School was boring me, as usual. Eugene, Oregon was boring me too. The whole atmosphere of the grassy place bored me ever since I was born. Outside was pouring buckets of rain and snow as usual in January. English was…English—Mr. Platen and his annoying monotonic lectures never appeared to end. We were discussing the internal conflicts of Hamlet…kill me. I was fiddling with my pen, concentrating on how many times I thought the hour hand went around the circumference on the clock. I couldn't believe it was only first period. This week I'd been in the worst mood and my streak didn't end today.
I could hear the tapping of the rain on the roof of the school and closed my eyes for a moment. My hands ran through my dull brown hair, and then we heard a knock at the door.
"Come in," Mr. Platen voiced in an uninterested tone.
The door opened slowly and a girl walked in. She had sleek black hair that came down past her shoulders and bright blue eyes that glanced around the room quickly. Her skin was a natural, smooth tan shade with no makeup to cover her perfect face. She showed the class a bright, fun smile.
"Hi, is this Mr. Platen's eleventh grade English class?" she asked mildly.
"Yes, and you are?"
"I'm Sara Barren, I'm new here," she said.
"Ah, yes," Mr. Platen drawled, "they told me about you. Take a seat anywhere you'd like, make yourself comfortable and meet with me after class. Did you read Hamlet in your other school?"
"Um, no sir, I didn't."
"Well then take a seat next to…" He looked around for one of the open seats next to any students. "Mr. Collen in the back. He should be able to brief you." Great! I'm already in a horrible mood and I have to tutor a new student. He turned his attention to me. "I hope you don't mind, Mr. Collen?"
"Not at all, Mr. Platen." I looked at him with a fake smile—he fell for it gullibly.
Sara Barren strode down the aisle to the brown desk at my right and gave me a warm grin. I pretended not to notice her.
"Hi," she whispered to me, "I'm Sara."
"Yes, I've heard." Why was I so crabby?
"…And you are?"
I looked reproachfully back at her. Man, I was a real jerk. She looked sorry she'd ever started talking to me.
"Okay," she said, I could hear the chagrin in her voice. That was the only thing I heard from her for the rest of class. Though, I did see her look at me a couple of times.
After English I grabbed my things and headed out of the classroom to Spanish. At least that class didn't have a teacher with a completely dead voice—or a new student to deal with, trying to make new friends; a place where I could sulk by myself without any distractions.
Class hadn't yet started and I noticed for the first time the guy next to me, Brandon Conway, was absent. Then, as Señora Ridad was about to begin, someone came in late with a knock at the door…kill me again.
Sara greeted us with the same introduction like in English, and Señora Ridad looked around to find an open seat. All were taken except for Brandon Conway's empty one. I tried to think happier thoughts; maybe take a trip to the place inside my head where everything passed by me at the speed of light so I couldn't notice. I couldn't get there in time. Sara sat down in Brandon's seat and I could feel her stare burning a hole into my side. She hadn't spoken to me at all, supposing I might have hated her for no reason. It was sort of uncomfortable to have her sitting there right next to me after our encounter in English. The air felt like it was getting thicker and the atmosphere was changing. I barely made it through that class without yelling at her to stop sitting next to me. It was too awkward, and I bet it was for her too. So why would she do anything to make us both feel discomfited on purpose?
Next was lunch. Thankfully Sara didn't have early lunch with me, also, so I sat with my friends Nat and Emmett. She seemed to be one of the top stories on campus and nobody had said a word to her except for me.
"So, how goes it today?" Nat broke the silence at our table.
"It goes…eh," was Emmett's reply.
I responded by lying, "Everything's awesome."
"Really…?" Nat asked surprised, but also suspicious. Come to think of it, I can understand why she would be. I'd been miserable throughout the past few days, and it was already Thursday.
"Sure, why wouldn't I be?"
"Well," Emmett broke in, "you haven't actually been a ray of sunshine this week."
"So, how does that affect the way I feel today?" I asked, trying my hardest not to let them know that my day was the same as the others.
"Well, one reason could be that when you start the week in a bad mood, you're in a bad mood through the whole week…naturally. And then, there's the fact that you're lying…" she spoke matter-of-factly. Her words sounded more like her telling me that I was lying rather than guessing it. She knew.
"How did you know?" I questioned.
"You always blink really fast when you lie," Nat notified me. It was true. I'd been caught lying more than just once because my eyes gave it away.
"Oh, yeah, I sort of forgot…somehow," I said meekly.
"How can you forget what gets you caught when you lie?" Emmett commented.
I glowered at him, making him subconsciously shut his mouth. "I don't know, I just did, okay?" I was still looking angrily at him.
"Okay, enough with the death staring." Nat waved her hand a few inches from my face. I stopped. "What's wrong this time?"
"Same thing. I'm just in a bad mood today for no reason."
"For no reason? That makes sense…like it did Monday, Tuesday, and―" Emmett instigated.
"Emmett, don't push him," Nat interrupted.
"Well, no, it's just that, my bad mood sort of scared away the new girl, Sara." I resumed my glaring at Emmett.
"Oh, yeah, I saw her she's so―" Emmett stopped after he realized Nat and I were staring him down, though, for different reasons.
Nat spoke in her usual cheering-up voice, "Well, I'm sure everything will be fine, Cale. Just because you were in a bad mood today doesn't mean tomorrow will be the same. She'll forgive you for your stupid-reasoned moody day."
"Gee, thanks, Nat," I replied sarcastically.
We quieted down after that for a bit.
I don't get why I was in such a crappy mood this week. I woke up fine, and then I got to school, which was most likely the problem, school usually brought me down. I guess Sara could spend her first day thinking I was a complete psychopath—I could apologize tomorrow. She probably assumed I had some anger problems. I could live with those assumptions for one day.
I looked into a window across the cafeteria. The rain died down to a light drizzle and the sun seemed to be taking a break from hiding behind the clouds for so long. The green of the forest in back looked as if it would swallow the school. For living in Eugene my whole life I don't think I ever went into its forests.
Then, the bell rang and I had third period History with Ms. Bell. This was probably my favorite class out of them all. Ms. Bell knew me the most and she was the one I talked to the most. I couldn't carry on more than a two second conversation with any of my other teachers. She was a family friend that was close to Kariss, my mom. Of course, I didn't really call my mom by her name except when we were alone together or she was inadvertently ignoring me; it was our little inside joke since I was ten. In return for that, she called me by my full name, Caleb. I hated it, but it was just meant to be a joke between the two of us.
My mom and I lived alone together in our small ranch. She was an artist, but she made it big in that industry. I got my talent for that particular subject from her. All in all, she was a fun mom, and she knew how to respect my privacy and give me the space I needed.
"Okay, guys, I'll talk to you later," I said. They nodded at me and said bye.
I got up and threw away my tray full of uneaten food. I wasn't hungry today, and school always had lunch too close to breakfast. That's why I always brought my own snack and ate in History: Ms. Bell let me, and it was closer to lunchtime. I weaved through the crowd of people that all tried to squeeze in through the double doors and went to my locker to grab my History books and a bag of chips.
At my locker I saw Sara struggling with all of her things five lockers down. She was trying to open her locker while balancing umpteen amounts of books under her left arm. I gazed at her for a brief moment. She didn't look like she belonged in Eugene. Instead she looked like she should have been a model for a runway magazine. Her hands pushed her hair back subconsciously after bending down to grab a binder from the bottom section of her locker. My god she was beautiful.
After my daydream I rushed to room 141, Ms. Bell hadn't started teaching yet so I was safe. She was sitting at her desk, almost expecting me to be late.
"Hello Cale," she greeted happily.
"Hi, Ms. Bell, how are you?" I asked politely.
"I am just fine, thank you. And you?"
"Oh, you know how it is, same old same old," I said and took my seat in the middle row four chairs back. Call me a suck-up but I actually liked talking with her.
I looked around. There were a few empty seats. Not everyone was in class yet. I guess I was earlier than I thought. Setting my books under my desk, I pulled out my bag of chips and pulled the two sides apart, opening it. We had an active discussion on the differences between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War despite the time period.
History passed along with my fading unhappiness, and so did the rest of my classes. I found that Sara had sixth period Physics with Nat and I—another class with the new girl. I was debating with myself on whether to make an apology during class or not, and quickly decided that it might not be the best idea to do it while in class.
Emmett didn't have any classes with Nat or me; he was a senior, a grade above us. Him and Nat were sort of together, but they weren't going out. They wanted to take their time before forming a relationship.
After school I drove straight home to find my mom in her studio doing some abstract splatter painting.
"Hey, honey, how was school?" she asked, knowing I woke up in a bad mood today.
"Eh, fine. There's a new girl that has, like, three classes with me. Her name's Sara Barren," I told her. I didn't mention how I treated her the way I did today, that wouldn't be good.
"Oh, the Barrens' girl?"
"Do you know her?"
"No, but I've met her parents, they're moving in a few doors down," she acknowledged. "She has an older brother, he's a senior." That made me think about if Sara would tell anyone about the crazy boy she met at her first day of school in Eugene.
"They are the people buying the Mayruds' house?" A family called the Mayruds owned the mansion that was a couple of doors down from our house; it was absolutely humungous. Though, I'd never actually seen the inside, the house looked gorgeous, and I was sure the inside was complementary to the outside. "Did they move in yet? I didn't see a moving truck." If they were moving in maybe I could apologize for my moody attitude while I had the chance.
"No, they aren't moving in until tomorrow. Their things need to be shipped in from Seattle."
"They moved from Seattle?"
"Yeah, what's wrong with that?" she asked.
"Oh, nothing, I was just wondering why they would choose a boring town like this to live in…" I trailed off. Kariss and I chuckled together even though she liked living in Eugene.
After our conversation, I bounded up the stairs to my room. Maybe if I did my homework I could get my mind off Sara. Calculus took me less than twenty minutes, and the other homework I was given in Spanish and Physics set the thoughts in my head back another ten minutes each. I put my books back into my bag and lay on my bed trying to extract those intoxicating notions from my head.
I soon found out that it was impossible. Her image stayed in my head.
I'll just apologize to her tomorrow before class starts, and if I don't catch her, I always have English and Spanish, I thought to myself.
What if she doesn't want to talk to me? What if she's so disgusted with me that she won't even give me the chance to say sorry for being a total idiot? It was such a dumb reason act like that toward someone who was just intending to be friends in the first place.
My room was quite large for living in a small ranch. It was more of a loft. The walls lead up diagonally to the ceiling making the room feel cozy and inviting, though it also made it look like it was smaller than it really was. I lay quietly in my bed thinking about her. I didn't want to say her name—or think it for that matter—because I did it way too much in the past hour I'd been home. Why did I even care if she didn't talk to me? Was a girl that I didn't even know that important to me?
The truth was obvious seeing as how many times her name flew across my mind. I stayed in my room the rest of the night, missing dinner and thinking about how I would apologize to Sara for my stupidity impulse today. Then, I drifted into a peaceful, dreamless sleep. Hopefully, tomorrow I would get my chance.