Every single time she ate cheese, she suffered from stomach ache and the most awful and embarrassing case of gas that anyone could suffer. As many people with the same problem, Lila had learn to ask every time she ate in a restaurant if the meal she was about to ask for had any traces of cheese. Some people did the same with peanuts and others with other types of food, but her problem was with cheese. However, she did have to see cheese ever single day at home as everyone else was able to process it normally, so they ate it.
She really didn’t like to be a nuisance, a problem of some kind. She knew it was very annoying for other people when she had to ask for traces of cheese. And when people didn’t want to understand what the problem was, it was extremely embarrassing to tell them what would happen if she ate just a small piece of cheese. She would go very red and her voice would tremble and every person would feel awkward because it seemed she was over sharing when she was just explaining how awful it was for her to eat something that could even kill her.
Lila had discovered her condition in high school. It was one of the worst memories for her to remember. When she was a very little girl, she actually loved cheese and her mother would always put some string cheese on her lunchbox because she knew how much she adored it. Lila would eat it very slowly; enjoying every single piece as if it was some kind of delicacy that only a few people had access to. Her friends always thought it was something very weird but they never said anything about it, at least not back then.
Years later, when she became a teenager, she still had much love for cheese. But it was one day in high school when they were presented with pasta for lunch and she decided to practically cover her plate with Parmesan cheese. Her friends laugh and she did it partially to be funny. When a teacher noticed what she was doing, he told her she had to eat that whole plate of food if she didn’t want to be taken to the principal’s office for wasting food and playing with it instead of eating like all the rest of the students.
Lila accepted the challenge and ate the whole plate. The teacher watched her do it as well as her friends that applauded her once she was done. It was one of those really cool moments in school when teacher get served when they’re being impossible and just ridiculous. However, only five minutes after finishing or so, Lila began to feel really bad. She felt as if someone with a knife was cutting her stomach from the inside. It was awful. She tried to resist the pain for a while but she finally asked her teacher for permission to go to the nurse’s office.
And just as she did so, she farted. It was loud and clear and charged with a foul smell that filled the rather small classroom. Every single person there complained and laughed and booed her. She had to run away, having the door behind her open. Her body had betrayed her in the most awful way possible and, to be honest, she didn’t even think about the nurse when she ran out of the room. She regretted leaving her backpack. What she really wanted to do was to go home and never come back to any of her classes for the rest of the year.
However, that was not possible. She wandered around school until a teacher saw her. Then, she almost ran to the nurse’s office and told her what had happened. Nurse Holly obviously wanted to laugh but tried not to and instead told Lila to lay down in order to be properly examined. As it was obvious, her stomach was bloated. That and the foul gad indicated she had something to eat that wasn’t very well received by her stomach. The nurse asked her to remember what she had eaten so they could know what it was that caused it.
Of course, the huge bowl of pasta came to her head fast. Nurse Holly said it could be either the cheese or the pasta because many people in the world weren’t able to eat either of them. So she gave the girl a pill for her ill stomach and told her to remain there for a while until it worked. Then, she could choose going back to class or going home. It was only an hour and a half to go to the end of the school day so there wasn’t much difference, she said. She clearly didn’t know how embarrassed Lila was about had just happened.
Her mother came to pick her up and she wasn’t very happy about it as classes would finish in only an hour. She told her daughter she could’ve resisted a little bit more and just come on the school bus as every single day. She was obviously not very happy about having to pick her daughter in school because it disrupted her schedule. She was a realtor, selling properties in the area to people that wanted to live in one of the most well taken care of area of the city. She made a very nice living, so her daughter interrupting wasn’t the best thing to happen.
When Lila arrived home, she quickly ran to her room and closed the door. Her mother didn’t understand how embarrassed and humiliated she felt after what happened. She had tried to explain but her mother was too busy with her things to actually hear her daughter speak for a couple of minutes. So Lila would rather just be alone in her room and suffer her stomachache there without anyone that would make her feel annoyed or underappreciated. After all she was teenager in her most difficult years.
She didn’t really want to go to school the next day but her parents said that food poisoning was not an excuse to miss more than one day of school. And they were so strict that missing an hour was for them the same thing that missing a full day. So Lila had to hop in the school bus in the morning and from that point on she felt every single look on her. She could even hear the laughs and jokes but she tried hard not to care or, at least, not to be aware of everyone for the rest of the day. She just wanted every class to be fast so the day could finish soon.
However, that rarely happens in high school. Her first subject was History and, for her, there wasn’t a more boring assignment. She normally wandered off in that class, drawing doodles on her notebook or passing little notes to her friends, normally talking about some boy or mocking the teacher. But this time, she wasn’t included in that activity. She noticed when one of the girls turned around, looked at her as if she was garbage and then passed the note to another girl sitting beside her. That felt even more humiliating that the fart.
Her social life went in decline since that awful day. So much so than the following week, Lila didn’t have someone to sit with her at lunch. And then, the jokes got meaner and they weren’t whispered anymore but yelled in the hallways and everywhere a large crowd was inspired to laugh at her and imitate the sound of farts with hands and arms and mouths. It was very humiliating. Lila tried to talk with the principal but he dismissed her saying that she was imagining things, as people didn’t get bullied in his school. And then it became clear to her: she wasn’t the only one.
Many others were bullied in school. Of course, not for the same things as her, but it did happen and more often than the school would admit. They teased a boy for being gay and a girl for not dressing “fashionable” enough. And of course, they teased people for being fat and others for being poor. So Lila decided to punch back and tried to talk with every single one of those who had been insulted, pushed around and called names. She wanted them all to be with her in order to do something that, she thought, would make things change.
Her mother had sold a house to a very renowned news anchor and she had become friends with him. Lila convinced her mother to let her talk to him and her mother, seeing how insisting she was, accepted. The man thought it was a very important local subject and assigned someone to it. A week after, everyone in the city knew about how bullying was going rampant in schools for the stupidest reasons and how no one was doing anything to help. The report had serious consequences and all because of a plate full of cheese.