“A Mile in Charlotte’s Shoes” by Cherie White (Excerpt from Upcoming Book)

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Charlotte thought back to when she was ten years old. Her best friend at the time was Vera. She and Vera were walking down the street together one afternoon, after getting off at the bus stop. Vera was her only friend.

“I don’t understand it.” Charlotte told her, “All people do is run over me and I don’t hurt anybody. At least I try not to hurt anybody.”

“Then fight, Charlotte! You’ve just got to fight!”

“But I don’t know how to fight!” Charlotte replied.

“You will sooner or later.” Vera said, her statement seeming more like a prophecy, “Anytime you have people constantly bullying you, especially like they do you and me, you learn to fight real fast! It’s like my grandma said, ‘You either fight and stand your ground, or they kill your spirit. You decide.’”

This was before Vera’s drunken father killed her and her mother. Vera had been the only true friend Charlotte knew. Now sixteen years old, Charlotte continued thinking of her deceased friend as she had off and on since Vera’s death. Vera Thompson truly was the best friend Charlotte had ever had.

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Sure, Charlotte had Maddie as a friend now. But was Maddie a real friend?

Maddie was a frequent sellout and often didn’t treat Charlotte like much of a friend at all. Maddie’s two-faced self could never measure up to Vera. Charlotte knew that Maddie was only with her because no one else wanted her around. And Charlotte didn’t want the type of friend who only befriended her as a last resort. She didn’t want friendship from anyone who only saw her as the only option available. That was pathetic!

But what else could she do?

Charlotte knew that being alone at Beulah High School was to attract predators, not that she didn’t attract enough of them already. But didn’t wolves always target the prey who was separated from the rest of the herd?

At least if she had someone- anyone with her, the bullying had less of a chance of becoming a royal feeding freezy.

 

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