“I thought I was the normal one?” Abby raised her hand next to the side of her face. She looked at her group of friends with furrowed brows, completely puzzled by what was going on.
Her high school was all about giving labels to people. Abby and her friends tried their best to stay away from that kind of behavior, but they gave each other labels anyway.
One night, they were having a sleep over with one another and Cassie had the bright idea to give each other labels. It was a joke, of course. It was all in good fun. The girls laughed at each other all night long. But it wasn’t before long when it started to get serious as the labels followed them to school.
“You used to be the normal one of the group, Abby. But then Jaime joined us. And she’s much mellower than you are.” Cassie explained.
Abby looked over at Jaime who just smiled sheepishly at her. Abby sighed and turned her attention back to Cassie. “Then… What am I?”
Cassie, Jamie, and a couple of the other girls all looked at each other. Abby shifted her weight uncomfortably feeling the nerves radiating from all of her friends.
“We haven’t decided on that one yet.” Jamie said slowly. Though when she spoke, she stared directly at Cassie.
Cassie nodded to Jamie and then looked at Abby with a smile. “Yeah, we haven’t found something that suits you yet.”
Abby shifted her gaze between Jamie and Cassie. She had the feeling that they had thought of a label for her, but they didn’t want to share it with her. Abby knew exactly what that meant. Whatever they decided to deem her wasn’t something nice.
Abby bowed her head and looked at her hands in her lap. She figured it was just best to stay quiet at this point.
“So…” Farrah broke the silence awkwardly, “what are we going to do now?”
Abby looked back up. Farrah was asking Cassie since it was her house. Oh, and Cassie was deemed the leader of the group.
Cassie was the oldest, even though she only beat Georgia by a week. Age aside, Cassie always knew what to do whenever a problem arose. She was always sticking up for everyone in the group in case something bad had happened. Cassie was also a wonderful friend in any time of need.
One time, Georgia’s parents completely forgot it was her birthday. Cassie rallied the group up and together they through Georgia a surprise birthday party in Cassie’s basement. Georgia was so happy that she cried.
It was after that when Cassie was deemed the leader of the group. She always knew what to do next and how to take care of everyone.
Farrah was the quiet one. She was the youngest out of everyone in the group and she was also the newest to join. Well, aside from Jamie now.
No matter what the group did together, Farrah sometimes joined in and sometimes she didn’t. She wasn’t very outgoing at all and didn’t agree with a lot of the stuff everyone was keen on doing. For example, they were all over Cassie’s house one time having a sleep over. At two o’clock in the morning, Cassie got changed out of her pajamas and told the girls they were all going for a walk. Everyone thought she was joking, but she was completely serious.
Everyone always listened to Cassie no matter what she said. So, everyone got dressed and snuck out of the house. They all went for a walk around the block very late at night. Well, everyone except for Farrah. She had a feeling that Cassie’s parents were going to wake up and they would all get into trouble. She claimed that she would stay behind and cover for them in case that happened.
Cassie had called her a loser as they all walked out the front door, but it didn’t seem to bother Farrah in the least. In fact, she was sound asleep when they all got back to the house.
“Oh, I have an idea!” Georgia spoke up beaming. “We should all take ride down to the center and watch for boys.”
“Um, how are we going to get there?” Jaime asked.
“Drive, of course.”
“Georgia, none of us have our license.” Cassie scoffed.
“We have our permits. Besides, how hard can it really be? Practice would be good for us. I can do the driving if you guys are nervous.” Georgia said, confidence spouting out of her mouth.
Abby watched the scene unfold nervously. She didn’t want to get in a car with Georgia behind the wheel. She didn’t want to get into a car with any of her friends behind the wheel unless they were legally able to drive.
Georgia had been deemed the daredevil of the group, or the trouble maker. When Cassie had wanted to go for a walk in the middle of the night, Georgia was the first one to jump up and get dressed.
Georgia was always looking to get herself into trouble. She always had detention in school for one thing or anything. She would talk back to teachers, she was late for class all the time or she just wouldn’t show up at all, and it was very rare that she actually did her homework. All the teachers in school knew her name and knew well enough to watch out for her. Even the teachers for the junior and senior classes were worried for the day they had to deal with her.
Georgia just didn’t care about anything. She was confident, which wasn’t a bad thing, but it depended on what she was confident about.
One time, the group went out to a fancy restaurant for dinner. Abby and some of her other friends were amazed that they were going to such a place, but none of them thought anything of it. There was no special occasion, they just went because they had never been and have always to.
When the check came, Georgia picked it up. Some of the girls argued taking out their wallets, but Georgia insisted on paying for everyone. It was her idea to go to that restaurant, after all.
She had left a ten-dollar bill on the table for a tip. Abby had tried to argue that with five people eating out at an expensive restaurant, there should be a bigger tip. If Georgia was taking care of the bill, maybe the rest of them could take care of the tip.
But Georgia had told Abby to bite her tongue and snapped at the girls to gather their belongings. They obeyed and walked out of the restaurant.
“Georgia, did you ever bring the check to the register?” Farrah asked meekly.
“Shut up and keep walking.” Georgia said through gritted teeth.
Abby, Farrah, and Jamie were mortified that they had just walked away from an expensive meal. Georgia was beyond proud of herself and Cassie laughed all the way home.
Abby had no idea why she was bumped from being the normal one of the group. As far as she was concerned, she and Jaime were pretty alike. Why couldn’t there have been two normal ones in the group? After all, with the things Georgia and Cassie tried to do, the girls could use as many level-headed people as they could get.
It wasn’t until later that night, after Abby had gotten home from Cassie’s house, that she told her mother all about it.
“Labels? I think that’s a bit extreme, don’t you?” her mother said with a chip of confusion in her tone.
“It was supposed to be in all good fun. All the kids at school do it. We decided to create our labels, but just in our group. No one else knows about them.” Abby explained.
“Here’s the thing about labels, Abby,” her mother held up a finger and looked her daughter in the eye. “Someone is always going to get their feelings hurt. It doesn’t matter if you create a label with your best friend jokingly and you two are the only ones who know about it, or if the entire school knows about it. It doesn’t matter if you created a label for yourself or if someone else chose it for you. Either way, someone is going to get upset and the whole thing is just stupid.”
Abby opened her mouth to retaliate, but her mother continued to speak.
“We’re all human beings with different personalities, Abby. We should be embracing that, not making fun of it with dumb labels.”
Abby sighed. Her mother was right, despite that she never tried to sugar coat anything. If she was to put a label on that she would call her mother blunt or strict. Yet, Abby knew that her mother was just being honest and trying to help. Honest sounded much better than blunt.
“Thanks, Mom.” Abby gave her mother a quick hug and then went upstairs to her bedroom.
It wasn’t until the following day at school that she overheard some kids talking. Apparently, the labels she and her friends had created for themselves were no longer a secret between them. People were saying that Cassie was now calling Abby the black sheep of the group.
Abby made it to the homeroom in silence without bothering to meet her friends in the morning like she usually did. If they wanted her to be a black sheep in the group, then she would.
It was time for her to find some new friends.