“…and you will have freaky little musical babies…”
“Yeah, freak! Now dance for us!”
The room erupts into a chorus of ‘dance’, ‘dance for us’ and so forth, as I dash in from the beginning-of-summer humid rain shower. Inside it is no better: the Year 10s are like the torrent of water, drowning poor Ezme with every attempt she makes to talk, and flooding her exits every time she tries to break away. Amongst the stampede of older girls, I find Emma ignoring the commotion and trying to chat to another, darker, redhead.
“Emma! This is no time to chat, we’ve gotta help Ezme Winters.”
“Ezme Winters?” is the reply I get, “Why? She’s popular. Anyways, this is Shona.”
Emma points heartily to the thin bespeckled girl beside her.
“I’m Irish.” Shona says in her thick accent, “That’s why I’ve been outcast too.”
“Luckily,” She says, her voice swiftly becoming High Londonian like mine, “My acting skills have granted me the talent to flick it away. But I-”
“Okay, that’s nice,” I say patronizingly to Shona, “But I really need to sort some stuff out,” before hurrying over to the lofty Year 10s, once again with their phones out.
“Oy! You losers! Don’t you have somebody else to pick on?” I yell. The girls look around confused, before finally seeing me wave from the desk I am sitting on nearby; I hate being so short as now they tower over me like stone columns.
“Gotta go,” I cry, before bolting through their legs, past Ezme, grabbing her wrist, pulling her along and receiving several weird glances in the progress-even from my fellow ‘outcasts’.
When we reach a classroom that I know won’t be disturbed for another 35 minutes, I shut the door and collapse onto the floor, panting like thirsty dog.
Army of tall Year 10s-0
“Jessica Williams? Yeah? Little-Rich-Girl-Who-Got-In-On-A-English-Scholarship if I’m not mistaken?” Ezme gets her breath back quicker than me, due to her lanky physique and her many hours dancing.
“I’d…prefer it…if you didn’t call…me that.” I finally manage to puff out, “Just Jess, thanks. Why do let them mess you around like that?”
Ezme’s laugh is less than comforting; harsh and hysterical.
“’Cause it’s what they want. If they want to live like that, on their own heads be it!”
“You should get on with your life-”
“You should get on with your life…That is, if you know where you’re headed.”
“I want to be a singer!” Ezme says quickly, quietly and definitely. “And not just because of Dan,” she says in reply to my surprised glance, “It’s why I changed my name at the end of Year 7, except nobody will accept that I am really Francis now.”
“But are you?”
“I know what I want!” Ezme shouts, before giving an apologetic glance like a love-sick puppy, who’s eaten more than she can chew, and whispering, “It’s getting there that I struggle with…”
“I think I can help with that.” American drawl says from the door.