Faye had always loved the way the lockers were painted in the dim halls. They were all painted a beige colour, and the trim around them was a dark brown. Most schools painted lockers in the bright school-spirited team colours, and she loved the dark mood of hers.
Looking down the mostly empty hallway, Faye recognized the big blonde hair on a girl who was hanging white sheets of paper on each locker. From where she was standing, Faye couldn't read what the papers said. But the girl was none of than Sherry Maison. Faye didn't want anything to do with the blonde Barbie who looked like she would fit in great on any new MTV video, so she just walked past her.
But the paper caught her eye. Faye's jaw dropped as she read the paper.
"NO FAGGOTS IN OUR SCHOOL! Jake Benson does not belong in our hallways. He is spreading the Gay Plague to all of us. AIDS KILLS. Complain to the schoolboard before we all drop dead."
Faye stared at the back of Sherry's head. She hadn't sensed her presence, and was still hanging a sign on each and every locker.
Tugging on the back of the blonde's pretty hair, Faye commanded, "Turn around."
Sherry flipped her weight towards Faye, her jeans and blouse flowing around her. Her hair bounced in a twirl as she caught her balance. "What do you want?"
Faye was around ready to pounce onto Sherry to literally take her down, when a sudden thought rushed over her. That wasn't going to help at all.
Trying not to cry, Faye found herself fidgeting with her hands, unsure of what to do with them. She slid them into her back pockets, trying to stand still. "Jake's dying." She didn't say anything else at first.
Sherry kept the cold look plastered on her face, and slowly began to chew her gum again. "So what? He fucked me over. He made out with me when he knew he was getting AIDS everywhere. He ruined MY life."
Faye almost laughed at Sherry's ignorance, but realized that she herself had been just as ignorant the week before. Suddenly, she felt sick looking into Sherry's cold, but blue eyes. "You didn't catch it. Jake's dying. So you spent two years of high school dating somebody who didn't love you... Did you really even love him? Did you give one tiny rats ass about him? Would you make these fuckin' signs if you did?" Faye snatched the papers from Sherry's tan hands. "So, two years of your life are gone? So fuckin' what? You've got 70 more. Jake's got, what? Six months. A year. Two. Five. Ten? Actually, I have no fuckin' clue, and I doubt he does either... but it isn't long. He's down for the count. You won."
"I won? I could be with Jason Miles if it weren't for..."
"You won, Sherry. You fucking won! You get to go to his funeral." Faye tried not to cry. "You get to buy flowers and a card for his parents. You get to drive in a line of cars with little purple flags on them. You get to place a rose on the top of his coffin and watch them lower it. You get to visit the graveside once they have the gravestone made. You can... You won. Take down the signs. All of them."
Sherry huffed. "No." Noticing that Faye wasn't tightly gripping the stack of papers, she yanked them back. "I've got my first amendment rights."
"You sure do." Faye muttered. "I've got mine too."
Sherry blinked as she stared at Faye. "What's that supposed to mean?" When Faye did not answer, and simply turned around and started to walk away, Sherry could only ask again, "What the hell was that supposed to mean? Faye? Get back here!"
Faye didn't answer. She was already in the front of the building where the first RTA bus was pulling up. Looking down, she sat down at a desk in the front lobby and sighed. Brining her head up just a bit, she watched as all the kids came off the bus and entered into the hallways, suddenly filling them.
They stumbled in very naturally, the way they did every morning at the same time. There were so many blonde girls who either looked like Sherry or were trying to look like her. Some of them had roots coming in, with their real hair colour showing, but every one of them was blonde and their hair was very full and fluffy, a few even crimped theirs.
How long did that take them? Faye wondered. They look like shit and I get they were up at 5am making themselves look that way.
Of course, not every single girl was a blonde and not every girl wanted to be like Sherry. But even the girls that Faye had once admired, or at least respect, the independent voices, the girls who valid opinions... They were all started to look like Sherry.
They were all going to live long, full lives. They were all going to show up at Jake's funeral. They were all going to look sad and hug each other.
Faye suddenly looked down at her own hands and the clothing she was wearing. She looked at her feet. Even as she stared directly at herself, she couldn't figure out what she'd worn that day. All she could think about way how sick she made herself - She was going to live a long life too.
She was going to show up at Jake's funeral.
Faye directed her attention to the boys walking in through the doors. There were some of them who looked enough like Jake that Faye nearly stood up to greet them. None of them had to die.
Suddenly, Faye heard the first bell ring and realized that she only had five minutes to get to class. Jake hadn't come to school that day.
Picking up her books and heading for her first classes, as she walked through the hall, Faye watched the reactions of the students who had sold their souls to Satan when they picked the white leaflets off of their lockers. Some were laughing, some seemed genuinely frightened of catching the "gay plague" that the papers warned of, and others crinkled the papers and trashed them without even reading them.
Sherry stood a few lockers down from where Faye's feet were planted. Faye stopped in her tracks. She opened her black synthetic leather purse and began rummaging through it. Pushing around some makeup and a pack of cigarettes, Faye finally found her dark red lighter. She pulled it from her purse and first clutched it in her left fist, then slide it into her back pocket.
The bell to signal the first period rang, and the halls had almost entirely emptied. Sherry parted from a friend or two and began to lazily wander down the halls. Faye felt like the thin walls were moving closer and closer together as she started to speed up the movement of her feet. She approached Sherry, suddenly fuming with the anger she had hidden behind sorrow earlier.
She felt nothing for Sherry but hate and disgust.
She wanted to kill her.
Faye pulled back her left foot and smacked her booted toes into Sherry's bare ankle. Sherry leaped back to cry out, but before she had a chance to make a sound, Faye reached out and gripped onto Sherry's hair, pushing her back into a nearby empty bathroom.
Faye's anger was only growing as she forced Sherry into the back stall of the bathroom. She let go of Sherry's hair and kicked her in the shin with the same brute force as first time. She yanked the lighter out of her back pocket.
Sherry put out an arm to retaliate, but she wasn't built to fight. Faye pulled back on the lighter and forced a flame out of it.
"I'm gonna kill you," She threatened. "Or maybe I'll just burn your fuckin' hair off."
Smiling a bit, Faye gripped Sherry's neck and held the lighter to one of Sherry's eyebrows. Almost instantly, it was in flame right on her face. Sherry finally forced Faye out of the stall and smothered the flame that was attacked her flesh with the palm of her hand.
Faye was surprised by Sherry's silence. Sherry ran to a sink and started to wash water onto the burn. Faye barely even looked at her as she shrugged and started walking out of the bathroom.
"I'm late for class," She mumbled to Sherry, although she was already around the corner when she said it.