Karina was waiting outside the high schools classroom. She could hear voices inside the room. Murmuring as the class arrived. Karina looked to the ground as she felt eyes on her.
Once everyone was seated inside the classroom, she let out a long breath she didn't know she had been holding onto. She listened closely as the professor started addressing the students.
"Alright class. As you know, the Russia-Ukraine war is happening right now. We have a new student who is a Russian foreign exchange student. She moved here before the war started, so please treat her with kindness and respect. " His low voice rumbled.
After a moment he spoke again. "Yes Catherine?"
Another voice, much higher than his began to speak. "Why are we letting a Russian traitor into the United States? We should get her out of here! She doesn't deserve to be here!"
A moment later the low voice returned to Karina's ears. "Cathrine. That is not how we treat people. You will stay after class. You need to learn a lesson."
"Whatever." The girls voice responded with a heavy sigh.
Keeping her head down, Karina walked into the classroom. Feeling all the eyes on her, she glanced up to look at everyone. Eventually returning her eyes to the floor below her. Someone scoffed, and a few people murmured.
Karina looked up to see a girl giving her a look of sympathy. She let her head droop back down. She didn't want sympathy, she just wanted a chance. But no one seemed to give her that option. She silently sighed.
Karina felt a tear run down her face. She wiped it away and sniffled. She heard someone shuffle behind her and more whispering ensue. She didn't hear everything, but she heard some of it.
Karina gave her a small smile and nodded. She took the drawing in her hands and opened up a binder, all full of drawings signed by her. She flipped to the back of the binder, unclipped it, put the drawing in, clipped it back up, and closed the binder.
"Why are you being so nice to me?" She whispered to Lumi.