Fun fact; the Olive Branches project was born right here on the Guide discussion forum back in late 2021 to early 2022.
It’s pretty inspirational watching how the eight writers have grown and improved in the two years since writing these chapters. They are now middle-school to university-aged and continuing to write. And hopefully, you’ll get to see some of their current writing on Guide sometime.
This chapter was written by pathfinder4ever.
Monday, September 7 – Omari Brown
Okay, cool. This will be easy. Just stay focused, stay in my own corner, and I shouldn’t have to say much.
I take a deep breath as I slip on my new uniform. I slowly run my fingers against the embroidered words on my light yellow uniform sweater. Western Ontario Adventist Academy.
This should be interesting. I really didn’t want to go to school, but now that I’m in high school my dad and mom are forcing me. My baby sister Laila is old enough for daycare so Mom decided she could go to work again. She homeschooled me almost all of my life. She’s really amazing. She’s actually my stepmom, but we look just alike. We have similar personalities too. She’s the closest out of all my family to me. She’s the only one who understands my severely introverted personality.
But, here I am…..Going to school…Again. “Way to go, God, now I have to deal with people every day,” I think to myself.
Once I have my afro pick halfway through my hair, my sister Ayesha screams out my name as if I had just committed a serious crime. “Omarrrr, it’s 7:13 hurry up!!”
I hiss through my teeth and continue combing my hair. “I’m coming Ayesha, let a man breathe!!” I stare in the mirror for a brief second as I study my face. A rush of sadness mixed with anxiety rushes over me.
The memories of my short days at Crawford are on my mind. The overwhelming feelings still seem so familiar. I had decided I was never going back years ago. That was in the third grade. But here I am.…
I quickly pick up my backpack and join my two sisters on the front porch, where they are waiting for me. “Well, you look nice….Okay, Marii with the uniform!”
I’m still kinda distraught but I smile slightly at my older sister Danielle’s comment. Danielle (I call her Lea) is the family clown. She never fails to make us all laugh. Her bouncing curls and Hollywood-type personality always have guys falling in love. Yet she can never keep one, ha. She’s an amazing older sister despite her terrible romantic efforts.
I used to have three older siblings, now Lea’s the only one left. But, this isn’t the time to talk about that….
On a brighter note, maybe today won’t be too bad after all…
The ride to school is a short one. Three miles to be exact. Approximately 7 minutes away. Once we arrive at school, I look around at my fellow schoolmates. There are only a few children in the building. As I enter my classroom, I am warmly greeted by a smiling, dark-haired girl.
“Hi! I’m Hannah. Nice to meet you!! I like your sweater by the way.”
I smile as I look down at our pastel yellow sweaters. I kinda like how it looks with my grey pants and blue tie underneath. It isn’t my typical style, but for some reason it fits together like bun and cheese.
Hannah has on an identical uniform sweater, and it makes me smile a bit to think someone else likes it that much.
“Thanks,” I say shyly.
“Would you like to sit next to me? You’re the first person I’ve talked to on my first day of high school… Other than Mr. Davi and D.K. of course!” I look at the girl for a second.
Boy, can she talk…She seems nice though. I guess it won’t hurt…
“Sure, that would be cool…..Hannah, right?”
Hannah nods and smiles as I sit next to her. Pretty soon, the rest of the students begin coming in.
“So, where are you from? Have you always lived out here?”
I turn to Hannah and shake my head, but she continues to talk.
“Ooh! Where did you live before?”
“Around Toronto,” I say.
But Hannah continues to keep the conversation going as if I’m interested. I mean, am I?
“Wow!! I’ve actually never been there, it’s so sad. Wait…. Why don’t you pronounce the other t in Toronto? Like I’ve never understood that….”
I turn to her and sigh quietly.
“That’s just how we do it in the Six…”
I am slightly annoyed already. Man, girl just talkin’.
I guess she can read my mind because she quickly realizes that I am a bit frustrated. She quickly sits back and tries to cover her flaming red cheeks. When I glance over and notice my new friend blushing, I begin to think.
Wow, she’s so….pretty. I wonder why she’s even talking to a guy like me….
My trail of thought is quickly interrupted by Mr. Davi’s booming voice. “Good morning everyone!! Welcome to Western Ontario Adventist Academy. I’m so happy to meet each, and every one of you. Let’s start with a word of prayer and a small meet and greet.”
As he looks around at the class he points directly out to ME. “You, young man. Please pray for us.”
For a short second, I forget how to pray. I look around the room. Although there are less than 10 students, I feel overwhelmed and scared.
I slowly bow my head and pray.“Father God….um, thanks for this day..Thanks for keeping us safe, thanks for my new friend Ha…Um..Amen..”
Oh my gosh. Did I just say her name out loud? How did I do that….
I am almost scared to look up. I nearly mentioned Hannah’s name in front of everyone.
Do I have a crush on her already?
I quickly spin around because I feel a soft tap on my back. As I turn, I noticed that it was my twin sister Ayesha. She’s holding in her laughter with a funny look on her face.
I then realise that she had been right behind me the entire time Hannah was talking to me.
Now it’s my turn to be embarrassed.
She’s never gonna leave me alone. Great. So much for the first day of school.