Icebreaker for Rising Stars Program
|It was horrible being the new girl at school, and that was something Suzy knew her dad must not have thought of when he abandoned her (to the care of the bespectacled Ms. Devine) in a hallway with many doors, which Suzy tried not to look at; her attention remained on the highly polished floor that smelled of sickly pine, even when her dad tried to kiss her goodbye.
With tears in her eyes she saw him leave through the big open door back to the world she was familiar with; of the house where she could play to her heart's content, of the freedom of endless lazy days; a door Ms. Devine closed with a bang, leaving Suzy all alone in a frighteningly new world with a backpack that was too heavy on her narrow shoulders and a teddy bear clenched to her pounding chest.
Suzy pitter-padded after Ms. Devine's brisk click-clack-click tread, pointing out lockers and restrooms, before stopping abruptly in front of a bright yellow classroom door, where a muffled sing-song voice addressed the unknown inhabitants--Teddy didn't want to go in.
The door opened and twenty-something little washed-with-water-and-soap-and-pretty-groomed-hair faces turned their heads towards the unexpected newcomer, looking surprised and somewhat curious but Suzy also saw a smile or two so she immediately chose to sit in the first row next to a funny looking kid with ponytails wearing a poker dotted purple dress and a nametag attached, SUNNY.
The SUNNY desk-neighbour gave Suzi and Teddy a long coat of looking at, before pointing to the crudely lettered hand-scripted tag, and mouthed in a whisper, as loud as a shout, "I made it, myself. Where's your badge? Do you have a name?"
S.U.Z.Y. ~ Suzy wrote down, and handed over a piece of paper to SUNNY only to be interrupted by a “Well dear, glad you are making friends immediately, but we are here in class now, so you better concentrate”, the gentle voice of her new teacher Ms. Joy; and what a joy she turned out to be in the years to come: not only was she the sweetest woman on earth, she also made school an exhilarating experience.
The morning flashed past in a blur of whiteboard markers, math sums, and a song about a dead Danish King, and before she knew it, Suzy's grumbling tummy announced it was lunchtime--so she answered its call, removing her sandwiches from the backpack, much to the amusement of her classmates, who tittered as she lifted a slightly squashed sandwich to her lips, despite Sunny's impressively arched eyebrows of reproach.
"Is it a baloney sandwich?" Sunny asked in disbelief.
"It's just a sandwich--it has pink meat in it, but I don't know what kind. You want some?" Suzy proffered the half she was eating across her desk, and Sunny squinted at the two, half-moon bite marks in it, before nodding and reaching out toward the gift.
For the next five minutes they shared a perfectly silent world without words, scrunching away, and enjoying themselves.
They enjoyed themselves so much, that the entire contents of Suzy's lunch bag were reduced to crumbs and wrappers by the time the actual lunch bell rang; only then, in the busy clattering chaos of the rest of the class leaving their desks, did Miss Joy notice the impromptu picnic aftermath, but instead of a telling off, the two girls received an admonishing finger wag, accompanied by a smile and soft chortle.
It was playtime outside on the school grounds, fenced with high bricked walls overgrown by Prunus Serotina and Bridal Veil, keeping the world at bay, and keeping the youngsters inside the spectrum of the watchful eyes of Ms. Devine and Ms. Joy who guarded them like over-protected chickens in a hencoop.
"Come and make friends!" Sunny took Suzy by the hand, and Suzy let herself be led toward a small group of children who were heatedly playing a game of pretend, which appeared to involve the brave air rescue of a princess by helicopter.
A boy with his lunch bag on top of his head yelled: “I’ll come to the rescue!’, while another one sat motionless in what had to be the helicopter; three girls were involved in princessy motions moving dressed up long haired barbies in a clapping game; it was chaos, and the screams of pleasure and delight were loud and catchy: “Princess Suzy had a steamboat, the steamboat had a bell, Princess Suzy went to heaven, the steamboat went to … Hello, operator, please give me number nine, and if you disconnect me I’ll kick you from … behind the refrigerator there was a piece of glass...”
The game, and the afternoon that followed, full of glitter and glue sticks with Miss a Joy, was one happy, busy, thrilling carousel of learning, playing and making new friends; it was rather a shock to hear the end of day school bell.
When dad picked up his little girl at the school gate he hardly recognized her, nothing of the tearful apprehensive kid he left this morning, but instead Suzy was all rosy cheeked, sparkled eyed and full of enthusiastic stories about flying constructs, royalty and a girl named Sunny; he couldn’t make sense of the story but smiled as he knew she was her happy self again.
The cheerfulness and chatter lasted up to the moment that they entered the house, and Suzy saw her step-mother's coat hanging up in the hallway; Teddy's head poked out of the bulky grey pocket, and she stared at his desperate glass eyes, wondering if she dared liberate him while the near-psychic, disembodied voice of Ms. Devine rang out like broken glass from the kitchen: "You should be more careful with the things you love, Susan."
Suzy knew now for a fact that her dad had married the wrong teacher, as she went upstairs to her bedroom where she lay down and recapitulated in her head what she’d been doing that whole wonderful first day at school.
Her dad came upstairs to call her for dinner, and he smiled his 'my favourite girl' smile, stroking her hair with one hand, and producing the freshly freed Teddy for Suzy to snuggle with the other. "Did Teddy do ok today? Did he break the ice?"
That night she cuddled up in bed with Teddy Bear close to her heart, ready for some lucid dreams about meeting some wonderful friends on an awesome day that would stay with her for a long time to come.
Blue by Acme ; Green by WakeUpAndLive
Word Count: 1082