This story contains swearing
My new school doesn't suck. The only parts that suck is that I'm already known throughout half the entire 7th grade, thanks to my mom, stumbling into my classroom with half a bottle of liquor in her hand. Well, it could have passed as water or something stupid, and thats what everyone thinks as far as I'm concerned, but lets get this straight. I am not stupid.
But as my feet echo against the lonely floor of the hallway, I start to doubt it. I tighten my grip around the yellow piece of plastic hanging around my neck. As I approach the office, I feel a wave of anxiety, just like if you were to shiver from cold, rack my body. I shake it off and knock on the slick wooden door. A moment or two later, a woman with thin dark hair and a permanent smile plastered on her pale face opens the door.
"Hello," She squints at my name tag, and then repeats, "Hello there, Mr. Ty?" She says, but it's sounds like she's questioning it. "Short for Tyler, Yeah." I tell her. My hands won't stop shaking. I go to thrust them into my pockets, but remember the paper I'm holding. The woman looks at me expectantly. "Um, I uh, Mrs. Cattle sent me to um, make copies of this paper." I finally shove the words out of my mouth, cringing. "Okay then." She hurries back to her office thing, and a whoosh of air slaps my creased face. A sense of doubt that I arrived at the wrong place fills my bones. Then the woman opens the door, shaking her head, and gestures for me to step in. I do. She puts her hand out, and for a moment I'm confused. "Paper?" She asks. She doesn't sound annoyed, just amused. I slap it into her hand, and she places it on the printer. My eyes travel around the big room. Office people type on computers, phones ring, walkie-talkies screech, artwork of famous people-Rosa Parks, William Shakespeare, Frida Kahlo-line the blindingly white walls. I sit back in a crimson red armchair right as the woman pulls out a stack of papers from the printer. I hop back up, and thank her before heading out the door. I almost run straight into a woman with worried blue eyes and blonde hair, who reminds me too much of my own mother. She stumbles past me and into the office and starts giving the office ladies shit about her kid not having a good enough education. I shake my head, as if it would clear the waterfall of thoughts cascading my brain.
At lunch, I sit with the usual kids. Manny, Jake, Crystal, Ryan, the list goes on, those are just a few kids I sit with. Well, hang out with. Yeah. I have a friend group. A pretty big one, maybe because my dumb-ass jailbird mother showed up wasted at my school.
I guess that's considered 'cool' nowadays. I guess you could say I'm 'cool', or I decide what's 'cool' since I'm one of those kids. The ones that prance down the hallways and around the campus like they own the place. Friends with everyone. Known to everyone. Head of the gang. The kid who could show up at school wearing Frozen pajamas and create a trend. You can hate me for this. You should hate me for this. Especially now.
Gabriel stands at the head of our table. He's at the bottom of the food chain at our school, if you know what I mean. He's pretty tall, with neat, short, dirty blonde hair, and glasses too big to fit him, so he pushes them up every five seconds. "Your supposed to sit at your ASSIGNED seats!" He informs us, and a rage of laughter erupts from out table. "Bro who?" I speak up. Gabriel looks confused. "What do you mean? Mrs. Wallatzky-"
"Asked?! Who asked??" I howl, and the table howls with me.
Guilt threatens to swallow me. He's just doing his duty, as the student lunch monitor. "Why don't you go tell on us, huh?" Manny taunts. He glares at us, his lips lifting. "Yeah, come on you little pussy, go tell Mr. Pierce. I'm sure he'll gives us detention for weeks," Ally sneers, and with that, Gabriel ups and leaves us calling him names. "Bro, that was racist," Manny mutters. I know it wasn't. I know we shouldn't be such jerks. But I can't lose my place, or else I'll just be another Gabriel for them to kick dirt at.
After lunch, 4th period starts, and I head to math, my least favorite class. I sit bored for maybe twenty minutes as Mrs. Averly goes on about some random homework crap. I hear the annual thunk of Mary's big red water bottle, and my eyes shoot over there. She juts her chin at me, and I grin. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING??" she whisper shouts. I shrug, my eyes traveling up and down her dark blue boyfriend jeans, and her black tank. We just start chatting. She's so easy to chat to. Everyone else just wants to talk shit about each other, but it's just so easy to slip into her light, laughing hazel eyes, and her slightly lifted lips, with her dimples.
"Mr. Ty and Mrs. Mary, please quiet down so our class can enjoy this fun lesson," Mrs. Averly says in a clipped tone, and a couple kids snicker when she spits out the word 'fun' into her sentence. I grin, and turn back to the board. My fingers fumble as I pull out my phone, absolutely bored of her lecture already, and it slips. I wince as it crashes into the floor. Silence. Footsteps. A hand reaches down and swipes my phone. "Office." Mrs. Averly directs, her voice strained. I stand, flip her off behind my back as she turns, earning a wave of giggles. I shut the door, shove my hands back into my pockets, and set off, taking the long way. I whistle the tune to Addict With A Pen, one of my favorite Non-rap songs to listen to. I turn into the cafeteria, and the first thing I see is a girl. No. Not just a girl. She has her head in her arms, and her body is shaking. I want to run over to her, hug her, tell her she's okay, tell her she's understood, tell her everything I want to hear, but the silence between us as she lifts her head is everlasting. I turn on my heels, my mind screaming at me to turn back around, but I keep going. Down the hallway. Nothing comes out of my mouth when Darion struts down the hallway. He juts his chin at me, and I don't move other than my steady rhythm of walking.
The punishment for being on my phone isn't vast, just a day of lunch detention. Just to waste time, I head to the bathroom, and then take a loop back to the classroom. I collapse in my chair, gathering my items, aware that the bell is going to ring any moment. It does. The sound is sickening, and it makes my head throb. I step out of the too-bright classroom, and straight into the too-bright too-crowded too-small hallway. Kids shove past me, knocking each other into the wall. Knocking me into the wall. I find my pace between someone who could almost touch the ceiling if he tried hard enough and someone around my size. They're both walking relatively fast, but better than slow. Then the ceiling-high kid turns left, and I turn right to the front of the school. I end up behind Manny.
Part of me tugs to switch pace and go to the back end of the school, to a different exit, but I still have my backpack, waiting there in my locker. Halfway through my overthinking process, he stops short and I slam into him. "Yo, bitch, what are you-" He whips around, and spotting me, replaces his confrontational look with a grin. "Yoooo, dab me up, bro," I grab his hand, and he pounds my back. "No, Mrs. Kogel gave me a fucking referral because I was, "In the bathroom too long, like who the fuck does that?" He laughs, and I laugh too. "Yeah, bro, I'll see you tomorrow," I say, and I fall right. There's some girl who only shows up on A days, when she doesn't have PE, who has the locker beneath me, so I don't have to worry about her as I spin my code. I retrieve my backpack and stuff my binder in. I slam my locker and turn around.
Mary stands there, her acorn colored hair in place around her shoulders. "Hey, Ty. I was wondering if you wanted to, um, hang out? Maybe? This Saturday? Like, tomorrow?" She bites her lip, like it was painful to ask that question. My brain is screaming, so happy right now, but I just shrug. "Ya. Sounds cool." And I turn away from her, towards the buses.
On Saturday, I wake up, and the first thing I do is check my phone. Still nothing. I've probably checked my phone every hour since she asked if I wanted to hang out. I tap her profile, staring at the most recent message. It was her. Four weeks ago. We were working on a project in class. She had said,
Mary: Nice working with you
I read it. I never replied. But now, I do.
Me: nice working with u to
She responds like lightning.
Me: still wanna hang?
Mary: I'm down
Me: u no were days park is
Me: meet me there?
I put on a pair of jeans, and a hoodie. I grab my earbuds off of my shelf, and plug them in. I play the song Prom night, by Riovaz. It echoes in my head as I near the park. I sit down on a wet, rainy, bench. It's not very comfortable.
Mary arrives a few minutes later, in a pair of ripped jeans and a light pink turtleneck. She smiles when she sees me. "Hey." She says.
"Hey." I say, pushing back the urge to get up and hug her for not ditching me. Freezing rain pounds us. We both stand/sit there for a moment, before I suggest heading to my house. She nods relieved, and we run across the wet grass, and start walking a few seconds after our feet touch the sidewalk. She's laughing, a quiet, heart splitting laugh. Not bad heart splitting, just, well, heart splitting. I stare at the ground, then, swallowing my anxiety, ask her what type of music she likes. Her shoulders rise and fall. "Anything, really. She tells me. I nod, and hand her one of the earbuds. I play the song Arabella, by Arctic Monkeys. "Oh my god, I love this song!" She squeals. I laugh, then kick myself for it. I clear my throat. "Ya, it's cool." Her smile falters, and she stares down at her feet.
As I hold open my front door, I have to bite my lip to avoid saying anything cringry, like 'after you,' or 'ladies first'. My mom's in the kitchen, and she waves. "Hey Ty, Hey Ty's girlfriend!" She waves. My face flames. "She's not my girlfriend, mom. It's just Mary." I mutter, through gritted teeth. She just laughs. Mary looks a bit uncomfortable. "Sorry." I apologize as we get to my room. She just forces a laugh. "It's, uh, it's alright." She says. But I doubt it.
We spend most of the time talking, or showing each other photo's of our pets (Or former pets, in my case). I walk her home an hour or two later, and we stand by her bleach white door. ""It was great hanging out with you, Ty." She says. I nod. "Yeah. It was aweso-" I cut myself off. "See you Monday, Mary." I tell her. Before I go, I give her a good, long kiss, tongue and all. Her eyes twinkle, and I hear her door shut as I'm walking away.
On Monday, I do see her. She smiles at me in the hallway. I see her all the time. And at lunch, when Gabriel comes to remind us to switch tables, my brain stops overthinking for once. "Yo, kid, you have any extra lunch money?" Jake shouts, and the table roars. "Hey, guys, chill, he's just doing his job. Besides, what the fuck are the teachers gonna do? Make us move?" I raise my voice. There's confused laughter, but then Crystal shouts out, "Ya know, he's got a point. Teachers are clueless." A wave of agreement floats up. I nod at Gabriel. He has a confused look on his face, but he stumbles off. "Bye bye, Birdie! Go fly away to your friends!" Lester sneers, and I fake chirp, just for good measure.
The next few weeks float by. I don't feel so inclined to stick to my big group of friends. I find my flow with Ivy, a girl with long black hair, and milky brown eyes, eyes that you get lost looking in, Ethan, an insecure boy with light blonde hair, and eyes that look like a river in the cold, freezing winter, Lexi, a girl with hair that's a puff of curly, golden-brown hair resting on her head, and evergreen eyes, and Filipino, a boy with black hair, pale skin and the greenest eyes. They're all what you could call 'cool,' and they're known, like if you walked up to some random nobody and asked if they knew who they were, 80% of those kids would spit out a yes.
And then, there's Mary. Yes. We're dating.
And maybe my life is better now.
And maybe it'll stay better.
Well, I hope so.