A Fall From Grace
Author Notes: Thanks to my two reviewers! I love getting reviews, even the very critical ones. This chapter has Judy saying stuff that is not necessarily my opinion, so if you disagree with it or are offended by it, please remember it's just a made up character.
Why is it that every time I feel I'm really making a good point, or a clever comment or a really poignant remark, all I get in return is a confused- "okaaaaaaay"-eyebrows-furrowed-half-smirking look? I hate it when people do that. My friends at my 7/8 school, St.- Bernard's, knew it was obnoxious and lame. That was one thing pretty cool about St-B's, we weren't that immature. Well we were, but not blatantly.
An obvious change, from St-B's to Carver High, is that everyone gives that look. And it's not just if you say something stupid. It's if you have an opinion that differs, or if you laugh at something that isn't supposed to be funny. I didn't get the look, but I noticed others who did. They played it off by rolling their eyes, but I knew that inside they felt pretty shitty. I would.
Grade nine was weird for me in many different ways. My dad had just gotten this new job, which meant that the majority of his time would be spent up in Quebec, as opposed to where we lived in Canada, Toronto. My eldest brother, Will, was just starting his freshman year at university and living on campus. That left me, my other brother Kyle and my mom. I was going to on to Carver High, while my friends would stay at St-B's, which goes from grade seven to grade twelve. It's a french catholic school, I'd been going to it's daughter school, St-Therese, since kindergarten. I'd known most of the kids all my life.
Carver High was different. It was an english public school from only grade nine to twelve. Most kids were coming from nearby english schools; Mary Marguerites(which pushed the skanky girls and dirty guys into the Carver system); St-Joe's(a school of hardcore preps and catholics) and Percy Public(the school who's kids always seemed to be 5 years younger than they really were). I was quite the fish out of water, with my expensive bag, my skip-a-grade-of-french homeroom and my newfound maturity(compared to these kids, at least).
As I already told you, the first day of Carver High was great. It was only a half day, we would have an assembly, go to our homeroom classes for our schedules and then leave. I sat alone for the assembly, but I was pretty self-confident, so I didn't mind. The V.P droned on about school spirit and the rules while I twiddled my thumbs and counted the seconds go by on my watch. Finally, when we were dismissed I checked out my french class, a grade ten french class since I would be too advanced in grade nine. I sat down, alone again, when I saw the flash of a familiar face. Harry Jenkins, a guy who went to St-B's was sitting across the class from me! This was a huge relief. I was beginning to worry about who I would spend lunch with, or talk to. Harry was a year older than me, but that didn't matter. We were just happy to have each other. Harry sat next to me for the rest of homeroom. We had lockers next to each other and everything. Then I saw a girl who I'd met a long time ago. I can't believe she remembered me. She was very nice, she gave me a hug and told me we'd "hang". Not that I believed her. I mean come on, she was a popular girl in eleventh grade. I may very well have been crazy but I was not delusional. At least, at the starting of the year I wasn't.
My brother drove me home that day, where I had a nice nap and thought "hey, if everyone is friendly, maybe this year will rock as much as I'd hoped". Then I ate one of those McCain chocolate cakes and basked in my fatty-happiness.
The next day was different... I don't know. It was a whole day, and I would have all of my classes for a span of 30 minutes, where the teacher would basically introduce the course and tell us what we would need for upcoming classes, what they expected from us, what our goals should be, blah blah spiel-cakes. I hate those speeches you get every first class. You can tell that the teacher has said it more than a few times in their lives, and even the most idealistic are starting to get their doubts. I have great respect for teachers, I really do. But I wish they'd just get over the fact that they they make practically no money and get wise ass comments from dumb kids who moan about the amount of work they get all day. I mean, as if they didn't know it would be part of the job. You don't make a deal with the devil and forget to look over the contract.
The teachers were mostly pretty depressing, so I focused on checking out the classmates in most of my classes. They all looked like pretty nice kids, but they all were from the same schools, therefore they were all chilling together. I was sort of alone. Oh well, the day was fresh and I was confident that I would make friends at some point.
My fourth class that day, music, was absolute hell. It was all girls for one, and that much estrogen is never a good thing. Secondly, it was mostly girl from Mary Marguerites. I received about six dirty looks as I walked into the classroom late, which I stupidly replied with a sheepish smile. What was I doing? I practically gave them permission to make fun of me. It was a bad class. The Mary skanks didn't seem to realize that yes, in choir class, you usually have to sing. Morons. I was so glad to get out of that clamped portable and back inside the real school to get to my next class. I looked over my schedule and nearly groaned aloud. Geography.
Let me tell you something about geography. I hate it. No, I don't just hate it. I fucking hate it. I always have. It was bad enough back at St-B's with my friends and a teacher that I actually liked. Now I had some new kids and some teacher who'd probably kick me out for not knowing the capital of Saskatchewan. I'm not kidding; I have no idea what it is. Saskatchewan sucks. Everybody hates Saskatchewan, who doesn't?! God damn geography teachers, that's who.
So I got lost as I made my way up to room 224 all the way past the cafeteria, went up some stairs and arrived. As I walked in I realized I must be late because everyone stared at me as I walked in and there was only a seat in the front row left. The teacher wasn't there yet though, so I couldn't have been that late. Those damn Carver High kids probably like staring. So I sat in the gay front row and thanked God that all eyes were diverted from me as a girl, probably who'd gotten lost like me, entered. She was pretty in a tomboyish way and a bit taller than me. She sat next to me. Then two guys came in, pushing a TV. One, I guess, was my geography teacher. I hoped it was the good looking one, but I figured it wasn't. I never get the handsome teachers. Well, for once I was did. He introduced himself to us as Mr. Koser. I gave him a quick appraisal; tall, good body, great smile, piercing blue eyes and short spiky brown hair with no receding hairline in sight. He looked about early-thirties.
I know you're probably grossed out by the age thing. If my fourteen year old best friend told me she had a thing for a 38 year old, I'd tell she she was a sick freak and she needed professional help as soon as possible. But for my own crushes, it's always been different. My friend Claire at my old school called me an "old-iphile" as opposed to a pedophile, because I have a penchant for older men. But honestly, I can't be bothered by that kind of thing. When it comes to the choice between a good-looking mature older man and a burping-contest fourteen year old, give me grandpa any day. A girl I met at music camp said I was a modern day Lolita, whatever the hell that means. She should talk, that germaphobic salt-grain-counter compulsive allergic jerk. She couldn't eat a piece of cheese without breaking in hemorrhages or whatever. It was pretty gross, if you want the truth. This guy called her Herpes Hannah for the rest of the week, it made her cry about three times a day. I guess it was pretty mean when you think about it. If you don't like someone, shouldn't you ignore them and go about your business? Makes sense to me. I didn't really like that camp by the way. Too many snobs.
Was that a tangent? I can't tell sometimes. If it was, I apologize. Anyways, so Mr. Koser was a pretty cool guy. He was the cross-country and basketball coach, which I guess explained why he was in such good shape. He encouraged us all to go out for teams. That got a lot of people buzzing but not me. I'm a choir-singing lazy ass, that's why. I'm in good shape and skinny and all, don't get me wrong. But I'm just not a sport-o. He was real nice, Mr. Koser, a real good guy. He gave us some details about his life; he loves Canada, he was married to another teacher at Carver High (some drama teacher) and he had a kid. A kid, for chrissakes. I had some touble taking that in. I mean he was old, but he he didn't look it. That pretty much killed me, that he had a kid and a wife and a whole life. Guys you have crushes on aren't supposed to have lives, they're supposed to be single and baggage-free. Anyways, he got on with the roll-call, and I got a pretty good kick when he gave the old eye when I said "here" to Judy Tyler. Felt pretty stupid afterwards though, when I learned that he hadn't been giving me the old eye afterall. He had had my brother in his class four years ago. He had a great memory, that Mr. Koser.
Maybe I should explain about my brothers. They're both pretty much legends at Carver, but for different things. Will was known as a party animal, a massive druggie and was easily one of the most popular guys in school. When people learn that my last name is Tyler, they get all bug eyed. "Will Tyler's sister? Wow! Tell him I said hi!" You'd think he was a fucking movie star or something. Older students would geta lot nicer to me when they learned I was Will Tyler's little sister. They didn't even bother to get to know my first name. They just called me Tyler. My other brother, Kyle, is currently a senior at Carver. He's a smart guy, he really is. He's real nice and has this tight group of friends. Everyone knows him, he's school council president. You'd probably like him. He's a real sight to see.
Anyways, so Mr. Koser explains to me that he had Kyle way back when, and that's why he gave me a funny expression. He said I don't look a thing like him. It's true, I resemble more Will than Kyle. I still got a kick out of that whole class though. Mr. Koser was real nice to me. The rest of the day went by pretty uneventfully, although I did make a friend out of the girl who was later than me, Melanie. The fact that day was normal and fine made it even more confusing as to what happened later that night.
I got home and wrote down everything I needed to bring to school the next day. Pens, paper, money for books. My old best friend from grade six, Serena called me. We'd sort of grown apart in grade 7/8, but I still loved her. I was home alone. I have this habit, when I talk to people on the phone. I always stare in the mirror when I talk to see my expressions. That sounds pretty vain, doesn't it? Anyways, maybe you can help me out. Examine the conversation, and tell me exactly what went wrong.
"Serena! Hey! I haven't talked to you in forever." Two weeks, forever. Same difference.
"Hey Jujube," that was my nickname at St-B's. Kinda gay, actually, and I hate those god damned Jujubes. They get stuck in your teeth and rot there. Who gave me that stinking nickname anyways? "How's the new school? They treating you right? They better, or I'll kick their butts. Just give me their names."
"They're fine. Just fine. It's kind of awkward at the moment, but I expected that."
"Yeah. Oh my god, I'm looking at this stupid picture of us in Cancun. We are such losers, Jube! I can't believe we got our faces painted." We went to Cancun in the summer of sixth grade. It was great.
"It was your idea, Serry. You wanted the stupid butterfly design!"
"Yeah, but I know. I talked with Jack today, he says hi. So are you really gonna stay at that school? You're pretty brave. I'm a St Bernard girl for life. I tried out for softball, Ms. Woods is the coach and she's pretty cool." That, that right there. That's when I couldn't help it. My heart was beating so fast and I was starting to get a headache. I started... crying. I don't mean Demi Moore-crying, when one tear falls down the cheek while you give a hard stare. I mean red faced, runny nose, voice cracking bawling. I don't know why! I hated Ms. Woods, and Jack was a total jerkoff, so the mention of their names obviously didn't upset me. The worst part is, Serena kept talking as I tried to stop. The more I tried to stop the more I got a headache. I guess Serena didn't hear me, cause she just kept chattering away. Finally, she stopped.
"Listen, I have to go to bed. But I love you hon, and I miss you so much. I'll call you later, ok? Sweet dreams." Call me? That's one thing I remember when we were best friends. She never called me when she said she would. Somehow, I knew it would be no different this time around. I was still crying, by the way.
The thing that gets me is that I wasn't crying for any reason at all. But I bawled and bawled until there was almost nothing left. Something caught my eye when I was finally able to open them without seeing through tears. My reflection. There I was, all blotchy and red and snotty and wet and gasping... I'll tell you what I did, I punch that stupid mirror. Then I punched it again and again and when the pieces were too small to punch I kicked them on the floor and jumped on them. I'm not low self esteem. I don't think I'm ugly or anything. I don't know why, but I felt like hurting something, to put somehting in more misery than myself. I got a shitload of cuts and bruises. I had to tell my parents that it broke while I was moving it. I can't believe they believed me. I went to bed at around 3 am that morning, trying to snuff out my sounds with my pillows. It must have worked, because no one in my family ever suspected me of anything until a few month later. I liked the fact that they neglected that side of me, actually. I liked to pretend I was a poor little rich girl with no love and that's why I cried every night.
Pretending is great, but at the end of the day, you have to accept that it's pretend and only that. I could lie to my parents, my friends, my teachers- but I knew I couldn't lie to myself.
That didn't stop me from trying.
Part 3 coming soon!