Brown and blue
Sophie tugged at her brown collar. Looking nervously around the classroom, she wondered what the day would hold. Sitting quietly, subserviently, eyes down and posture closed inwards, like all the other brown collars in the back 3 rows.
Up front, her former friends joked and laughed, nudging each other, passing notes, chatting about the weekend just passed. Sophie wished it was still the weekend. Since she'd walked through that gate at 3:15 on Friday until 9am that morning she had been able to forget the misery of the last few weeks. She didn't have to wear the bloody thing at the weekend and though her former blue eyed pals still ignored her, her family had no idea what was going on so she could just pretend like she didn't happen to have any plans with Lucy that weekend. Her big sister Josie knew something was up, but she knew better than to badger her - so she had got her guitar out and started singing ‘you turn me on I'm a radio’, while Sophie sang along. They both loved Joni Mitchell.
Ms Elliot walked in, hushing the half of the class who still felt they had the right to enjoy life.
‘Right you blue eyes’ she said, scanning the front 3 rows. ‘What do you think you're doing there? You should be at the back of the room, considering yourselves lucky you're even allowed to share the same space as your brown eyed superiors! Get up and move out the way’
The blue eyed kids looked at each other in horror. They'd ruled the roost the last two weeks, and rightly so. They'd been taught that their blue eyes weren't just an indication of pigmentation, but intellect.
‘Ms Elliot?’ asked Robbie, ‘I thought we were better than them?’
‘Did I give you permission to speak? Do as you're told’
The children got up and shuffled to the side of the classroom.
‘Now you children at the back. Take off your collars and move to the front rows. No Jimmie, you can leave your collar there. There's been a terrible mistake. It turns out that you brown eyed children are smarter and these blue eyed ones are your inferiors. So swap places and let’s pretend none of this ever happened’
The brown eyed children took off the collars and shuffled forward, barely daring to believe their luck. A few nervous glances towards the blue eyes and their resentment and dislike was clear. They took their seats at the back of the class but with no sign of the cowed, obsequious defensiveness of their brown eyed classmates - they sat, angry, defiant, but silent, for the rest of the hour.
At breaktime Sophie approached Lucy.
‘Lu?’ She asked tentatively ‘I don't care if I'm cleverer than you are. Can we play hopscotch?’
Lucy turned her back and walked away. She joined her brown collared, blue eyed friends by the swing, and Sophie walked, alone, to the bench in the corner of the playground.