An infinite number of dreams and alternate realities clouded my distant mind, as the classroom shuffeled around unnervingly. I calmly stuffed my pencil and notebooks into my backpack, class was nearing an end and I was ready to jump out of my seat and rush to my next class, the sooner I get out of school the sooner I can get home. I threw the last notebook in and began tapping the pencil that I was holding on the surface of my desk rapidly, anticipating the ringing of the bell. I watched the littlest hand click from second to second.
“47…48…49” I counted quietly to myself.
The class was being loud, throwing paper clips and trash around. Immature as always. They were too caught up in their soliciting to notice the class was about to end. It was Tuesday, all the kids in the school couldn’t wait for the day to be over, to go to soccer practice, or continue their lives at home. I put my pencil in my pocket and continued to tap my finger on the desk. Finally, the bell rang. I ran out of English, hurrying to get to Math, getting to my next class quicker wouldn’t make the day go by any faster, but it made me feel like it did. So I rushed.
I thought about getting home, CSI was on and I wanted to catch this episode. As this thought processed in my mind, I turned the corner nearly sprinting. Immediately I ran into some kid with headphones on. He was much taller than me, me being only five foot one, my head pushed into his chest.
I rebound off of him, taking a step back.
“Hey kid, watch where you’re going.” He growled.
I avoided eye contact, and exhaled through my nose. I could hear his music; it was so loud that even if I said something back, he wouldn’t have heard me. So I just made a loop around him.
I jogged down the hallway, cutting corners tightly and weaving through the other students, just keeping my head down, I stopped at a water fountain to get a drink. As I pushed the button to get a drink I heard someone call my name.
“Hey Kim!” He shouted, I released the button and turned to see Joey.
“Oh hey, how’s it going Joey?” I asked.
“Same shit different day.” He replied. “Listen, I was trying to get down the notes in English but Mrs. Hart was going too fast and I didn’t get them all. Do you think I can borrow your notes and I’ll give them back to you tomorrow?”
I smiled softly.
I've known Joey for a long time, he has that anti authority look to him, but he had respect and was very kind. Today he dressed with baggy, tan cargo shorts, long sleeve shirt with stripes on the sleeves, and a dark beanie that covered his medium length blonde hair. I couldn’t help but chuckle a little when I noticed his outfit, nothing really matched. I’m sure he knew he looked funny. But he wasn’t one to care much about what others thought of him, he just dressed in the way he felt comfortable.
When we were kids, we were pretty close, but when his dad disappeared and soon after my mom passed away, we both kind of went our separate ways. Though there was no bad blood between us, we don’t get to see each other outside of school much.
“Notes again? This is what, the third time this month you’ve had to ask me?” I chuckled, he did the same. Blushing he put his hand behind his head and rubbed the back of his neck.
“Well I’ve been busy with my wood work class so I’ve been focused on those projects.” He said with a big grin.
“Well if there’s one thing your good at its focusing on one thing and doing to the fullest.” I said. “Hold on. Just let me dig out my notebook.” I replied with a quick, half smile.
I reached into my bag, pulled out my notebook, and handed it to him. He took it graciously.
“Thanks a lot, you’re a life saver!” he said coolie.
“I expect a soda when you bring it back.” I grinned.
“You got it” he laughed.
He threw my book in his bag and jogged to his next class. I don’t ever see him often, besides in the hall. He was like me, quiet and keeps to himself. However, he is a bit more scatter brained than I am. Even though he’s only sixteen, he’s very grown up. The only time he acts goofy and childlike is when he’s with me, other than that he’s very serious. I blankly stared into the hallway where he had run off, lost in my thoughts. Thinking about everything all at once, the depressing thoughts of wanting to be a kid again, being at daycare and playing with other kids, being with my mom and seeing my dad laugh and smile. Anxiety set in for a moment, but I shook it off. Even the littlest thing like seeing joey can bring back so many good, and bad feelings all at once.
I fell back into reality and quickly realized I only had a minute or so left until the bell would ring, so I leaned over the fountain to get my drink, I pushed the button to make the water flow. Through all the repetitive thumping of footsteps in the hallway, I hadn’t noticed someone came right up behind me.
Suddenly, I felt multiple hands grabbing at my shoulders and pulling me away from the fountain.
“What the-“I yelped.
A group of girls had ahold of me and dragged me across the hall and into the girl’s bathroom. I struggled, but I was only one person, being held onto by four or so other people.
“Let go!” I screamed and kicked my feet, trying to break free from their grasp. But it was no use, soon I was taken into the bathroom and immediately, my head was submerged in the toilet.
My hands on the sides of the bowl, head under the water, they flushed repeatedly. I held by breathe, but water forced its way up my nose, making me choke on the dirty water. They pulled me up for a moment, I tried to catch my breath. Coughing and spitting out water, I wrestled with them. Still trying to get free. But down I went again, for a final time. Then they let me go and backed off, laughing.
“Aw I’m sorry Kim, did that get you wet?” a girl said in a cocky tone.
I sat on the floor, hand wrapped around my own throat, coughing and gagging. Water in my lungs, and up my nose I looked towards them, they all started to walk out of the bathroom except one girl.
“Ugh, what was that for Stacy!?” I yelled. Recognizing her instantly.
There stood a tall, blonde girl. With large silver hoop earrings, a low cut top, expensive leather purse and a load of makeup caked on her face. She was gorgeous, but beauty is only skin deep with her, inside she was rotten and cruel. She had been treating me like garbage for as long as I could remember.
“So sorry Kim, you looked like you needed a shower.” She mocked.
I looked at her with an embarrassed, but crude face. Water dripped off of the tips of my short hair and landed on my shoulders, awkward streams of cold water streamed down my face and curved around my nose. All she did was laugh in a superior tone and walked away. I was angry, but I was used to being treated this way. I stood up and pulled myself to the sink. The door shut behind her and I was alone, soaked and annoyed. Taking a load of paper towels, blowing my nose and cleaning myself off the best I could. I shook off my frustration. I forgot about getting the class, I was distracted by the thought of Stacy’s arrogance that she flaunted every chance she got. Unfortunately, the bell rang for my next class while I was stuck in the bathroom, and now I was late.
I walked into math class and everyone just stared at me. I was never late to my classes, especially Math, I love math. No knew me personally, people only knew my name and face. And passed information that circulated through the school. I went to a small school, but was home to a lot of students, I didn’t know them and they didn’t know me. When I showed up four minutes after the bell rang, some people looked pretty surprised. I felt their eyes on me, judging my every movement, or lack thereof. I looked to the floor, sighed and just awkwardly made my way toward my seat. I think they mostly noticed my damp hair. My hair doesn’t look good wet, normally my hair is a light brown and fairly straight. But when it was wet, it was very dark and flat. I brushed my fringe to the side and due to its wetness it stuck and didn’t fall back into my face.
"Nice of you to join us Kimberly." The teacher said sarcastically.
"Sorry about that, I had a little accident." I responded softly.
“Clearly.” He nodded “Are you okay?” he asked.
I let out a fragile, fake smile.
"As I was saying class..." he continued with his intro to today’s lesson.
Even though I was angry and embarrassed, I still participated in class, I threw up my hand for nearly every question. There’s one question I don’t know the answer to and it was killing me that I didn’t know it. But it’s not for math class. Why am I treated this way? This question floated around my mind.
After Math class had ended, so did school, Math is my last class of the day so I was happy to be finally heading home. I left the classroom, but I wasn’t rushing to make the bus, in fact I was walking, falling behind everyone else. I wasn’t going to take the bus today; I decided that I’d walk home like I used to do last year. It was a bright and warm day in April; this was the perfect time to live here in Maine. Especially since I lived in a more rural part of the state, I don’t have to deal with the salty air of the ocean, there’s more trees and backroads than water and highways around here.
Outside the front door of my school, the sun and its bright, ever-loving warmth greeted me. I stood just outside the open doors and held my hand just above my brow line to shade my eyes. As the heat was getting absorbed into my skin, I felt the sharp bitterness of a harsh wind blowing desperately through the students as they left the building. Today I wore only a thin long-sleeved shirt and jeans. Also considering the fact that my shirt and hair are still a bit damp from Stacy, the wind is going to feel twice as brisk.
I walked out of the school and headed down for the main road. Before I got there a bus was pulling out of the school and it had stopped at the stop sign at the end of the school driveway, just as I was getting there myself. While the bus was stopped for no more than fifteen seconds, I heard one of the bus windows open as I slowly made my way pass it. Without warning something came from the bus and had hit me on the head, it was hard, and then felt wet. I looked down and saw the open water bottle lying on the ground in front of me. I looked up, and saw Stacy with her friends laughing as they threw the bottle cap at me as well.
“Oops I thought you were a trash bin, my mistake” She mocked.
I reached down and picked up the bottle and cap, I held onto it tightly. Then glared back at them, they laughed and pushed the window back up. I watched them intently, but something else caught my attention, a couple of windows down, towards the back of the bus. There was a girl that was on the bus, who I didn’t recognize. My school was small and I paid attention to the people around me, I can easily recognize a face, but hers was unknown to me. She stared out the window, looking directly at me. But as soon as she saw that I had noticed her, she turned away and the bus [pulled out of the school driveway.
Trying to ignore Stacy’s actions, I began taking in the fresh air and the shine of a new day, I headed home; luckily I did not live too far from the school, about four miles. The warmth of the sun followed me around, keeping my head and shoulders warm. I was walking slowly so I could enjoy the outdoors as long as I could; people passed me having their own conversations. As I got further from the school the less people I saw until I was walking alone. A car would pass here and there, some even passed with loud, pounding music blaring through the streets. I was walking on the sidewalk that stretched along the main road. Kicking bits of broken cement and slowly moved along. After some time passed, the entrance to my road became visible in the distance; it was a dirt road that branched off from the street. It stretched deep into the woods, hidden by trees. I walked the long dirt path that was my driveway. After a few minutes I got to my door. My house was small, run down and dirty. A screened in porch was the first thing you saw, up the steps and through the screen door were tools and an old torn up couch. Lying there getting older and dirtier. I knocked on the door, then looked closer and saw a small note.
Kim, out shopping. Be back later. –Dad
“Great, after a terrible day at school now I have to sit here all alone in my own home.” I said to myself, and then sighed softly.
I took the note off the door, and crumpled it, then stuffed the paper in my back pocket.
He left the door unlocked for me. The old bronze knob was stuck and I had to use force to turn the handle until it clicked, and opened with a loud creaking noise. First thing I do when I get home is take my shoes off; my feet were tired of walking. So I sat on the floor directly in front of the door. I rubbed my feet gently, and cracked my toes. I then stood back up and stretched, reaching my arms up to the ceiling letting out a long yawn.
My body felt stiff, so I jumped up and down a little bit to loosen up. Then kicked my shoes out of the way, and closed the door. My house was small, the first sight you see when you walk in, is the living room on your left and the kitchen on your right, no divider wall. Straight ahead was a door leading to my dad’s room, on the right side of his door was another door that leads to a full bathroom and laundry room. To the left of his door was the hardwood stairs that climbed above his door, and lead to the upstairs bathroom and my bedroom. That’s it.
A dirty, pearly white carpet was spread across the floor. A couch, coffee table and color TV set were located in the center of the living room. The ceiling fan above the living room was spinning slowly. It made a soft vibrant noise as the gears spun the blades. I walked in front of the couch, directly below the fan. I pulled one of the strings that hung down.
A soft whirring started up, and the fan blades began to slowly spin.
“Ah crap, wrong one.” I said.
I pulled the wrong string, I’ve always done that. I don’t know why, but I just could not remember which string controlled which part of the fixture. I had to pull the same string again, and try for the other one. It spun faster with each click, until the whirring stopped and the blades slowed to a halt.
The house was dead silent now. I could hear that soft ringing in my ears, I didn’t like absolute silence. So I cleared my throat and began humming a random tune. My shirt had dried a little but it was still damp from the water. I felt the damp spots with my fingers, to judge how wet it was. Since no one was home, and we didn’t live near any other houses, I took my shirt off in the living room and bundled it up into a ball. Then went to the bathroom and threw my shirt into the dirty laundry basket.
The wooden door pushed a cold gust of air into my bare skin as I closed it behind me. The house was cold, considering I was wearing partially wet jeans and a bra.
“I guess I’ll just get changed and do some homework, not like there is much else to do anyways.”
I said out loud, shouting to the empty living room as if my dad was here and would respond, but he wasn’t and I knew that. I just didn’t want to feel so alone. But I did. I frowned and lowered my head. The emptiness began to set in, and like a plague it spread through me. But for me, this was normal.
Nothing about being alone, was strange to me