Monday, February 16, 2015

Pabla Stands Up for a Friend

Pabla Sanchez and Paco Navarro knew each other since they were babies. They lived next door to each other, and they were in the same class every year. They were friends, but as they got older Paco started to develop a crush on Pabla. "Some day, you're going to be my girlfriend." he told her.

Pabla smiled and said. "Maybe." She didn't really think so though. She thought of Paco more like a brother.

Paco was sure he was right though. After all, they lived in a small town and everybody knew each other.  A lot of couples got together when they were young and eventually ended up dating and marrying. Not all of them had necessarily been together since they were babies like Pabla and Paco though.

One day a new boy moved to town.  His name was Jan Smedberg. He was Pabla and Paco's age, and he was put in their class. The new boy stood out not just because he was new and that was unusual enough, but because he was different. He was  a blond haired, blue eyed, fair skinned boy from a Swedish background in a town full of dark haired, dark eyed children mostly from a Mexican background.

Kids in the town were not used to strangers. They were wary of Jan. They were not very friendly to him. They didn't talk to him. They weren't really outwardly mean to him, at least not at first, but they didn't talk to him. They all  just whispered behind his back except for Pabla.

Pabla went up to Jan on his first day in school. "Hi." she greeted him warmly. "I'm Pabla Sanchez. Welcome to Mr. Hatten's class." She extended took her hand to him.

Jan took her hand and shook it. "I'm Jan Smedberg." he replied. "Happy to be here and glad to meet you." he replied with a smile.

After that, Jan and Pabla were good friends. She was the only one in class who spoke to him. She was the only one in class who paid attention to him at all at least in a good way.

Paco secretly watched Jan all the time. He didn't like how friendly he and Pabla were becoming. He was green with jealousy.

It wasn't hard for Paco to get the other kids in the class to turn the silent treatment they were all giving Jan into outward meanness. Paco was tough, and he was a leader in the class. Other kids followed his lead partly because they respected him and partly because they knew he could beat them up. He was one of the smartest boys in the class but also the strongest.

Instead of just talking about him behind his back, the other kids started doing things like purposely bumping into him. They would knock all the books out of his hands and then say "Oh sorry." in a voice that made it clear that they weren't really sorry at all. They would take his things and hide them and laughed when he looked all over for them. Then, suddenly whatever he had been looking for would turn up on the floor or across the room.  The teacher, Mr. Hatten never saw the kids being so mean to Jan. They were smart enough to do them when he wasn't in the room or he wasn't looking.

Paco was hoping the way they treated Jan would get to him. He was hoping Jan would breakdown and cry like a little baby.  Jan didn't, however. He was calm on the outside and sad on the inside, and he wasn't afraid.. He hoped that someday things would get better. and the other kids would accept him.

Through it all, Pabla remained Jan's friend and that's what helped him through. He knew as long as he had her friendship he could withstand just about anything.

Pabla and Jan's friendship enraged Paco. He complained to the other kids about it all the time. "What does she see in that blonde boy?!" he griped angrily to anyone who would listen.  He didn't only complain behind Pabla's back either. "Why are you hanging around with that Swedish boy?" he asked her directly in a not so friendly tone. "Don't you want to be with your own kind?"

Pabla's eyes flashed angrily at Paco. "What do you mean my own kind?" she replied in a huff. "We are all human beings aren't we? Jan is my friend." The more Paco tried to push her away from Jan. The more it cemented Jan and Pabla's friendship which, of course, only made Paco angrier.

"We have to do something about that Jan." Paco said to the to the other boys in the class at recess one day.  He decided to challenge Jan to fight. He walked up to Jan and tapped him on the shoulder. Jan turned around and was surprised to see Paco there, but he was okay with it. He was not afraid of Jan like the other kids. "Hello." he said in a friendly tone.

"You and I are going to have fight." demanded Paco in a much less friendly tone.

Jan shook his head. "Oh, I don't think so." he said. He still wasn't afraid. He just didn't want to fight. He knew it would not solve anything.

Paco tried to grab Jan. Jan pulled back out of his grasp. Paco fell back into the swingset. His head started bleeding. Someone ran to get Mr. Hatten. Mr. Hatten immediately sent someone to get the nurse. "What happened here?" inquired Mr. Hatten angrily while they waited for the nurse to arrive.

"Jan did it." replied Paco.

"Jan did it." echoed the other kids.

"Jan," Mr. Hatten warned him in a serious tone. "This is a very serious matter. You need to go the principal's office.You are definitely going to be suspended, and you may even be expelled ."

"Wait a minute, Mr. Hatten." pleaded Pabla getting in between him and Jan. "Jan didn't do it." She told Mr. Hatten what had really happened.  At first, Mr. Hatten didn't know who to believe Pabla or the other kids. However, he knew that Pabla never lied, and even though he didn't know how bad it was he knew that other kids didn't seem to get along with Jan. He knew that Paco was jealous of Jan and Pabla. He had seen the angry looks Paco gave them when they were together. He chose to believe Pabla.

The next day, however, Jan was transferred to a different class. "Why did Jan get transferred if he wasn't the one doing the bullying?" Pabla demanded angrily.

"I know that." Mr. Hatten replied calmly, "but there aren't enough classes in this school to transfer everyone else out, and we couldn't very well have a class with only two kids." he explained.

Pabla understood, but she wasn't happy about it. She wished they could have a class with only her and Jan.

Later that day, Jan found Pabla on the playground. "Hi." he greeted her warmly.

"Hi." she replied much less cheerfully. "I'm sorry about what happened."

"Don't be." insisted Jan. "Nobody has every stood up for me like that before. I really appreciate it. Besides, I really like my new class. "

Pabla smiled a little. "You do?" she stated with relief. "I'm glad."

"Yes, I do," replied Jan, "and you and I," he continued "we're still friends."

"We are?" she asked hopefully.

"We are."

"I'm glad." Pabla smiled.

"I'm glad too." Jan smiled back.

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