A couple of days later
New school. Again. Probably the 13th time I’d changed schools. Or maybe the 12th.
I nabbed the nearest table and surveyed the lunchroom. It was pretty much the same as any other lunchroom. Loud. Packed. Chaotic. High schoolers are animals. I spotted Theo sitting at the middle table, surrounded by rowdy kids. I waved. He quickly shifted his gaze. “What’s with him?” I chewed my lip. Seriously. He was acting weird. “Well, if he wants to ignore me, no big deal. I don’t need him anyway.” I bit into my sub sandwich.
“Umm . . . can I sit here?” I glanced up. A pretty (not drop-dead pretty, just normal pretty) girl grinned at me. Black twists trailed down her simple smiley emoji tee. Her skin and her capris were the same colour— over toasted burrito. “Yeah. It’s not like I own this table.” I immediately kicked myself.
“Touchè.” she giggled, sliding into the seat. “I’m Brianna.” She twirled a shiny twist.
“Are you new here?”
“Whatcha think?” Yikes. What was wrong with me? I couldn’t even have a normal conversation without getting sarcastic.
She giggled again. “Sorry. Dumb question. On behalf of our nonexistent welcoming committee, welcome! I hope you’ll like it here.”
“So, where are you from?” Brianna nibbled a carrot stick.
Tricky question. “I’ve lived in many places. But I still consider myself a loyal Ontarian.”
“I’ve never been outside of Ontario yet. I’ve never even been to Niagara Falls.” Brianna sighed dramatically.
“I went. Once, when I was 6.” I blurted. It was before the Mall Incident. I remembered the mist sprinkling my face. The rainbows arching over the falls. And the drumming of the water. Pastor James had said “Isn’t it amazing? Nature seems to shout “God is awesome”!” And I’d agreed. I was a naive fool back then.
“Aww! Lucky you!” Brianna squealed
Lucky? Practically the opposite of my life. I smiled blandly.
“Umm, actually you’re blessed,” she said.
“Yeah. Definitely blessed.” I mumbled.
“Do you play a sport?” Brianna bit into a brownie.
“I used to play basketball. I’m not too bad at tennis either.” A flash of motion caught my attention. I glanced over and saw a blonde girl walking through the cafeteria.
No. It couldn’t be.
But she had the same white-blonde hair, though it was now in a fancy French braid. The same wide gray eyes. Even the smattering of freckles was still there.
“Oaklee?” The name burst from my lips. The girl turned and her lips curled slightly. “So we meet again, Tara. Or should I say, Atarah?” She said smoothly.
“You guys know each other?” Brianna asked, head flipping between us like a Ping-Pong ball.
“Let’s just say, we have some history.” Oaklee flashed a dazzling smile.
“Great!” Brianna beamed. “Oaklee’s new here too. She just started school here in May. And then there was summer break. I’m sure she’ll be glad to have someone to hang out with.”
I felt the blood pulsing through my veins. A dull pain radiated across my forehead. Life was about to get tough.
This week’s questions! Who is Oaklee? Why does Tara think that life is going to get tough? What’s the matter with Theo? What do you think about Brianna?
Thanks for reading! I appreciate your comments.