Upside Down 2

Resigning herself to whatever consequences would come from arriving late to her classroom, Annie spun sharply, brown pony-tail swishing audibly, her friend Nathalie suddenly confronted with a wall of indignation.

“I’ll do you one better.” Relieved that Nathalie did not back away. “I’ve been to Rex’s trailer, seen where his family lives. Want me to confirm your suspicions, tell you it’s awful? Well you’re in luck this time, because really, it is awful. And those rumors? Well OK, there’s two beds in the house, and his sisters share one of them.”

“That’s sick — ”

“They’re POOR!” Annie didn’t care that the low shuffle of footfalls had subsided, that dozen paired eyes were now looking at her. “They don’t like living in that trailer, but they don’t have the means to do anything about it. His father died, or run off, nobody knows for sure other than he left them with no money; his mother can’t get out of bed most days, becauase she’s got a disease that can’t be cured.” She was confident Nathalie wouldn’t recognize the term fibromyalgia.

“It’s not about money.” Purple lips smacked together. “All kinds of poor people in this town. Like my cousins. Only thing is, they don’t use being poor as an excuse for being a disgrace.”

“And some of us don’t need an excuse at all.” Annie pushed past Nathalie, late for her class.

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