I met more people at lunch. There was Cayman who was a guy with a typical teenage boy sense of humor and a larger than life personality. I'm pretty sure he was gay. There was Jamie; a small mousy girl who was so quiet I barely got her name. Too many names, I knew I wouldn't remember them all. Chloe, Clara, Richard, Trad, Morgan, Alex, Cayman, Jamie, Siobhan. I would never remember.
Taylor took me to class. I was there for Creative Writing and so were Taylor, Clara, and Siobhan. This comforted me, though I barely knew them.
She led me up a flight of concrete stairs and down some halls.
"Hope you don't mind," She said, "Class doesn't start for another 15 minutes."
I didn't mind. I didn't mind at all. She explained that creative writing had three levels but they all met in the level 1 room for attendance and announcements everyday. Clara and Siobhan were already there. Siobhan was pretty, with dull green eyes and stringy blonde hair. Her speech was bold and brass maybe a bit arrogant. She wasn't mean to me so I guess I didn't have a problem with it.
"Are we being lockers today?" Taylor asked as she dropped her backpack down on an unoccupied chair. I followed suit.
"No, we're just laying on the floor, staring at the ceiling," Siobhan answered still staring at the ceiling. I didn't know if she was being sarcastic or not and I didn't know what being lockers meant.
Taylor laid down with her back to the floor. I looked at them in confusion. This was pretty weird. Imagine if you were me and you watched as three people stared at the ceiling on their backs, not talking.
"Do you know what a locker is?" Clara was talking. Her voice seemed odd in the silent room.
"A place to put things at school?" My answer sounded dumb to my own ears but nobody laughed. It looked like Siobhan was falling asleep.
"All lockers look the same on the outside," Taylor said. Her eyes were closed. She looked angelic.
"But lockers hold different stuff on the inside though. Some of the stuff is typical run-of-the-mill stuff like lunchboxes and books. But some lockers hold…needles and pills and razor blades. But you would never know because a locker's job is to hold all that stuff, to conceal it so no body else can see inside unless they have the combination."
I looked at them, all of them. They seemed so normal before.
I laid down next to them.
The ceiling had high-cross beams of thick wood and metal. The entire building seemed to be exposed brick, metal, and wood. It should've felt cold. But it wasn't.
We lay there for fifteen minutes staring at the ceiling. It was calming. The room was wide and open, not like a typical classroom at all. There were more pillows and beanbags than actual chairs and no student desks in sight. It was the perfect place for writers. I knew I would like it here.
Class had been fun but nerve wracking. Level 1's teacher was a man named Michael Lee. Despite looking like he was in his late 20s, he had silver hair, not gray, silver. And he talked in a deeply ponderous tone like a philosophical scholar.
We were reading Revolutionary Road. The students varied in ages and grades since most came from other schools through a half-day program. In fact, only Clara, Siobhan, Taylor, and I went to NOCCA for academics as well as our art in the Level 1 class.
There was this one girl, Tori who wouldn't return the next quarter. Her parents were strapped for cash and she had gotten into a car accident a few weeks before. No serious injuries, but the car needed to be fixed. I felt sorry for her. Friends at my old school always said I was a sucker for charity cases.
We had lunch afterward. I followed Taylor and she led us to the courtyard where I met all those people before. Only Clara, Morgan, Cayman, and this African girl named Zenobia was there.
I never noticed Morgan the first time I met her. She was wiry and thin with black crinkly. She didn't smile at me. Only Taylor.
"Sup bro," Morgan said.
"Nothing much dude," Taylor replied then cracked a smile. It seemed like them talking like high surfers was part of some inside joke. More of the people I met before came and joined us on the stairs.
Morgan and Taylor went to the canteen. NOCCA didn't have a cafeteria. It had a few vending machines so I guess that's where they were going. Sure enough, they came out with a honeybun and a vitamin water. They didn't sit with the rest of the group. They sat alone on the other side of the steps.
It was the first time I felt alone all day.