A couple of weeks go by; Mrs. Miller's classes have become more bearable, and Thomas has backed off a bit, though he does try something every now and again. I sit with Paola and her friends at recess and lunch still, Zac tutors me in Math's, trigonometry just doesn't seem to stick.
I stand in front of the mirror one morning, I look at myself. The scars on my chest mark where a part of me has been taken by cruel fate. I put my bra on, only one breast is held by the poker dotted cups. The other is absent, I place a jelly like material into the empty cup, everyday hoping no one will notice. I have my meeting with Mr. Smith today, and no doubt he wants to talk about this, no matter how strongly I resist. I pull my dress over my head and tie up my hair. I look like everyone else, on the outside.
I have mastered the art of shrugging off people who try to pick apart my brain. I tell him what he wants to hear, it seems to work like a charm.
"Okay, well I will see you next week," says Mr. Smith.
He smiles, "I have been doing this for a long time, I can see through you."
My shoulders drop. He hands me a note, late for Mrs. Miller again. This is going to go down well. I smile politely and walk off to meet Thomas.
I get the impression that Tom doesn't like Zac. Just a hunch not that Tom bitches to me about how he suspects Zac is gay or anything.
"And the way he walks! He must think he's Australia's next top model or something."
"Well I think he's a nice boy, and to be honest I'm surprised he doesn't have a girlfriend."
Tom looks at me in horror. I stand up on one of the poles that act as a kind of fence along the park. I nearly fall off. Tom grabs my hand and I use him to walk along the poles.
"I'm just saying he's, attractive, nice, smart, trustworthy and honest."
"He sounds like a chick."
"And you look like a pig, should we continue labelling people as animals?"
"You cut me deep Marie Josèphe, you cut me deep," he says dramatically putting his free hand on his chest.
"Why do you have to call me that?" I ask almost falling off again.
"Man you have crap balance," Tom states.
He sighs, "Because it gets on your nerves. You know how I love to get on your nerves."
He grins at me.
"Tommo!" calls a guy further along the path.
He runs up to us, soon another guy and two girls follow behind.
"Jake, how are you man?" says Tom letting go of my hand and greeting the guy.
I recognise one of the two girls, Julianna. I shudder at her presence. They all start talking animatedly. Julianna, wearing her skirt so short it was the equivalent of a belt, blocks me out of the group and starts hanging off of Tom. Every few moments he shakes her off ignoring that she's there, and the cycle continues. I find it quite amusing until a small gust of wind blows. I lose my balance. I'm sure you can guess what happens next. I fall back flat of my butt. They all turn to stare at me. Tom and his friend Jake look a bit concerned, Julianna has the typical look of triumph and mockery, and the others don't seem to care. I stand up rubbing my lower back.
"Are you okay?" asks Jake.
"Yup," I wheeze.
"This is Marie by the way, Marie this is Jake, Liam, Ruby and you know Julianna from school right?" says Tom walking over to me.
"Hey," I say choking on my words a bit.
My back feels like it has been bashed by a million cordial hyped 7-year-olds.
"I hope you didn't hurt yourself to bad Mare," says Julianna, it was obvious to me that she meant the complete opposite.
"No its okay JJ," I reply.
She gives me the evils.
"Anyway man we better go," says Jake, I am guessing he senses the hostility between us.
Julianna comes right up to Toms face and whispers in his ear before she spins around flashing everyone with her frilly G-string. I put my fingers into my mouth indicating a throwing up action. Tom laughs.
"Wanna sit for a while? You must be sore."
We sit in silence for a while. Watching some primary school kids play soccer. My back aches and thinking about it makes it hurt more. I'm on the verge of tears, fighting the pain, and I don't know whose winning!
"Is it sore?" asks Tom obviously seeing the look on my face.
"Yeah, a bit."
"Looks more like it hurts a lot. Lemme see," he says shuffling behind me.
I have no choice because he is already lifting my shirt, I hold down the front and hope he doesn't notice my flab. He touches my back so lightly I'm surprised, he isn't as rough as I thought he would be.
"Its red, I think it's only bruising."
He presses slightly harder and I flinch, jerking up straight. He lowers my top softly.
"I conclude that you will be okay," he states.
"Why thank you Dr. Parker," I say following his theatrics.
He laughs. "So you don't seem to like Julianna do you?"
"Oh, is it really that obvious?" I say sarcastically.
He laughs again, a shorter burst though. I have to admit, Tom does have a lovely smile, and it lightens his rough exterior, and lets you peep into the guy underneath the filth.
"We should get back soon," I say softly.
He nods and we walk back together. We walk in silence. It's weird though, being so quiet, usually we have something to talk about. But Tom looks like he's deep in thought and I don't want to disturb this rare occasion.