In 5th and 6th grade, I wanted nothing more than to be like Jeanna Penn. She was my idol. She was cool, confident, had all the right clothes — and everyone liked her. She was a straight-A student and an athlete.
I wanted nothing more than for her to like me and to be included in her group…I mean, clique.
She hated me. And it wasn’t just the kind of hate that leads one to ignore someone or not include them in a party. It was visceral hate. The kind that led her to taunt me relentlessly in front of people who dared to be my friends and threaten to beat me up after school. She even “set up” a fight and invited me to be beaten senseless in front of the rest of the fifth grade. She might very well have beaten me up that day…we’ll never know, because I never showed up for the fight in question. I walked home a different way.
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