“Are you coming to Kenny’s birthday party?” Carl asked me in the hallway.
I looked at Kerry next to me in surprise. She saw it in my eyes and from the look in her eyes I knew she was confused. But in three seconds we had a whole conversation. And my conclusion to our non-verbal exchange was one line: “I’m gonna kill Teresa.”
“What?” Carl said. “Nobody said anything about Teresa. I just asked you about the birthday party.”
“Exactly,” I said. “And I’m gonna kill Teresa.”
I turned and Kerry and I made our way down the hall.
“Wait!” Carl caught up and stood in front of us. “I don’t get it. I ask you if someone invited you to a stupid birthday party and you wanna kill your best friend?”
“Ex-best friend,” I corrected him. And I pushed past him.
“But why?” he pulled me back. “Just explain this to me.”
I stopped and sighed as I started to explain what was so obvious to me now. “Teresa has been jealous of me because my boobs are bigger than hers.”
“Yeah,” Carl laughed, looking at my chest.
“Eyes up here,” I reminded him. “So she’s using this to get at me.”
Carl shook his head. “You’re being petty, Jamar. Teresa’s not like that. She’s a nice person. She helped Kenny plan the party and she even volunteered to send out all the invitations. Maybe your invite just got lost or something.”
“Really?” me and Kerry said at the same time.
I turned to Kerry. “Should I break it down for him?”
“Break it down for him, girl,” she egged me on.
I cleared my throat. “Teresa is jealous of me so she’s been acting real funny for the past few months—not answering my texts, giving me side hugs, not sitting next to me in class, and she even had the nerve to not tag me in group photos.”
Kerry dropped a fake gasp. “Girl?!”
“And we both know that she doesn’t like Kenny,” I went on. “Cuz she’s always told us that long before my boobs got bigger than hers.”
“She doesn’t like the way he smells,” Kerry added.
“Right. But three weeks ago, we all found out Kenny’s birthday was coming up. But do we care?”
“No,” Kerry answered.
“Cuz we don’t mess with Kenny like that. But who’s the only one who’s sister is best friends with Kenny?”
“My girl right here,” Kerry pointed at me.
“And guess who all of a sudden starts getting all buddy-buddy with Kenny and helping him with his homework, going to his games, and sending out invitations?”
“Teresa,” Kerry said.
“And everybody she knows and everybody Kenny knows gets invited and guess who just so happens to not get invited?”
Kerry threw her hands up and pointed at me. “Ya girl!”
Carl stared at me as I broke all this down to him and I could see his eyes going wide in amazement. “She did all that?”
I nodded. “Uh-huh. I’m not the one being petty, Carl. She’s doing this to get at me.”
Carl blinked several times in silence. He didn’t know what to do or say with this knowledge I’d just dropped on him. It was like he’d just found out the Earth wasn’t flat. And I couldn’t blame him. When I was a guy, I never understood these mind games that girls played with each other and I thought they were just overthinking everything and being super paranoid. But after three years of seeing these games first hand and seeing how my thoughts had changed, I could see this whole new world of manipulation that I’d never even known existed. It was like a giant mental chess game and I could see Teresa trying to checkmate me. But it wasn’t happening. Not today.
“How did you even figure that out?” Carl finally asked me, still dumbfounded.
Me and Kerry flicked our hair to the side. “Cuz we nice like that.”
Then we turned and strutted down the hall.