The next day at school, Kurt was sitting on the benches waiting for the morning bell to ring. It was impossible for him to hide the smile he had as he once again read the chat transcript.
Suddenly, too classmates, Johacim Dawkins and Mathew Perot came up to him, ready to make trouble.
Johacim asked “What are you so happy about?”
“None of your business.” Kurt replied.
“What’s on the papers?” Mathew then asked, tauntingly.
“What I told Johacim, none of your business.”
“I’m making it my business.” Mathew said snatching it from him.
“Give that back.”
Both Mathew and Johacim read it and began to snicker.
Johacim then remarked “I know who this girl is. I’ve seen her at some of the dances at the Lion’s Club. She’s a cow.”
Mathew added in “Even though she’s a cow, Kurt doesn’t deserve a girlfriend.”
“Let’s show this to Mrs. Mathers, so Kurt will get in trouble.” Johacim added in.
Sandra Mathers happened to be on duty this morning and Johacim came up to her and said “What’s up Mrs. Mathers?”
“I got something to show you.”
He then walked up to her with the papers and said “Kurt Marchal had this.”
She read it then came up to Kurt saying, “I see you brought this filth to school. How dare you. Come with me to Mrs. Bouchard’s office, right now!”
Kurt sulked and then followed her.
As they walked in Claudia Bouchard asked “What did he do now?”
“Let him explain it.” Sandra said, placing the chat transcript on the desk.
Claudia adjusted her glasses and read the papers, then said “Do your parents know about this girl?”
“No not yet.” Kurt answered blankly.
“Well I am going to call them at work and let them know.”
“Why? There’s nothing bad in those papers.”
“It’s still inappropriate to bring to school. And wait, I see here that you called this school a ‘hell hole.'”
“I call it that because everyone is mean to me, both teachers and students.”
“You deserve it because of how you act.”
“But Eileen is very nice to me.”
“You shouldn’t talk to any girl until you graduate from college.”
“Don’t other boys at this school have girlfriends?”
“Yes, but that is none of your concern. You shouldn’t have a girlfriend because, knowing you, you would get her pregnant and my taxes would have to support your baby for the next 18 years, and more than likely even longer if the child takes after you. That’s why I’m contacting your parents.”
“But I love her and she loves me.”
“Oh, don’t give me that heart failure, about love. You’re too young to know what love is. Now, I’m going to call your parents and have them make you break up with her.”
“They’ll never make me do that.”
“If they don’t then you will be expelled, end of the story.”
“But that’s not fair.”
“Life isn’t fair. That’s a lesson you need to be taught. Class will be starting in a few minutes, so get back on the benches. And do not open your mouth, or else!”
Kurt sulked and then walked back to the bench. He was sitting there in complete distress thinking about all his promises to Eileen and how he might have to break them. He was deathly afraid that she would harm herself after he would be forced to leave her. These thoughts caused a great agony in his heart and he prayed for a miracle that he and Eileen would still be able to stay together.
Mathew and Johacim came back to Kurt and began making trouble once again.
“I bet Eileen goes to the bathroom outside because she’s a cow.” Johacim said.
“I can take you picking on me, but why must you pick on her?”
“Because she loves you is the main reason. You don’t deserve to be loved.” Mathew interjected.
“Yeah, anyone who loves you needs their head examined.” Johacim added in.
“Maybe their four stomachs too.” Mathew finally said.
With that the bell rang. Kurt picked up his backpack and walked to the classroom.
The first class of the day was Life Science. Ironically, the animals being studied for the day’s lesson were bovines.
Johacim blurted out, “I didn’t know we would be studying about Kurt’s girlfriend.”
Mathew added in, “Yes, she’s so fat that she has four stomachs.”
Kurt got angry and said “Shut up both of you. I think she’s beautiful both body and soul. Both of your souls are ugly and filthy.”
“Watch it Kurt!” The teacher, Mrs. Kraft, said.
“What about them?” Kurt asked.
“Let me handle them.”
“How can a cow have a soul anyway?” Mathew finally said.
“Mathew see me after class. You too Johacim. Kurt step outside with me right now.”
“Okay.” Kurt said, rolling his eyes, then followed the teacher outside.
“Why are they saying your girlfriend is a cow?”
“Because she’s overweight. But she treats me right and I do love her.”
“They are so cruel, but they get away with it because their families make so many donations to this school. However, I’ll try not to let it happen in my class.”
“I do have a question, though: Do you really love her?”
“With all my heart.”
“I was overweight as a teenager as well, but I found someone who loved me in spite of it. He and I have been married for twenty four years and counting. I know the pain she is going through, but I only hope you will be true to her.” She paused and then asked, “You’re not going to use her then leave her, are you?”
“I would wait however long for her, even if it meant until after marriage. But there is a big problem: I want to be true to her, I definitely do, but Mrs. Bouchard says that I have to break up with her or be expelled. I’m afraid that she’ll hurt herself when I’m forced to break up with her.”
“That woman is cruel and power hungry, but you didn’t hear that from me. If she pulls that stunt, your parents can sue her, but you didn’t hear that from me either.”
“Don’t worry, my lips are sealed.”
“Now, I think this girl will do you some good and you will do her some good, so stay true to her and treat her right.”
“Will do! You have my word! I will do this to the best of my ability, so help me God!”
“That’s good and I see you must have watched the Bush inauguration this past January.”
“You always liked history and current events.”
“That’s because my parents and grandparents always have the news on.”
“Now I have to get back to teaching and you have to get back to learning, so it’s time to get back to class and you try to ignore those two hateful boys.”
Kurt nodded and they walked back into the classroom.
Both Mathew and Johacim looked at Kurt and then pretended to be chewing grass. Kurt ignored them.
Mrs. Lilian Kraft gave them a dirty look. They rolled their eyes, but then snickered. The class for Life Science finished up and then Mrs. Kraft switched to History. She began to teach about the Vietnam Conflict, but in a way seventh graders would understand. Kurt listened attentively to the lesson, even though he had mixed feelings about the war.
At the end of the lesson, Mrs. Kraft said “Now, I want each student to do a presentation on a former American President. You will each have one of your choice, but I expect it to be done neatly and professionally. Start deciding which president you would like to report on and give me your choice tomorrow. Now everyone get ready to go to Mrs. Bouchard’s religion class.”
The whole class got up and left the room. Soon they all arrived in Claudia Bouchard’s classroom.
She began teaching the class about sexual morality. “Now class, I am going to tell you a shocking fact: seventy percent of all thirteen year olds are no longer virgins. I would like to think that all of you are and if I find out that anyone isn’t he or she will be expelled.”
“Does sleeping with a cow count, as in Kurt’s case?” Johacim blurted out.
The class roared with laughter.
Kurt looked at Claudia Bouchard and said “He just called my girlfriend a cow. Aren’t we all made in God’s image?”
“She’s not your girlfriend as long as you attend this school, now shut your mouth and don’t interrupt my class again.”
“But Johacim just interrupted your class and made a very hateful remark about someone I care about. By the way, she never did him anything to him. Shouldn’t he be punished as well?”
“How dare you question me! You don’t open your mouth again or I will give you an in school suspension.”
Kurt sulked and tuned out the teacher, then began daydreaming about Eileen. Claudia Bouchard taught an agonizingly long lesson about sexual abstinence and the related topics. He would sometimes hear a few words, then drift out and think more about Eileen. Finally Claudia Bouchard switched to the subjects of English and Reading.
She told the class “Your whole generation doesn’t read and write enough and neither do you take pride in any of your work. Therefore, I am giving each of you a book report to do for both an English and a Reading grade. You will each take a book from the library and it will be one that you have never read before. Also if I catch any of you looking for a book with few pages, I will assign you the thickest book possible.”
The whole class sulked.
“Now, let’s walk to the school library.”
Everyone got up and left the classroom.
Kurt tried to make the best of the situation and look for a good love story. The fact that he was doing this made him realize that Eileen was changing him for the better. He looked around the whole library, until he finally found a book. It was Holding Steady by Stephen Schwandt. He flipped through the pages and realized that the two protagonists in the story shared similar pains. While it wasn’t the same pains that he and Eileen were going through, he still could somehow relate to it. Kurt decided to check out this book and only prayed that Claudia Bouchard would think it to be too thin. He sat down in the library and began to read it. The strange thing to him was that he actually was enjoying it. He had never enjoyed reading before, much less a love story, until Eileen caused these feelings in him to surface.
Kurt had just begun to get to a good part in the story when Claudia Bouchard said “All right class, does anyone not have a book?”
No one answered. She walked around to make sure everyone did indeed have a book, then said “It’s time to go back to class and then have recess. Kurt you stay by the wall for bringing that disgusting chat transcript to school.”
The whole class laughed.
Mathew added in “I didn’t think he could write in ‘moo’!”
The whole class laughed even more.
Kurt wanted to stand up for both himself and Eileen, but knew he would be suspended if he did so.”
Soon after, everyone left the library and headed back to the classroom. After a few more minutes, the little recess bell rang.
Kurt went to the building wall and began to read Holding Steady once again. Bouchard saw him and said “You will only read that at home, not while you’re punished!”
“But sometimes you make us do our unfinished homework during recess. I’m just trying to get a head start.”
“Watch it Kurt! You’re already on thin ice. Now pick up the book and sit by the wall in silence.”
Once again, Kurt began to fantasize about Eileen during his recess punishment. Somehow it seemed to Kurt that it was better to be by the wall for recess and have someone to fantasize about then to be free and have no one to fantasize about. As he was at the height of his fantasy, the bell rang.
Kurt got in line with the rest of the students and they all headed back to class. It was time for spelling class with Claudia Bouchard. They were assigned to write each spelling word ten times each. Kurt being a good speller, was soon finished and he thought of pulling out the book yet again, but didn’t want to get in any more trouble. Instead he decided to read ahead in his primer. Finally it was time for lunch. The class lined up and walked to the cafeteria in silence. The students were served nachos with chili, cheese and jalapeno peppers. Kurt ate everything on his plate, then went into a trance thinking about Eileen yet again.
“They grinded up Kurt’s girlfriend and served her in the chili.” Johacim remarked, breaking Kurt’s daydream.
Mathew then added in “Yeah, it’s the unholy eucharist.”
Everyone at the table laughed. Kurt rolled his eyes, put his head down and continued to daydream about Eileen. After lunch was over, everyone went onto the school grounds for recess while Kurt sat by the wall. He sulked in anger but knew he could prove them all wrong just by loving Eileen as best as he could. However he was worried about what his parents’ reaction would be when they found out about Eileen. He well knew that they didn’t like secrets being kept from them and they certainly did not like it when they had to be called by his teachers. He prayed and prayed that they would understand and somehow still allow him and Eileen to be together.
Finally the lunch period ended and the students headed off to big recess.
Kurt stood by the wall, once again fantasizing about Eileen. He lapsed into a trance until the bell rang.
It was now time for PE and the students were playing Put Out. Kurt purposely played terribly just to be put out and not have to participate. Finally it was time for Math class with Mrs. Lilian Kraft. The lesson was on fractions and percentages, which Kurt absorbed, but didn’t like the homework. Finally there was the dismissal bell.