A glimpse into my school's cafeteria on Valentine's Day. Be warned, it's toxic.
|I find that there is a certain level of crazed fever which comes with the season of Valentine’s Day, especially within a small town, high school. I happen to be one neutral observer who has either the privilege or the curse (it usually depends on my mood that particular day) to attend one such institution. Today, I found this life situation more of a curse. In my diligent attempt to keep the focus off of my own emotions, I opted to carefully observe the behaviour of my less than aware schoolmates.
The electrocuted frizzed hair of a punk goth with a glint of silver hanging from her lip was the first thing I noticed when walking into the cafeteria on lunch hour. Considering that seventy percent of my school is comprised of this exact clone, it wasn’t as obvious as most people would naturally assume. The colour of her eyes was undistinguishable due to the thick ring of coal black around her lids which acted as a veil to conceal the secrets her eyes may have held. I wondered if she was aware of this or if it was something she did subconsciously. I wondered what her parents thought of her choice of appearance. Certainly, my own parents would never let me set foot outside of my home if I looked the way she did. I decided to call her Abby within my mind… she looked like an Abby. A once sweet, blonde pigtailed little girl with bright blue eyes who had grown into this unrecognizable ghost. Abby looked around, searching for an equally masked friend whom she knew and once she located one, walked over with deliberate, loping strides to chatter about the “completely unfair” geography teacher whom she apparently hated with a viciousness.
Deciding that there was no more to add to Abby’s story at the moment, I walked on, painfully conscious of the sweet, velvety smooth, thick fragrance of pink and red tin-wrapped chocolates wafting through the air; in an endless dance with the smells of cleaning fluids and greasy, fatty fries and burgers. The smell of the chocolate intoxicated the vast number of love-struck, hormone-driven teenagers revelling in the romantic season. Although I appreciated the sweet smell as well, I still curiously ponder over why it did not seem to hold the same sick effect upon me as it did my peers.
I had to suppress a derisive snort as I leisurely passed by a spectacled boy who had placed a possessive arm around a pudgy girl with a heart-shaped face and broad nose, clearly staking his claim on her among his peers. Was he even aware that no one else seemed the least bit interested in her? I supposed if I were a boy attending this school, I wouldn’t care to take a second look at her either, seeing as how the vast majority of the boys at my school were only interested in Barbie dolls, which she most certainly wasn’t. Thinking this, I felt a stab of sorrow within me. She had a sweet, angelic look about her which I doubted anyone, including her boyfriend, looked close enough to see. Loudly, he talked about the materialism of Valentine’s Day to his friends with almost pompous zeal, taking furtive glances at the scarred angel he was holding to see if she was impressed with his boisterous speech. Scarred Angel gave reluctant smiles and chuckled whenever he said something which he intended to be clever, but soon became completely enraptured in the undignified horror of a fraying thumbnail. I could see the terror in her flawed, yet perfect eyes that the boy holding her would notice and would cease to hold her the way he was holding her now. Yes, Valentine’s Day in my cafeteria was the picture-perfect example of true love.
Too saddened by Scarred Angel’s precarious relationship, my attention swayed to a tall, raven-haired boy with the beginnings of a beard speckling his face walking by me with an almost ominous gait. The pungent odour of melted cheese on a slab of dead cow confined into the crevice of a rubbery-looking bun situated on a cheap paper plate assaulted my nostrils and I looked away, my stomach launching a righteously indignant protest at the choking stench.
As I sternly scolded my queasiness, I glanced around, trying to zero in on anything that would appease my stomach long enough to last until the end of this most unfortunate time frame. The creamy smear of lost caesar salad dressing adorning a soggy piece of green, laying forlornly on the floor caught the slightly revolted gaze of my eye. Vaguely, I wondered if it would be there a week from now as it was passed by and trampled upon by hundreds of oblivious feet, and many more unseeing eyes. With a wryly amused twitch of my lips, I came to the conclusion that yes, the caesar salad dressing on a soggy green leaf would forever stand as a monumental witness to this most glorious, romance-filled day. After all, it wasn’t as though the school custodians were too concerned with the hygiene of myself and eight hundred other young adolescents. I realized this kind of pondering was not proving beneficial to my mood and desperately wished I had my best friend with me… Berry Burst Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer. What a name! I wish I had a name like that.
Laughing inwardly at my own idiocy, I decided that Valentine’s Day must be contagious and I was displaying the first symptom: unexplainable stupidity. I thought it would be best to quarantine myself before any more damage was done. However, on my way out to the crisp air, I accepted the sweet, smooth taste of a chocolate rose handed to me by an infected acquaintance. It caressed my tongue like two lost lovers being reunited after many years apart and I smiled in sugary satisfaction, in grave danger of succumbing to this incurable disease. Valentine’s Day certainly was… well, unhealthy.