Friday, August 21, 2009

My Book. Enough Said #3

It's the third installment of my work in progress. Thanks for reading!


I slid down the wall, hugging my notebook to my thin frame and feeling the hard books in my backpack dig into my back. I slump down beneath the front office window of my new school. “Who knew that Nathaniel Green High School was the gateway to hell.” I thought to myself. Certainly not my parents who had decided that public school would be a good change for me. “I have my doubts, but never thought it would be this bad.” I thought with a slightly defeated sigh.

Earlier that morning my mother had sent me out the door saying cheerily, “Have a great day honey! You’ll be just fine. You know Peter and Sarah. I am sure Peter will show you around. You’ll be in the same homeroom together.” “Ok, sure.” I thought. I know Peter. He’s been my next-door neighbor, for as long as I can remember. That did not mean he was going to be all buddy-buddy with me at school though. They were too different. She knew that already. Sarah, her best friend since kindergarten, was still on vacation with her family and would not even be at school this first week. “Lucky girl”, I thought as I slowly made my way to the bus stop.

Getting on the bus that morning was another foreign thing for me. After having gone to private school my entire life the whole bus situation was a bit out of an out of body experience for me. I felt as if I was floating above my body the entire ride. Plus, busses really smell, I thought as I plunked myself down on the slippery, green vinyl seat while simultaneously trying not to breathe in the exhaust and gas fumes, old rubber and the various smells from other people’s lunches. To add insult to injury the bus driver thought I looked too young to be in high school and forced me to sit on the side of the bus that held the middle school kids. The bus driver glared at me from behind her large, square purple-tinted sunglasses and barked my seat assignment at me. “B-8!” She growled. “Assigned seats on a high school bus? Who does that?” I thought. The driver explained gruffly that until I had my school ID card she deemed me just another middle school punk.

Truthfully my first day passed by in a blur. Peter was in fact in my homeroom but he immediately deemed ‘uncool’ in my frightful plaid skorts ensemble that my mom had picked out for me. Can’t say that I blame him. He completely ignored me and did not even look at me as I slunk down low into my seat. I became hopelessly lost in the hallways not understanding the standard-issue (a.k.a. neon sign denoting my freshman status) map. I got jostled in the unfamiliar streams of hallway traffic continuously getting turned around. At one point, a purple haired kid growled at me from beneath his shaggy mane. I jumped back startled only to bump into lockers and more people who just tossed me back into the throng of quickly moving students. Lunch was even worse. Knowing noone, had to sit alone. I decided was not hungry anyway and threw out my homemade lunch.

The day seemed as never ending just like the maze of hallways. By the time, the last bell rang at two o’clock and I flung myself out the first exit door I could find, only to realize too late that it was all together the wrong door and could not find my bus. There were three lines of busses behind the school. Each one looking the same as the one behind it and the one in front of it. For the life of me I could not remember the number of my bus. A cold sweat crept over me as my brain frantically tried to regurgitate the number. “Was it 2, 3, 24 or 25? Maybe nine”? Sweat ran down my back and dashed back inside for some help. By the time I found the front office, it was too late. My bus, number 25 with its growling driver, had just left the school parking lot. The school secretary handed me the phone without a word and told me to call my parents. Slumped against the wall now and feeling embarrassed for not being able to keep it together on my first day in the big pond of public school I felt acutely my algebra book making a nice spinal bruise.

I was so wrapped up in my own thoughts that I failed to notice the group of boys who had decided to congregate by a section of lockers at the end of the hallway. My barely 5-foot tall frame was scrunched up into a corner of the hallway as tight as I could make it. My clear green eyes were downcast as I studiously chipped the light peach nail polish off my fingernails. If I had noticed, I would have seen the tall, athletic looking boy with dark hair sneaking glances at my less than Nicki Taylor-like frame. I would have seen him nonchalantly studying me. It was only later did I find out that his first thoughts regarding me were that I “looked sort of like a drowned rat.” His friends continued to talk about the new kids on their track team. They were going to be late for practice, he thought next. There was nothing special about her, with her glasses, braces and limp, mousy dark blonde hair. He had never seen her around school before and he could not stop looking at her. She seemed so frail and lost. He pushed a piece of his dark hair out of his eyes as he nudged his friends and said, “Let’s go guys! We’ve got practice and we don’t want to be late the first day.” Hearing this, I looked up and locked eyes with him then. He smiled at me. The first friendly smile I had seen all day. I probably blushed. His friends noticed and briefly looked me over. They ran by me as they headed toward the gym’s locker room and didn’t bother to give me a second glance. I continued to chip away at my nail polish and silently fumed about having blushed so deeply in front of them. I was not as if I thought that guy was cute. “Why do I always turn so beet red? I hate that!”

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