You know what else sucked about moving to a new state? Having to go to a new school.
“Now, I might be late in picking you up but just wait for me, okay?” my dad said. “I don’t want you walking home when you’re still unfamiliar with the town.”
“Dad, you do realize I’m 17 now, right?” I said, unbuckling my seatbelt.
I gave him a smirk as a reply and grabbed my bags as I headed out the door. Before I closed it, though, I said to him, “If I die before the day ends, just know it’s all your fault.”
“You’re making it sound like you’re going to prison. You’re not going to die, Jeremy. It’s high school, not a gangster squad. Relax, you’ll be fine. Sure, you’re new, but it’ll be fun.”
New? Definitely. Fun? I didn’t think so.
As I watched my dad drive further and further away from me, I came to the thought that in order for me to survive the day, I would need two things: one, an aspirin, and two, an invisibility cloak.
You see, if this had been the very first day of senior year, then it wouldn’t have been half as daunting. Everyone’s starting fresh, people haven’t seen each other in two months, I wouldn’t be the only new student, and even if I was, everyone would be too distracted by their class schedules or their locker combinations or their “long-time-no-see” friends to pay any attention to me.
But that was not my situation. I had walked in two months into the school year.
As I walked down the hallways alone, I could sense that people were staring at me. It felt like a spotlight was on me, like I was some famous Hollywood star walking down the red carpet, only the stares I got were not of those a Hollywood star would get. I thought about staring at the floor, but what if I passed by the Guidance Office? Or bumped into someone?
Finally, I had made it. The guidance office. I quickly went inside and there were three people standing there – one woman sitting behind the desk who I assumed was the guidance counsellor, and two teenagers – one boy and one girl – sitting on the couches.
“Welcome!” the woman shouted. “You must be the new student, Jeremy Anderson? I’m Hill Kearns, your guidance counsellor.” My assumptions were correct. “How has your first day been so far?”
“Well, I’ve only just arrived, so…yeah,” I said, taking a seat on the couch. The three of them stared at me, like they were expecting me to say more. “But it seems like a good school, though it may take some getting used to.”
“Well, that won’t take long, you’ll fit in like a puzzle piece,” she said with a big grin on her face. “Everyone’s just so nice here and we all treat each other like good friends.”
Oh, guidance counsellors. They meant well but were ultimately clueless on what really went on in the world of high schoolers.
“This is Marcie Detwiler and Harkin Loose, two of Jason Adam’s top students,” she said, pointing at the two teenagers beside me. They both gave me a smile. “They’re here to give you a tour of our school.”
“It’s a great school, and we welcome you wholeheartedly,” Marcie said, flashing a million dollar but fake smile.
Ms. Kearns handed me a piece of paper and said, “This is your class schedule, and don’t worry about not finding your way, because Marcie and Harkin will show you around. Feel free to come visit anytime you want to, and welcome to Jason Adams High School!”
The good part about the tour was that people seemed to be giving me less stares – well, maybe not less, but friendlier ones, though friendly seemed like too much of a stretch. Along the tour, it was easy to see why Marcie Detwiler was one of the school’s top students. No, her glowing leadership skills did not pass by me while she was showing me classrooms and offices, but the girl was extremely popular. I think we had to make around 10 pit stops just because Marcie had to chat about something to her friends. Harkin, on the other hand, seemed to only be there to fill in for Marcie when she was busy talking to people. Maybe he was more of the quiet type.
“And finally, this is the detention room, which mostly consists of troublemakers and people caught at the wrong place at the wrong time,” Marcie said. “You do not want to end up in here; it goes on your permanent records.”
“You really don’t,” Harkin said.
“And that concludes our tour,” Marcie said. “Now, I know it says 2nd period is History, but you’re going to have to skip that and go straight to the theatre. There’s going to be an assembly today. Anyway, Harkin and I have to go prepare for the assembly, and you are going to go to first period.”
“But I’m already late,” I said.
“Oh, just tell Mr. Byron you took the tour, and he’ll excuse you,” Marcie said. “And relax, it’s homeroom, everyone’s too busy listening to music or cramming for the next period’s long test to notice you. Anyway, have fun! And welcome to Jason Adams High School!”
Marcie was right; everyone was too busy to notice me. Even the teacher.
Back at Rhode Island, reading a book while a teacher was present in the classroom was worthy of suspension. Here in Wilson Bridge, I finished The Giver in just one sitting.
Lunch time, however, was the absolute worst. Lunch time was always the worst whenever I moved. It’s just a clear reminder of how new and lonely you are. I didn’t have anyone to sit with. The first time I moved, I was so ashamed of eating alone I ate in one of the classrooms alone. The next day, I realized that would always be the case, so I started eating at the cafeteria without a care.
Well, I mean, I did care. But I did my best not to show it.
Thank God for whoever created earphones. At least Lorde was keeping me company.
Everyone here seemed to have someone to talk to – someone to have history with. And that was the one thing I’m always going to miss out on. Having history with people. Even if I became friends with these people, I’d never be as important to them as they’d be to me.
I guess I should’ve gotten used to this. But feeling like I don’t belong wasn’t a feeling I wanted to get used to.
New chapters every Sunday!
New chapters every Sunday!