"Have you seen the two new kids?"
"Yeah man, their names are Keisha and I think her brother's name is Joseph"
"I can't believe Principal Stiller let those nigg-"
"Man what you think you doing? Don't play like that, you don't even know them"
"I know they're black. That's just what this school needs, them." And with that, Luke turned and walked away leaving Isaac to watch the back of hi head down the rest of the hallway; just as the bell rang.
Luke walked into his eighth period English class to find (to his dismay) keisha sitting in the chair next to his. She shyly stood up and politely put out her hand to introduce herself, but he merely looked at it and went up to the teacher.
"Miss Lee I cannot sit there today."
"Well why not?"
"Do you see what I see?"
"If what you see is a new shy seventeen year old girl that is in need of a friendly face, then yes, I see exactly what you see. Now if you would Mr. Riley, have a seat and if she bites you I will give you your rabies shot personally."
He muttered something-most likely insulting-under his breath, and proceeded to sit, adjusting his chair as far away from her as possible.
After Isaac had walked in late to chemistry, had sat down, taken out his homework and journal for notes a figure appeared at the door. Joseph stepped in and showed Mr. Lennon his schedule and happily sat next to Isaac. Isaac merely smiled and stuck out his hand.
"Hi! I'm Isaac."
"Yeah, that's what Mr. Lennon said. I'm Joseph Miller."
He shook Isaac's hand, firmly and confidently.
At lunch the next day Isaac had invited Joseph to sit with him and his friends, but when they got there, what they found was a very furious Luke. His deep blue eyes now had a green and red tint to them. They looked so fiery they could melt glass.
"What the hell do you think you're doing Isaac bringing that to our lunch table?"
"Well, I thought I'd be nice to a new person at school, and besides no else here at this table has a problem with Joseph sitting with us."
"That's not person! That's an anima-
"HEY! Now listen here man. You're my friend, but just because you don't like my other friends for silly reasons doesn't mean you can throw around insults like no one's listening! Now, if you don't like Joseph sitting here, I think you should leave and sit somewhere else!"
Luke had nothing to say. He just stood there stunned. Isaac had never spoken that directly or aggressively to anyone about anything like that since Luke could remember, but maybe that was the problem. Luke had forgotten. He had forgotten too many things.
When eighth period rolled around Luke grudgingly drug his body in and once again adjusted his seat to his preferences, took out his planner and a pen and begun to write down his assignment without so much as one glance in Keisha's direction.
For Next Monday:What does R.E.S.P.E.C.T. mean to you?
Research with table partner to your right/left
This Does NOT mean you won't have additional assignments!
Luke wrote it down and then stared from his planner to Keisha and back again.
"There's no way I can work with…with…you" he stuttered.
"Oh and why not?"
"Black? Well at least I'm not working with a helpless blind boy here. Turns out I'm dealing with a regular Sherlock Holmes! Who knew?"
He hurriedly stood from the table and went up front to the teacher.
"Miss Lee, I have a slight problem."
"Oh? What would that be exactly?" she said raising her eyebrow in a knowingly skeptical manner.
"There is no way I can work with her. She's just not normal."
"Why isn't she normal? Did she really bite you? Because just to let you know I'm not very good with needles."
"No, she just isn't right. She shouldn't be here. She's just too different from the rest of us."
"Go back to your seat Mr. Riley. If you don't do the project you get a zero, and I happen to know you cannot afford such things this time around."
He solemnly strutted back to his seat and sat there just staring at his planner in front of him.
"So what exactly is respect to you anyhow?" She asked innocently.
"Listen, and listen well. I talk and you write. From now on my opinions are your opinions. You know nothing and mean nothing in this project, class, school, or world. So if you want the grade, do what I tell you."
She stood up slowly and leaned over as though she was about to talk to a small child, stopping inches from his face and stared straight into his eyes and said;
"I shall do this because I want to, not because you say to. For although you think I do not understand my place in this school let alone in this world it is clear you need more help to be shown such ideas more than I do."
As soon as she said that the bell rand and before he could run off she had written: Saturday 1pm, Library in his planner.
This day being Thursday, Keisha and her brother went out to eat after school. They talked and laughed about the new teachers and the first couple of days they've had. When the conversation turned to the students they met, the conversation was all of a sudden serious and tension hung in the air as they spoke. Joseph talked highly about Isaac and described his day in chemistry. They had burned a potato chip to get the amount of Calories that were actually in the chip in relation to the Nutrition Label on the bag. She was very happy he had found a friend.
"Did you meet anyone new?" he asked.
She realized it was now her turn. She told him about Luke and his clearly displayed problem with black people, and what he said about the project they were assigned.
"I intend to change him."
"There's no way you can change someone Keisha. It's not possible and not supposed to be possible."
"I will change him and there's nothing you can say otherwise to change my mind."
"When exactly are you expecting to change him?"
"Saturday at the library."