The storm had been brewing a while. It all started a month or so ago. Madeline said something unforgivable about Karina to Chloe, something about Karina and a boy, which Chloe repeated to Riley, not knowing that Riley and Karina had made up after their fight the week before and were talking again. Had she known, she would have never said anything to Riley, of course, but it was too late now. Riley sent a mass text to EVERYONE, including Karina, about the horrible thing Madeline said. Then the insults started flying, profanity-laden texts, whispered conversations in dark corridors, glares across the cafeteria, escalating nastiness.
Then it happened. Madeline and Chloe were walking down the hallway between classes, when Madeline tripped and accidentally bumped Chloe, which caused Chloe to bump into Karina, who was standing next to Riley.
“Skank!” Karina shouted at Madeline, who responded with a sucker punch to Karina’s nose. Soon fists, hair, and insults were flying, with a growing crowd around them spurring them on. It took four teachers to separate the girls. There was no clear winner or loser. Both girls emerged with ripped clothing, disheveled hair and scratched, bloody faces.
That night at home, after receiving lengthy school suspensions, both girls turned off their phones, which were practically exploding with texts, and crawled into bed early. Karina reached under her pillow for her favorite book as Madeline was pulling the same book from the bag lying next to her bed. Elle King, another shared favorite, sang softly into the girls’ ears as they fell asleep, both wishing for a friend that would understand them.