “perfectly fine,” to touch me without my consent.

“What’s riding your panties up?” he questioned with a lazy drawl, looking me up and down slowly.

He was disgusting, and so were his friends that stood a few feet away, watching the scene and shaking as their faces turned red from their repressed laughter.

“Is that the normality of your life, then?” I asked, about to give him a verbal slapping. “Touching a girl’s butt without her permission? Is that really what gets you off? You sick pervert.”

“Come on, girl!” a guy a few people down called a jock who was wearing his jersey, who was obviously impatient with the holdup. “Thinking he’s getting it enough.”

I blinked, annoyed at the lack of respect people were giving me. Did no one care that I was human as well, or what I thought about this?

I decided to just ignore them, and ride the high road, unlike they seemed to be able to do. That was, until it happened again, this time just a few rows down from the first time.

I turned around fast enough to catch his hand, this time before the slap happened. “Do you mind?”

“Not really minding.” His brown eyes flicked down my body again before they alighted on my chest.

“My eyes are up here, you know,” I reply, the annoyance obvious in my tone.

“Yeh. I do.”

My teeth clenched almost against my will, as I had to force myself to stop the bone-crunching force of my hand that still had hold of his wrist,  turn, and walk calmly to the back of the bus.

“Why do you sit all the way back here?” he questioned, slumping into the seat across from me.

“What’s it to you?” I retorted, turning to the window.

“Nothing. ‘Cept, you don’t seem to like being included in the activities we all do back here, so why bother being back here?”

My eyes strayed up, away from the small gadget that I had picked up, its screen still bright, as I saw what he meant.

Boy/girl bus pairings were a big thing, and apparently people didn’t even wait for the bus to begin moving for the PG rating to change. But I wasn’t like those other girls that were completely fine with boys going to town while they had very animated conversations with the other girls seated around them. And I, unlike them, wasn’t perfectly okay with it, and I hadn’t given my consent.

Eventually, I replied, “If I say no, I mean no” with a cold stare.

“Okay.”

The bus doors closed and started rolling along the rundown streets of Manchester.

My smile was in place, the book I was reading on my cell phone was causing me to laugh aloud every so often. I had forgotten about the guy across from me by the time the bus pulled up in a slow roll to the school.

“Hey,” he said to me as we stood up. “Can I catch your name?”

“I’d prefer if you didn’t,” I replied, directing my gaze ahead of me, standing in front of him once again.

“Okay.”

We were off the bus by now, walking to the school. And if he hadn’t decided to touch me again, I would have just let him go without a problem. But he didn’t.

Bro!” I snatched his hand out of the air, registering his obvious surprise, before letting go and slapping him. I looked at the number on his jersey. 39.

I marched down to the office, people pulling out of my way. I was not happy, and I was letting that be known.

I went to an administrator and told them my situation.

“But you slapped him?” he asked, eyebrows furrowing.

“Yes, but that’s not my point.”

“That seems like the point to me. We don’t allow abuse here on school grounds.”

“Don’t allow—” I stopped, breathing deeply. “He touched me without my consent four different times, and you’re focusing on the reaction to it more than the actual problem here?”

“You said he was wearing a jersey?” asked the administrator, ignoring me.

“Yes, it was 39.”

“I’ll talk to him. In the meantime, go to class.” He dismissed me with a wave of his hand, so I left.

I went through the school day with surprise written across my face. It wasn’t until E period that I was called back down to the office.

“Hello,” I greeted with a cold glare.

“Janet,” the administrator replied softly, quite like he was approaching a wild animal. “Your mom’s here.”

I stopped everything, including breathing. We went into one of the conference rooms that I had never been in before, and there she was, big hoops and all.

Her curly hair was the first thing anyone would see. It was crazy, and kind of made her look crazy by association.

“Oh, honey, how could you?”

I ignored my mother. I never much liked the way she acted around everyone; she was so fake.

Honey,” she said in her ‘warning’ tone.

“I’m sorry mom,” I said. I wasn’t, but she didn’t know that.

“Slapping a kid unprovoked? We’ve had that talk, remember?”

“Unprovoked?”

“A kid touching your butt does not count, Jan.”

I stared at her. I wasn’t surprised at all that she was agreeing with the people in the room, but that didn’t mean that I had to like it.

My gaze shot up and away from her as the assistant principal walked in. “Janet?”

“Yessir.”

“I’m sorry, but we cannot allow people who hit other people go unpunished.”

I stayed silent.

“So, I’m sure that you understand that we have no choice but to suspend you.”

“Suspend?” my voice had raised a couple octaves by the end of that single word.

“Yes, I’m sorry. That’s why your mother’s here.” He turned toward her mother, smiling. “And she agreed entirely.”

“You can’t suspend someone for hitting back when they have touched you more than once, sir.” I was going to fight this. I would never take it lying down. Principal, I thought with a glare, prepare yourself.

I left the room, and a couple hundred steps later, the school, with a determined tilt to my steps.

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Unreasonably Suspended