Carey passed by in the hall and waved a hand, covered with his class schedule, written in sharpie. Alika waved shortly and continued on her way through the hustle and bustle of the halls to Algebra II, feeling alienated in the preppy environment – after all she was a free-spirit and looked the part with her long ruffled blonde and purple hair. A tall guy dressed in sharp, clean lined clothing bumped her shoulder, sending her notebooks to the floor and gave Alika that look that could only mean: “What’s your problem?” Alika thought of how jocks and cheerleaders ruled this place.
Room 2214. She took her normal seat in the middle of the classroom, the place that teachers always seem to overlook. Blonde, purple highlighted hair fell in front of her face as Alika pulled out her notebook covered in words. The pages were filled with free-expression poems, prose, and both personal and famous quotes. She found the first blank page and pulled out an aqua blue ink pen. A quiet click ran through the classroom and seemed to reverberate off the walls plastered in cheesy math posters back to her. People filed in the doorway loaded down with their books for the day. A cheerleader, dressed in uniform, took the seat in front of her; Sarah was her name. She seemed like the kind of person that pulls out her mirror so much you would think that it was glued to her hand in some type of freak accident. Sarah flipped her long brown super fake straight hair over her shoulders, some spilling on to Alika’s desk. Alika looked up, agitated, and swept Sarah’s hair off her paper. Sarah turned around and gave Alika a look of disgust, pausing shortly to read her black shift that said, “It’s better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not”. A bell chimed loudly over head. Dr. Calvin, the principle, came over the intercom. “Good Morning…”, she tuned out the overly excited male voice and focused on Sarah.
Suddenly a plan formed in Alika’s mind and she heard herself saying, “Sarah, I can help you with your hair, make it less boring, give it some style.” Sarah looked back and quickly dismissed Alika’s comment. “No really”, Alika stated, “My mom owns West Point Salon and lets me use it after hours. I have been helping her for years and can add some color to your hair. I could highlight the tips with the school colors for the game tomorrow”. Sarah’s look changed from agitation to friendly-like, the ‘maybe she could help me here for no cost’ was plainly evident on her face. Her face lit up as she quickly agreed to a stop at the salon after hours today.
Alika had no solid plan yet – but her mind was racing with possibilities. She needed to nurture this relationship, change Sarah’s mind about things, maybe making her less transparent and so enamored over her look. But first she had to win her confidence before she could make her changes and that would require gaining her confidence. Alika remembered a Sun Tzu quote about it, ‘Forestall your opponent by seizing what he holds dear, and subtly contrive to time his arrival on the ground.’ Maybe, just maybe, she could make Sarah subordinate…
To Be Continued