Tell A Tale in 500 Words

Slow But Steady By Jessica Searle

She wanted something to change, but this really wasn’t the way she’d envisaged it happening.

When she’d relayed her findings to her parents, gone to her friends in an angry rage, told the teachers about it with passion, she had a vision in her mind of inciting a similar response in those around her. They would look at her in shock at first, then confusion, and finally with fire burning in their eyes. Then they would pledge to help her in any way they could.

Obviously, she’d been aware that this was probably something of a pipe dream – her mother was never one for displays of strong emotion, and shouting really wasn’t something her friends would go for. The reaction she’d gotten, though, was so different from what she was expecting that it left her doubting whether or not she should’ve bothered.

Her parents gave her a worried look and told her not to be so forward in her ideas, and that she probably shouldn’t mention it to anyone else. Her friends were dismissive, and one of them even went as far as to call her ‘a bit of a weirdo’. The sheer nerve! The teachers, surprisingly, were the most supportive of her – although this success admittedly did hinge on a certain teacher’s reputation for being liberal, or ‘open minded’, as she liked to think of it.

And their grand concession? The ultimate plan they came up with that would keep the school board happy but also allow her to ‘voice her discontent’?

A school assembly.

Yes, it was that underwhelming. She wanted to do something big – preferably making local news in the process – and raise awareness along the way. With any luck, she could’ve set up a campaign, waited for a celebrity to notice and get involved, and then watched as what she’d done made a difference.

She was sick and tired of not being taken seriously. Bored of it not being regarded as a ‘real’ issue because it didn’t affect the majority, or at least those in charge. She wanted action.

Ever the dutiful student, though, she went along with the only teacher-approved option she’d been given. She made the powerpoint, wrote the flashcards, chucked them away once she’d memorised the contents, and waited for the day to arrive.

She would’ve gone into the whole thing with the same dejected and slightly sullen attitude, not projecting any of her initial fervour, if it wasn’t for the newspaper she’d picked up that morning. The article itself wasn’t remarkable, just more of the same. That was what made it remarkable to her, though. Did she really want to see this as the norm, as ‘nothing to complain’ about for the rest of her life? She didn’t think so.

So she gave it all her heart, everything she had. It wasn’t going to change much, but it was the best she could do.

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