A story idea I have been working on, but I wish to test the waters of it first.
|Sally drove at a rather fast speed for the narrow street we were on. Meanwhile, I was slouched into my seat with my backpack beside my feet and my legs bent while touching the floor, and I stared outside the car window. I was able to see the various homes, trees, street signs, and cars that we passed by. There was something very intriguing to me about the blurry pictures of the ordinary objects, which all appeared to travel at the speed of light. I could imagine the pictures drawn by a talented artist. The pictures would be hung in a museum, admired by thousands who come to appreciate the art of the wonderful artist. However, Sally was like a tour guide who didn’t allow me to appreciate such fantastic pieces for long.
My disengagement from the car ride was interrupted by Sally’s voice.
“Hey, are you worried about high school?” she asked me.
“Well, n-not really. I feel pretty confident about this.”
“You sure? That doesn’t sound like you’re confident at all.”
I imagined her raising an eyebrow at me. She might not have done so, but I didn’t turn to her and check. I tried to shake off that feeling, though.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’ll be fine. I have all my school supplies ready. Notebooks, textbooks, binder, pencils…” I paused to think. “...colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, and… big erasers.”
Sally giggled. “Colored pencils? Glue sticks? Come on, you’re not in elementary school anymore.”
I hastily turned my head towards her. “H-Hey! I have those, just in case, you know.”
She took on a teasing tone. “In case of what? Someone needing to color within the lines?”
Those words sent a burning sensation through me. That particular tone she used in combination with her selection of words almost felt like a direct insult to me. I just wanted to be prepared...
I turned myself away from her and looked back out the window. The same view had welcomed me again. Yet, this time, it felt like a small haven made just for me. I could see clouds below me, offering me a ride to fly through the world in the sky. I would happily accept and take to the winds. With the sun gleaming on my face, no one would be able to stop me. Never had freedom tasted as sweet as a lollipop.
“So,” Sally suddenly said. “When are you going to invite some friends over?”
My spine cracked. My eyes widened. My mind felt a sudden spike of electricity. My mouth suddenly had a sour aftertaste. Nothing could have sliced me in half like her words did.
“What?” she continued. “You’re so cute, and you’ve got a good shot at landing some new friends. Believe me, I’ve seen such girls like you get hit on a lot.”
I was wearing a pink t-shirt, black pants, purple running shoes, and brown glasses. The shirt and pants were literally the first ones I grabbed out of my dresser, the running shoes were in case I wanted to run somewhere (also, those shoes are much more comfortable to wear than any “cute” shoes), and the glasses were to help with my legally blindness. If Mom and Sally did not make me dress “properly”, I probably would have gone to school in my pajamas. I was at least thankful that my school required no uniform. The last thing I would ever want to wear was a skirt, especially those ridiculously short ones I see in anime. (There is no way I would ever go to school in Japan, if that is the case in real life.)
“I’m cute? What?” I curiously asked.
Sally suddenly got very enthusiastic. “Yeah, look at you! You’re such a freaking adorable big ball of… fuzz. A girl with glasses is just asking to be adored! And with your shyness, everyone would want to like you! Who wouldn’t want to be your friend?”
I was split as to how to react to that. Part of me wanted to believe her. After all, I have seen anime girls of that kind immediately get adored by other characters. I will admit: I also adore them as well. However, the other part of me remembered junior high school. Life there was like being in Death Valley, except without the sun trying to kill me and I had a good chance of survival. Still, me? “Cute”? The thought of that was… no, no. The last thing I’d want to do for my first impression was to be a completely flustered mess, and I knew well about how badly that could turn out. I went straight back to the outside view in attempt to get my mind off of it.
“Classic Penny,” Sally giggled. “Still doesn’t believe she’s a complete package.”
Death Valley called for me. The heat wanted to take residence in my blood.
The school itself appeared exceptionally bland. There was almost nothing special about it. That was not a bad thing, but also not a good thing. I was hoping for a school more extraordinary. Something that screamed “Hey, we have a reason to stand out from every other school!”. But alas, I did not identify such a feature.
Sally dropped me off in the front of the school. I hoisted my backpack on my shoulders, and I stepped out of the car. I took a deep breath and looked at the buildings. The air felt fresh and alive. It sent a soothing stream of oxygen down my trachea and into my lungs with a combination of a waterfall’s roar and a pond’s calm surface. Thus, my respiratory system had begun its feeding of its delicious food. My brain was now ready to see what was going to be ahead.
Sally suddenly called to me. “Hey, you have your phone with you, right?”
I had just remembered that. I felt around my pockets, hoping I did not forget to bring it. My phone was in my right pocket in the front, and I let out a mental sigh. I gave Sally a nod.
“Okay, call me if you need anything after school. Good luck, Penny. Land that boyfriend for me!”
She gave me an energetic hand wave, but I returned with a small, inconspicuous hand wave. It was all I could do as Sally drove off shamelessly.
I turned my head back to the school.
“It’s a new day,” I told myself. “This will be a new beginning. After everything that has happened, I can’t let this opportunity slip. I can make it past this wall in front of me. The wall… of an author.”
I took my first steps. They weren’t just any steps, though. They felt like… baby steps. I could feel flowers blooming by my feet as I marched. Red roses, white daffodils, and yellow sunflowers. I felt a blissful wind running through my face as I walked. The elegance of the morning sky settled its light in a path leading from me to the front door. It was a very short road, but it was one I would take to enter the newest stage of my life. I would allow photosynthesis to allow me to grow into a fine flower. Whether I would shine in the bright sunlight or glow in the glistening, iridescent light of the blue moon, the seed inside of me would find a way to show the world its full beauty. A colorful, spirited, and magical transformation was waiting for me, and the wand I hold would be unlike no other. While my wings sparkle in the rainbow aura, I would cast a magic spell and whisk away into the sky above, eager to see what lies in the clouds and the stars.
Suddenly, I bumped into something. The flowers below me disappeared into the ground, and the light road vanished from sight. I had knocked myself into a person’s backpack.
“Ah, sorry!” I squealed.
The wearer of the backpack turned his head towards me. He gave a smile that told me not to worry at all. That it was “all cool”. Then, he turned back to who I presumed to be his friend. I quickly scooted my way pass him.
Okay, gotta do better than that, I thought. I wouldn’t want to make enemies on my first day.
Then, I felt something hit my arm. It was also a small bump to the limb.
“Oops, my bad,” I quietly said.
I turned to look for the source, and it turned out to be from another student who was walking with a friend. However, neither of them paid any attention to me whatsoever. The two of them simply walked down as if I were a ghost and they had run into ghosts all their lives.
I could not help but growl internally. “She couldn’t have said ‘Sorry’, too?” I thought. “Oh, whatever. I shouldn’t let that get the best of me. Today is a new day, and I shall get through this school without any issues. No matter how much people may be jerks, I shouldn’t go crying like I always did. If I want to become an author someday, then I will do this.”
Then, I ran into something again. It was a hard hit this time, almost as if I got bumped by concrete.
“Ow,” I whimpered. “I’m sorry about that.”
I didn’t hear a reply. Confused, I lifted my head up and found a wall. An actual wall. I wasted no time and scooted my way to the interior of the school before I embarrassed myself any further.
I had reached the inside of the school. Unlike the outside, the interior caught my attention immediately. It was nothing like how I thought it would be like, but I personally did not mind the difference. Instead of everything being indoors, some parts of the school were not industrialized and had grass without a roof or a room. Yet, that outside area interconnected two buildings, almost acting like a bridge to an entirely different world. On those patches of grass, I could see students playing volleyball in a circle or simply talking. It was as if this school had a sense of freedom and spirit, and I admired that.
I could see several relatively small buildings, which I thought to be classrooms. There were also hallways that led to other hallways, posters on the walls to alert students about clubs, and students on the line of concrete talking amongst each other. On an unrelated note, the cafeteria was actually right next to me as I walked in, but I didn’t bother to enter, since I had already eaten breakfast. (Delicious, delicious bacon…) In any case, I figured that I should not dawdle much.
My first objective was to find my first class. I took out my class schedule from my binder. X-7. Something about that combination of letter and number sounded extreme, but I wasn’t sure why. Anyways, I tried to follow the classroom number combination. I started from the closest set of rooms to me, which were the F-rooms. Waking straight from the F-classrooms, I transitioned to the G-rooms, then the H, then the I, then the P, and then the Y. However, that led to the edge of school, so my plan did not entirely work. Then, I took a quick look at the number plate of the closest classroom. Y-7. I was close, at least.
As such, I decided to simply walk around and see what happened. There were hallways, classrooms, open areas, classroom numbers, a gym, water fountains, bathrooms, students, ground, and air. That was everything I would expect to find in a school. Sadly, not a sight was to behold, and the X-rooms had not been found yet.
“Man, where is that room?” I said to myself. “Surely it can’t be that far away, right?”
I looked to the closest room. B-3.
“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” I mumbled. “I’m even further away than I was before. Go figure…”
I backed myself to the nearest wall. I slid my back down until I was sitting up against the wall, with my legs in a criss-cross form. As I let out a small sigh, I stared blankly into my schedule. The noise by the other students soon who were around the corner went above my head, and all I could hear was a black hole inside me.
Then, I came to notice that the schedule had a time next to each of the class periods. They were most likely when the respective class period started because first period had “7:50-8:50” next to it. Out of curiosity, I pulled out my phone. It was 7:25.
“What?!” I screamed out suddenly. “Are you serious?!”
I covered my mouth and looked around me. No one appeared to have been nearby. Then, I slowly put my face back to the piece of paper.
Immediately as I did that, I heard a door open and a voice speaking. “Excuse me.”
I turned towards the source of the group of vocal cords. A slim man stood there. He looked like he was ready for a hard day’s work, or a nap when he feels like it.
“I heard someone yell out something. Do you know who it was?”
I hesitated to answer. I did not want to appear as if I was lost, even though I truly was. I wanted to look like I knew what I was doing. I could only wish that I had taken a tour of the school when I got my schedule during orientation, but that did not matter now.
Suddenly, I quietly said, “That was me.”
The man seemed concerned and did not speak. I was a bit puzzled as to how his silence could be interpreted. On one hand, I figured that he was examining my body to see if I had any injuries. On the other hand, I was worried that he was going to throw me into his “Ignore” cabinet.
Then, he calmly and collectively said, “It was? Is everything all right?”
I literally scratched the back of my head, trying to activate my thinking powers. Surely, he wouldn’t make fun of me, right? I could just tell him that I needed directions to my first class. Yeah, simple as that, simple as that. I just needed to collect myself as fast as a reaper collects souls.
I tried to talk to him. “I’m, uh… I’m…”
The man calmly interrupted. “Oh, is it personal?”
I tried to open my mouth. For some reason, my mouth just wouldn’t cooperate with me. I knew what I wanted to say, but I just couldn’t let the words out. My nervous system was getting in the way of my physical nerves. Did someone lose the key to the gate? Did the curtains go stiff on trying to be raised? Or was there some curse I was under in the influence of glue? There wasn’t a crowbar in the world that could pry open my words…
“I understand,” he said.
He closed the door behind him and began to leave in the direction I faced. I had a brief moment of relief. Partially, I was relieved I did not have to awkwardly talk to him.
Although, that would mean I would have no one to give me directions. Without directions, I would be late. I never even thought about what would happen if I was tardy. Though, I recalled that the naughty and “bad” kids would get sent to the office with something called a “referral”. I also remember that some criminals started out as wicked school kids. However, I certainly believed that my first day of high school would not be the start of a life of crime!
Without a moment wasted, I blurted out, “W-Wait!”
Against all odds among the gods, the man turned back towards me. He then asked me again if something was wrong.
“C-Could… you help me…?” I feebly asked.
He smiled at me. It was like staring at a smiling sunflower, ready to lighten up even the most pessimistic person’s day. As his golden aura casts itself among bypassers and visitors, he allows his sunshine to glow in the darkness with an intense radiance that must be experienced to be believed.
“I’ll be happy to. What’s wrong?” he asked.
I looked back at my schedule. X-7.
“D-Do you know where… X-7 is?”
“X-7? Yeah, that’s my classroom, and I was just about to head back from here. Come, let’s go.”
I was deeply surprised. The teacher of the classroom was leading me there? What luck! It was like a student of karate or kung fu being led by his sensei. The sensei would help the student perfect his strength and overall agility, and soon enough, the student shall overcome and defeat his sensei. Was I going to be like that student? Would this teacher help me understand the arts of literature? Would I become a master with the pen?
I did need to know his name, of course. Therefore, I looked at my schedule to find a name. “Crongeyer” was the name in the row with “Period 1”. What a pleasant and unique name.
The next thing I knew, Mr. Crongeyer stopped. We were at X-7, which was at the edge of the school, the same place where I started my aimless drift. I was royally confused because I was very sure that I was here before. However, upon closer examination, I noticed that the “X” on the label had the extra leg that the “Y” does not have.
I gave a complete mental hand slap to my face.