Today is the first day of school.
Whoopee! Not. We just moved into a ‘new’ apartment. I hate this place! The
bathrooms are leaky, the bedrooms are always cold, and the kitchen, if you can
call it that, consists of a broken down refrigerator, an old table, and no
stove. We have to use the fire place to warm up during the weekends, and it’s
not even cold outside!
says that we have to get use to everything for a while, but it’s only
temporary. The only reason we moved from Tennessee was because Granny got sick again
so we came down here to be with her. She and I share a room with my two younger
twin sisters, JO and Jane, while my older brother Harold sleeps on the floor in
my parent’s room.
I know this year is gonna stink, just like my summer. I didn’t get any new
clothes this year so I’m going to have to wear the same clothes that I wore in
seventh grade which are waaay too
small for me now. Yep, the life of a teenage kid is rough. The only thing I’m
looking forward to are volleyball tryouts after school. I was pretty good back
home, my friends said so. I just hope that I don’t have to bump into a bunch of
bratty rich kids at this new school. If I do I don’t know what will become of
Mary Jane (MJ)
I slapped my battered
notebook closed and dropped it and my pencil on the floor besides my blow up
mattress. We had to leave our real beds back in Tennessee because they were too
big to fit into our old pickup truck.
Most of my things stayed behind because of this move.
Granny, my 95 year old great-grandmother,
snored beside me on her own mattress. She was hooked up to a large oxygen tank
that rattled every time she breathed. I sat up, leaned my head against the wall
and glanced over at the mess by my ‘bed’. I noticed a tattered bible sitting on
top of the pile, so I picked it up. Mom must have dropped it here last night
when she and dad were unpacking one of the few boxes we had. The words on the
front page were faded, so all you could see were ‘little’ and ‘bible’. I flipped
to the inside cover. A faded note read: Dear
Mary Jane, remember that God loves you yesterday, today, and forever more. Love
I tossed it to the side
and scowled. “What has God ever done for me?” I grumbled, “Every time I try to
pray something always goes wrong. When I prayed for Granny to get better, she
only got worse. If God really cared he would have made her better so that we
wouldn’t have to make this stupid move to Texas.” I felt hot, angry tears form in
my eyes and wiped them away. Pushing myself off the bed, I walked across the
hallway to the bathroom. The floor felt cold and hard under my bare feet.
I stared at myself in
the cracked mirror. A dark shadow had fallen across my face, something I had
gotten used to over the past few weeks.
I turned on the faucet, which let out enough water to wet my toothbrush.
We were out of toothpaste for now so I just had to scrub my tongue extra hard.
gagging myself three times, I washed out my toothbrush and set it on the
counter. Picking up a comb, I tried to comb out the dirty blonde tangles in my
hair. I yanked and picked and combed until most of the knots were out. My mom
always insisted on me washing my hair every morning so I stuck my head under
the shower faucet and turned on the water.
Water shot out of the
spout at full speed in all directions. I yelped as the freezing cold liquid hit
me in the face. I tried to reach for the faucet but water had sprayed into my
eyes so I couldn’t see anything. Suddenly, I felt a towel on my face. I grabbed
it and rubbed away the water in my eyes. When I could finally open them I saw
my mom, a medium height full blonde, staring at me with sad hazel eyes.
She had already turned
off the water, which had gotten all over the small bathroom. The cheap wall
paper was beginning to peel and the floor was covered with puddles.
I looked at the ground
and bit my lip. “Ssorry, ma.” I said. “I didn’t mean to…” I tried to choke back
the lump that was traveling up my throat, but a sob managed to escape. I felt
tears mingled with water trickled down my face as I made an effort to stop the
flow of waterworks ready to come. Before I knew it, mom had me in her arms,
hugging me tight. I let the tears come out.
“I wanna go back ma.” I
sobbed into her shoulder, “Why can’t we just go back?” Mom held me at arm’s
length and smiled sadly through her own tears.
“Sweetheart, you know
we can’t, at least not now.” she said in her soft country accent. “We have to
wait until Granny gets better. But until then, you need to make the best out of
this situation, okay?” I nodded. What else could I do?
“Can you do my hair?” I
asked softly, sweeping wet strands of hair away from my face.
She smiled and gave me
another hug. “Sure.”
“And remember, if you
don’t need to use all of your lunch money then don’t ok?”
“Okay, ma.” I answered.
I was standing on a corner a block away from the
bus stop with Mom, who insisted on waiting with me until the bus came.
“Don’t forget that I’m
driving you home after the volleyball tryouts, so just wait for me by the car,
“Ma! I know what to do
already.” I interrupted. I looked past her and saw the yellow bus slowly pull
up to the stop. Several kids were getting on already. “Ma I gotta go. The bus
is here.” I said. I gave her a quick kiss on the cheek and dashed off, trying
to get to the bus before it left. My old backpack bounced up and down; the
heavy books inside made it even harder to run.
“Wait,” I yelled,
waving my arms, “don’t leave yet!” I slowed down and trotted up to the front
bus door, breathing heavily. The driver glanced at me and frowned.
Panting, I plodded up
the steps and walked down the skinny aisle, looking for a seat. Kids stared at
me, probably wondering what a girl like me was doing here. I tugged at the
bottom of my shirt, trying to stretch it out so that it could be a little
longer. All around me kids were wearing expensive clothing and had fancy
looking backpacks and lunchboxes. One girl was texting on a shimmering blue and
green bedazzled smart phone, a painful reminder of the fact that I still didn’t
have one of my own.
I quickly found a seat
near the back that was empty. Two guys across from me stared and whispered to
each other. I looked down at my clothes. My faded jeans high watered above my
ankles, showing off too-high socks and old sneakers. My t-shirt was covered
with white paint from when I helped paint my ‘new’ bedroom walls last week. My
face turned beet red as I stared out of the corner of my eye at the two boys.
They both looked, well, not unattractive, which didn’t help. What was worse
than two cute boys looking at you when you looked like a terrible mess?
For the next five
minutes they kept whispering and snickering at me. I hate this, I hate this, I hate this. Stop looking at me! I
thought. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stood up and looked them dead
in the eye.
“What are you lookin’
at, huh?” I said, trying to sound tough, “Why do you keep staring at me like
that?” The whole bus got quiet. Everyone stared at me. But I couldn’t cower or
else, what would people think of me? The two boys looked at around, as if I
would be talking to anyone else. “Yeah I’m talking to you. You’re acting like
you’v never seen a person before. So why do you keep staring at me? Do you
like me?” That last part came out before I even thought about it. Before I
could suck the words back into my mouth, both boys erupted in laughter.
“You, you think that I like you!” The blonde headed one said. He turned to the boy with dark
skin and fro hawk. “Yo Andrew, do you like this chic?”
Andrew laughed and
answered, “Nah, man. I wouldn’t dream of it!” My face turned beet red. By now
most of the kids towards the back were laughing like hyenas. Clenching my fist,
I tried to think of a good come back, but nothing came to me. The bus driver
looked at the rear view mirror and frowned at me again. “Sit down.” he
commanded. I sat down back in my seat and turned my head towards the window, so
that no one could see the tears forming in my eyes.