by Amisha Patel
Luke is forced to mentor a girl a year younger, even though he has his own problems.
| "Luke, can I see you please." Said Mrs Herring. "You are doing peer mentoring whether you like it or not, your mum agrees with me. It will be good for you."
"I don't even know what that is! Why the hell would I do that?" I said in my anger towards her.
"Don't use that language with me! I'm your teacher, not your friend! Peer mentoring is where you give advice to a person in the year bellow, they may need help with homework or it may be more severe than that, they might be bullied."
"How am I going to help them, when I have my own stuff to worry about!"
"It's only for half an hour a week, and it will look really good when you start to apply for universities, this year. The training is tomorrow, and you get to miss a lesson."
I agreed and left in hurry, only because I wanted to go see my friends for lunch.
I sat through the training, most of the time I tuned out and listened to my music, although this was much better than doing maths! I doubt I missed anything important, how hard could it be to ask someone about their problems?
"Luke! Take your headphones out of your ear! Did you hear what I just said." shouted Mrs Maris.
"Yer..." I said hesitantly.
"Repeat what I just said then!"
"You were talking about, urrrm, where we have to meet the person were mentoring"
"No! I was saying that if you were told something, about them that was a problem for concern, you would have to tell me straight away, do not try sort the problem out yourself, you are just here to help them!" said Mrs Maris.
"Yer ok, I understand." I said with little regard to what she was saying."
Towards the end of the training, Mrs Maris began to tell us who the person we were mentoring was.
"...Amy, you have Beth from year 7 and Luke you have Kyra from year 11. You will be meeting them all next week, for your first mentoring session together."
The week went by quite quickly, and it was a good week, since it was Joe's house party on Saturday night, which was brilliant, since there was plenty of free booze. But I don't really remember the night much!
It was our first mentoring session, and I was quite nervous since I don't know what to say!
"Hi, I'm Luke; I'm here to help you with any worries or problems you might have."
"I'm Kyra, I'm in year 11, and what year are you in?"She said.
She was a pretty girl, with brown hair and green eyes. She looked my age, even though she was a year younger.
"I'm in year 12. Do you have any issues you might need resolving?"I said.
"No not really."
I wondered why she was here if she had no problems, maybe I just needed to become friends with her, and get to know her first before she told me her problems. It was an awkward first session, since she seemed quiet and reserved, but that meant less work for me to do.
"Mum are you home yet?" I shouted, as I entered my house.
No reply. As I thought mum was doing overtime, at the hospital where she works as a nurse. She hates her job, since she gets treats badly, and the pay is terrible, for the amount of work she does. I've been trying to look for a job to help her pay the bills. I have an interview next week for the Apple store, which I was looking forward to.
I was dreading our next mentoring session since I knew she was not going to tell me anything today, so I came prepared.
"Hi Kyra how was your week?" I said, as nicely as possible
"It was alright."
"I just wanted to tell you a bit about myself, then you can tell you me about you, and I won't judge you." I said, with the hope it would break the tension. "I live with my mum. My mum and dad got married when they were 17, because my dad was dying of cancer. He lived for 5 more years after their marriage, and they had me in that time. My mum was torn apart by his death, but she was expecting it so she moved on and cared for me the best she could, but she never married after that."
"I'm sorry for your loss, I live with my mum and dad and my brother."
"It's ok I don't miss my dad, since I didn't know him at all, I just miss having a dad. So how are you finding school?" I said quickly trying to changing the subject.
"Yes I love school, I have lots of friends and we get along really well, we often meet up. School is actually easy, I'm getting A*'s in most of my subjects for GCSE."
"That's great; you must be really smart then! I got C's and D's for my GCSE, so you're doing brilliant!"
I was so confused! This girl had no problems at all, she was pretty, intelligent and happy. I didn't see why she needed mentoring. I decided to go see her form teacher, to enquire about the type of person she was.
"Hi, Sir I was just wondering what type of person, Kyra Fischer is?" I said.
"Why are you interested in her?" He replied.
"It's just I'm mentoring her and she has no problems at all!"
"Well, that wouldn't be a phrase I would use to describe her. She is a shy person; I often see her sitting by herself at break, but she is very intelligent."
"What about her family?" I asked.
"She is adopted by a really nice couple."
"Thank Sir." I said as I left the classroom.
She lied to me then, but not about everything, she is smart and she does live with her mum and dad, even if they are her foster parents.
I saw her sitting on a bench in an isolated corner, on her own, and approached her.
"I know you live with your foster parents."
"Who told you?"
"Why did you lie to me?"
She walked away and muttered some words; I think she said, "Because I wanted you to like me."
Kyra didn't show up for the next 4 mentoring sessions, I felt really bad for scaring her. So I waited for her outside her form, to apologise.
"I wanted you to have this to say sorry" I gave her a necklace that my ex left at my house, but I put it in a box.
"I don't want it."
"Please have it." I said.
"LUKE! IS THAT YOUR NEW GIRLFIREND! SEEMS LIKE A RIGHT LOSER, O I SEE YOU JUST WANT TO BANG HER!" shouted my friend Harry from down the corridor.
I laughed since I knew they were joking, but Kyra didn't, and walked away, in tears. I ran after her this time.
"I didn't mean to laugh!"
She rushed ahead and walked into the girls toilets. I followed her without realising where I had walked, but I stayed to make sure she was alright.
"Kyra, come out and talk." I said.
She chucked the necklace over the door.
"I should have stuck up for you, they shouldn't have called you a loser, and they don't know you, like I do, I'm sorry."
"You don't know me at all!" she said.
A group of girls walked in to the toilets.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE GIRLS TOILETS LUKE, GET OUT!" said, Sophie, my ex. "IS THAT MY NECKLACE ON THE FLOOR?"
I rushed out of the toilets, in alarm.
It was the day of my interview at the apple store, and I was very nervous since I was so preoccupied with school work. I wore a suit and tie, and I felt overdressed, but it was better than my hoodie.
"Hi I'm Jamie and I will be taking your interview today, you must be Luke."
"Hi Nice to meet you." I said whilst I shook his hand, as a common courtesy.
"So why do you want to work in the apple store" he asked.
"Because I really want to work as part of team, to make the store as efficient as possible, through the busy Christmas period." I replied.
What I really wanted to say was to make some money to help my mum pay the bills, and start saving for university.
The interview went on for about an hour and my answers became progressively worse, because I kept thinking of Kyra, eventually it became 'yes' and 'no' answers.
When I went back to school Mrs Maris, the peer mentoring leader saw me in the corridor, and abruptly stopped me.
"Luke, how has your mentee been?"
"Yes, pretty good, she only has some problems with homework occasionally, that's about it." I said, knowing it was more than that.
"I knew you would have a change in attitude towards peer mentoring!"
I sat in the room waiting for Kyra the next day, it was 10 minutes in, and finally she turned up.
"I need to ask you some questions answer them honestly." She said in a serious tone.
"Why did you give me some other girl's necklace, as a gift?"
"Well, that was my ex-girlfriends, she left it at my house and I don't have any money to buy you a gift, but wanted to give you something to apologise." I said, knowing this would make her upset, but wanting to prove I was being honest.
"Can I trust you?"
"Yes." I said hesitantly, even though I was meant to tell Miss Maris, everything she told me.
"Would you ever speak to me if you saw me in before this?"
"No." she looked upset that I didn't have to think about the answer.
"Are you my friend, or am I just a person you mentor?"
"You are my friend; why else would I still wait in this class room for half an hour every week?"
We sat in silence for several moments. Kyra looked like she was in deep thought.
She lifted up her sleeve to revel several cuts on her wrist. I don't know how, but I found myself with my arms wrapped around her body, it wasn't out of pity just to show her I was there for her.
After several moments of silence I asked:
"Is everything alright at home?"
"Everything is fine, really my foster parents love me allot, they buy me nice things, it's just I don't feel like they're my parent's they keep trying to buy my love, when all they need to do is give me a hug, take care of me when I'm ill, but that's not the reason for this..."
I really wanted to ask what happened to her parents, but felt that was too pressurising.
"Is everything alright at school?"
"I want to move schools desperately, but I don't want to tell my foster parents, I'm scared they might not want me anymore. I know it sound stupid."
"No it doesn't. What don't you want to tell them?"
"I don't want to tell them that my only friends are characters in books, and that I pretend that I have a normal life. That the friends I used to have, ditched me and now they make me cry myself to sleep, I feel that my parents are dead they might as well be since I never even knew them, I don't know why they left me, but I feel like that's my fault. I am a terrible person."
"You are not a terrible person. I understand it must be hard telling me this"
"You are my only friend, and I trust you not to tell anyone this, I want to deal with it myself."
"You can't deal with it yourself, I can help you. What happened with your friends that hurt you so much?"
"They decided not to invite me to any of their parties, or anytime they met up. When I sat with them at lunch they wouldn't talk to me much, they fazed me out of their friendship group, so I started to hang around with other people, most of them were really nice, but my old friends started rumours about me, like I slept with a 30 year old man, silly little rumours that people began to believe, and soon everyone in the year began to believe it was true and started hating me, they called me names and isolated me. They bullied me."
"How long has this been going on?"
"2 and half years."
"Is that the reason you cut yourself?"
As I lay asleep, I couldn't stop thinking about Kyra. She has been through so much pain in her life, I wanted to tell someone about the problems she has faced, even though they were in her near past, I could still see they were affecting her. I had to be there for her and help her out as much as I could before I told a teacher.
The next day I saw her sitting on her bench engrossed in her book.
"Kyra do you want to sit with me and my friends."
"I know you mean well, but I don't need your pity, because I told you personal things about me."
"Ok fair enough, let me take you to a place where I go sometimes to get away from reality."
"Ok..." she seemed reluctant.
"Meet me here when school ends."
The bell rang to mark the end of school. We met each other at the designated meeting point.
I took her to a field, near the school. The field had a shallow river cutting through it, and stepping stones across. Large willow trees touched the surface of the water, as the leaves danced in the wind. We sat on a bench overlooking the natural landscape and we talked for hours, about random things, like our favourite food, and the interests we shared. I don't know how it happened but I found my lips pressed against hers towards the end of the evening, I held her close to me as the wind rushed though her hair. She smiled at me, and I smiled back.
"Meet me here again tomorrow?" I said.
"I will see! I forgot to ask if you got the job at the apple store." She said continuing to smile at me.
"Yep I sure did! Come visit me at work next week!"
The weekend felt like forever, Kyra wasn't replying to my texts, or phone calls, so I was excited to see her again on Monday, however when Monday came, she wasn't at her bench. I finally found her outside on the field.
"I've been looking everywhere for you! I've missed you"
"Have you been avoiding me?"
"Yes. Yes I have! When you kissed me that was a mistake, I know guys like you will go around breaking girl's hearts all the time I'm just another one of them, and I don't want to lose the only friend I have."
"I'm not like that, I promise I won't break your heart and you can trust me, like you did before."
I held her hand softly, to reassure her. Then held her in my arms and whispered in her ear:
"You're different to all the other girls."
"Why?" she whispered back.
"Because I love you."