The first part of this story may be found at: Sabrina and the Dragons, Part One
Sabrina sat in the back of the classroom hoping that the French teacher wouldn’t call on her. She kept her head down, staring at the book through her big thick glasses as she ran her hands through her short brown hair.
Please let the bell ring before she gets to me!
But this wasn’t her lucky day. Mademoiselle Bridgette called on her to read and translate the next question and answer pair. Sabrina heard the giggles and snickers as she read aloud. Her face turned bright red, and then, in her confusion, she couldn’t remember the meanings of most of the words.
Mademoiselle Bridgette said in a voice heavily laden with sarcasm, “Do you ever study? Do you ever do your homework?”
Sabrina just held her head down in shame and said nothing. She wouldn’t listen if I told her that I spend more hours on French homework than the rest of the class combined. What’s the use of trying to explain that I just can’t memorize? How does she think anyone can learn a language by just memorizing questions and answers when she never tells us what any of the words mean?
Mademoiselle Bridgette seemed upset that Sabrina no longer tried to explain, so she turned to Mary and said, “Will you please help Sabrina? Read and translate the question and answer for her and maybe she’ll be able to get it tomorrow, although I doubt it.”
The bell finally rang and the school day was over. Sabrina waited in the building until all the other students had gotten on the busses. I’ll walk home, she thought. That way it will be longer before I have to show father my report card.
Sabrina arrived home feeling somewhat better until she remembered about her report card. She never got A’s like Brittney. She struggled for B’s in everything except French, which she was failing miserably. Her school gave effort grades as well as achievement grades and her effort grades were always straight A’s. But not in French where Mademoiselle Bridgette had given her an “F” for effort also. Her father would be upset, but nothing was going to help that, so she’d better just get it over with.
Sabrina walked into her father’s office and handed him her report card. She turned and started to walk away when he called her back.
“Let’s see here. ‘B+’ in algebra, ‘B’ in social studies, ‘B+ in science, ‘B-‘ in English, ‘C’ in gym, but that’s to be expected.” He paused before continuing. ‘What is this “F” in French?”, he snapped. “I get the “F” in achievement, because I don’t think you could ever learn French, but how did you get an “F” in effort?”
“I don’t know,” mumbled Sabrina, staring at the floor. “I do try hard to do my best.”
“Well your best isn’t good enough is it!” he shouted. “Why can’t you be like your sister. She is so bright, all A’s, and pretty as well and she is two years younger than you. Heaven knows what your mother would have made of you if she’d lived. That blasted fire!” He stopped for a moment before going on in a calmer voice.
“I’ll have to talk to the principal. You sure don’t have many brains, but you do work hard. The school has to recognize that—it is your only strength. Too bad it won’t ever get you anywhere in the real world,” he growled and then went back to reading the afternoon paper, as Sabrina slipped quietly out of the room.
She headed upstairs to her bedroom and flopped onto her bed. She was sick of everything and she knew her father was right. She’d never succeed at anything. She wasn’t like her younger sister, who thankfully was still at basketball practice.
Okay, she thought, if I’m not good at anything then why stick around? I just get bullied and teased. Why bother? I’ve had it. I know I should look after Brittney and protect her from father’s belt, but Brittney doesn’t seem to care and certainly doesn’t want my protection. No one would notice if I just fell off the planet. They’ll be better off without me.
With that thought, she grabbed her backpack and dumped all her books out onto her desk. Then she changed into her favorite jeans and a ratty sweatshirt she’d had for ages. She put on her sneakers and stuffed a jacket into the backpack, along with her favorite stuffed bear. She went quietly downstairs and snuck into the kitchen where she grabbed as many snacks and protein bars as she could, filling the rest of her backpack with them and a water bottle. She grabbed a flashlight and headed out the back door, letting the door close as quietly as possible.