It was Monday, and Wanda Petronski was absent from school. No one noticed her absence, not even Peggy and Madeline since they made fun of her. Wanda was a backbencher in the class. Where Wanda sat, it was a place with most dirt, mud, laughter, and hullabaloo. Wanda was devoid of all these traits but still sat there.
Nobody knew why Wanda sat there. It could be because she came from Boggins Heights with mud-caked feet. Wanda was noticed by her classmates, the only time when they were out of their class in the schoolyard. They noticed her only to have fun with her, to tease and bully her. Wanda was absent the next day, and as usual, nobody noticed her absence again.
On Wednesday, Peggy (who was the most popular girl in the school) and Maddie noticed that Wanda was absent. They noticed her absence because they have waited for Wanda earlier in the schoolyard, but she did not come.
Wanda’s name was considered funny by all the students. Even funnier than Willie Bounce ( a boy in that same class).
Wanda had no friends in the school. She always wore a loose, faded blue dress that looked a bit messy. While nudging her friend, Peggy would ask Wanda most politely, “How many dresses did you say you had hanging up in your closet?”.
Wanda would reply, “A hundred.” All the girls around her felt surprised and amazed sarcastically. They would all appear courteous at that time, but as Wanda would go a little far, they would burst into laughter.
All these girls thought that the only dress Wanda had was that loose fit faded blue dress. Wanda also told them that she had sixty pairs of shoes, all line up in her closet.
Peggy was a kind-hearted girl from inside. However, her ill-treatment of Wanda Petronski was because she thought Wanda lied to her every day. About a hundred dresses and sixty pairs of shoes in her closet.
As for Maddie, she too belonged to a low-income family like Wanda. She was often bothered by her ill-treatment of Wanda. She would sometimes imagine herself being bullied by Peggy in the same way. She thanked God as her name was not like Wanda’s, and she did not come from Boggins Heights either.
When Peggy asked Wanda those polite yet humiliating questions, Maddie was bothered and wanted Peggy to end the game. What if Peggy started to ask Maddie the same questions?
According to Maddie, she was not that dumb to say that she had a hundred dresses in her closet, but this thought still haunted her. Deep down inside, she wanted Peggy to stop asking those kinds of questions to Wanda.
Despite being late to school, Maddie was solving some mathematical problems; suddenly, a thought crossed her mind. She wanted to write a note to Peggy to stop teasing Wanda but could not gather the courage to tell Peggy on her face.
However, what if Peggy retaliated and she became the new target for Peggy and her friends? How would she answer the questions that Peggy would ask her as she had worn Peggy’s dress disguised as a new one by her mother? Finally, she decided in her mind that It depended on Peggy’s own decision to stop teasing Wanda.
Maddie was now thinking about the upcoming drawing and coloring contest. In that contest, girls had to design dresses, and boys had to design motorboats. Maddie was sure of Peggy’s win as she could draw better than anybody in the class.
The next day, it was raining. Maddie and Peggy went to school in a hurry without waiting for Wanda. Maddie encouraged Peggy about her win, and Peggy was confident. As soon as they entered the class, there were drawings of dresses everywhere. Everyone admired the designs.
Miss Mason entered the class. She announced that Jack Beggles had won from boys and talking of girls, as most of them had submitted one or two designs. Wanda Petronski was declared the winner as she had submitted one hundred drawings, all different and beautiful.
All the students applauded the dresses. Maddie and Peggy were astonished to see the dresses that Wanda told them about earlier in the story. Wanda was absent that day too.