This essay was written as a compliment to the novel, "Ordinary People."

Essay by stephalicious8High School, 10th gradeA+, January 2003

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The lunchroom that they met in was cold, much too cold for December at least, and Beth pulls her cashmere coat tightly around her small frame. It was a gift from Cal, two years ago. A Christmas present, she remembered. God, won't someone turn on the heat in here? Wait, no Beth, don't ask, it makes you look needy. No, she'd rather be cold than complain to these people. They'd beckon to her wish, of course, because no one wants to upset Beth. They think I'm unstable. She hated that part the most. She didn't cry, because that makes her vulnerable, weak. She shuddered. She may have thought it was because she was cold, but in the back of her mind she know that she only shuddered at the word weak.

Carole Lazenby, PTA mommy-of-the-year, called the attention all the parents, who were in little cells, some chatting about knitting or the weather, some eating Nancy Hanley's delicious hors-d'ourves.

They were just cheese puffs, Beth thought, the classic white trash, PTA, middle of America food. I'm too good for cheese puffs. Everyone took a seat; Beth grabbed a chair, and sat in the middle of the semi-circle of concerned parents. Concerned parents are only concerned with looking concerned to other not-concerned parents, she thought, and almost giggled at its absurdity.

At first, everyone talked about their children, and their extra-curriculars, harsh teachers, grades, etcetera. Carole went first, talking about how her little boy is starting to place first in swim practice, how his Social Studies teacher is extra difficult this year, failing him on an exam! And that he's hardly keeping his A- grade afloat. Boo-hoo-hoo. Some mother of a new girl in town talked next. She was petite, and she spoke too fast. She was nervous. Beth,