Melissa and Bethany. Always were the two names together and the girls always seemed to be as well.
One was dark haired, the other freakily with long red brown locks. Both were plain; the two everyone else seemed to fall back on when it came down to basics, and generally seen side by side whenever I saw them.
Bethany and Melissa could always be seen clinging to the outside of the group or giggling in a corner about something un-humorous that in their minds they had turned to something adult rated. Both got annoyed easily, and generally were the ones' that ended up storming from the room in a huff – sometimes with another running after them to apologize. By the second week of school however, we had learnt just to ignore them when that happened; by lunch time they would have returned and be just the same as before, chatting to us as though nothing had happened in the slightest. For, as I begin to think about it – if they hadn't they would have been instantly planted.
Anyone that was with no friends what-so-ever during break was instantly labeled as a 'loner' – and as all students did, we had to keep our reputation to at least a moderate standard.
They were bland girls. Just normal and average in most ways; height, weight, looks and lives, or so I thought.
They were the original flavour that either people liked or didn't, and most things that occurred with them were categorized in that way; either it was good, or wasn't – or it was nice – or not.
The others that could be called a 'group' when they got together were a mix of different colours, flavours, scents and personalities.
Michelle was known as 'That Indian girl that; has that story/is crazy about James Bond'.
One that did not know her properly would see her as a dark skinned girl with a shy personality and a high regard for rules, but people who saw her deeper then her dark skin knew better.
Although it seemed that everyone that knew Michelle less then a friend either related to her as 'the girl with the story' or more likely 'the girl who's got a thing for Pierce Brosnan' we only thought of those two characteristics as brushing the rim of her glass.
Michelle was a writer, a particular one that asked for her friends to read her work that used the cast from James Bond series, and one that we used the main characters' name submitted sometimes as her own. She held a way about her that for me personally made me just smile to look at her, and although her height and weight were average I always thought of her as being beautiful – at least to me. I didn't care what the others thought.
Michelle seemed to complain more then often about herself, and I always felt annoyed when she said such things; about her hair, her weight, her skin – whatever it may be, and yet when she turned up on free dress day I almost gasped at how good she looked, dark hair pulled back, large eyes draped with light make-up usage and sequined clips throughout her style.
I have never understood how people couldn't see her as the beautiful person she was – maybe it was just how she made herself feel that made others think of her to those characteristics.
Becky was a bossy, arrogant sort of person that may people raise eyebrows; she was friendly, sometimes, caring, in rare circumstances and rough almost everyday I had known her, and yet I wouldn't have her any other way. Becky was the sort of person that either a person would stay friends with since the day they met her, or taunt her for the rest of the year, chanting of 'cavewomen' and 'weirdo' were common names for her, or sly whispered remarks of 'slut' and my teasing names of 'Nazi' and 'German' - since recently when she had taken to drawing green German fighter planes and Nazi symbols in Graphics.
I had known her since the better part of my fourteen years of life, since I was five, or so I recall, and had been 'best' friends with her and her crazy antics from the moment I asked to play horses with her and her plastic miniature red farm house at our first school.
I knew her better then anyone else, or so I felt – and could easily pick out something from a store, or my own CD collection that I knew she would instantly like, and yet I still seemed to surprise her everyday. I found over time that people always come to school with news, either along the lines of something simple like 'I went to the dentist yesterday' to a sobbing tale of how 'Muffy-the-cat' just got run over. I found myself always coming out with something random, recently it was along the lines of; 'Strangely enough, I kind of –don't- want my sister coming home' to which would led to a series of questions and heart-filled comments and sympathetic words. Other times I could barely resist giving them all a shock, coming to school with a gun and with a danger filled look in my eyes speak the words 'I am the angel of death' and point it right at their head, loving it when they screamed and dived for cover; only to find the very realistic gun in my hand – was actually plastic to which I would get the pulp beaten out of one arm, or run laughing away from them.
At the beginning of the year it was all about impressions. Reputations could be easily ruined by one small step, and the first day of everyone's new year was like a brand new book, the first page the was a brand new sheet – fresh off the printers.
People who had been at the school the previous year had oil in the works that had spilled onto the paper, and parts that clicked to others' like connections – friends, enemies and old experiences from the latter – the cleaner were the people with the group with the high regard for rules and respect for teachers, the ones that called the teacher their full name instead of plan 'Miss' or 'Sir' – the ones' that sat in the very front or back, answering obvious questions that everyone knew the answer to – yet never bothered to raise their hands to answer, or sometimes the one's that seemed to say nothing all term, and you never saw at break – never saw cracking a lame joke, or twisted taunt at another – never saw testing the patience of the teacher, just for the experience – just to see how far they could go.
This year we had a boy in our Form class like that. His name was Nicholas and his name wasn't the only thing ordinary about him. He never responded to us, except perhaps a mere nod or shake of the head – and eventually we gave up trying to make him talk. He rarely answered questions although you could almost see him sitting there with the answer on the tip of his weak tongue.
He was pale, a ghost of a boy who never argued or got in trouble – never even seemed to talk. He looked like one of those comical nerds in the movies, with a pale pasty complexion, plain brown hair but in the shape of a bowl, watery dull eyes – one that everyone just left alone because he never seemed to be even big enough to take the letter 'C' from 'Challenger', or 'F' for 'Foe' for that matter.
In my class I found myself accepted by a girl with a startling reputation and character that enhanced from the start. Jess was small, pale – mean. I could tell by the look on her face, although it seemed to be a friendly one when she offered a seat next to her for me; I knew already that this 'relationship' the small gesture had acquired was surely not going to last.
Jess was the kind of person who had a brand new bruise or cut on her face every week, always seemed to make a joke of another person and had a laughing gang of 'thug' like girls who always seemed to laugh, no matter how un-humorous the ill set comment was.
Jess wasn't popular, and although she was white she still seemed to be a 'member' in the Maori gangs that seemed to hang around in the darkest corners of the school grounds, smokers the lot of them – and never seemed to get in trouble at the slightest, even if I did half of what they did – they would be the one that would be cleared with just an apology, whereas I would be in detention at lunchtime for certain.
Still none of the trouble started till near the end of term, and before that more then a lot happened.
At the first stage of my life I was sent to a school near the small village of Eastbourne. It was a quiet place, with the odd hoon that galloped down the streets on cheap bikes with scrapes everywhere, or putted down the curving cliffs with holes in their mufflers; put there themselves just to get the huge rev of a pitiful engine whenever they put their foot down.
Of course, I did not know of these kind of events at first; I was young and, as I think about it – pitiful. I was always a sensitive person, even from a young age, and I recall numerous times in which teachers would tell off tormenting students from my class, using the word 'sensitive' to describe me. From when we were told to go into groups and tell something that we did in the weekend, and I said something about my 'Great Gorilla' slippers, and then jumped off a chair to show just how 'Great' the warehouse brought footwear were.
I remember breaking out into tears when one of the older students (a older male who now I see on the bus everyday, and have no contact with) called me a 'Show-off' under his breath. The word 'sensitive' was used again from my 'favourite' teacher when she told him off for doing so, and I remember hating her from then on, but still cried when she left at the end of term – between mouthfuls of grabbed lollies that she threw out of her car window as she left.
I think about just how I was when I was younger – from the age of five onwards; and can't stop myself thinking how irritating, 'sensitive', annoying and stupid I must have been. Things that are clearest in my memory are how I would 'catch' dust in the hall during assembly – the dirt that flew upwards when the small school sat down and danced in rays of light that poured through the windows, I remember how we used to have reading buddies and I loved mine so dearly, and yet – she 'exchanged' me for another, just so she could be in her older friend's group for spelling with the seniors trying half heartedly to get the little year one's to spell simple words like 'the' and 'because' and then leaning away to talk to their friends, and roll their eyes at their little 'buddy' of whom admired them so much.
I recall always thinking elders as being superior, at first – and it wasn't until I hit year seven and the beginning of puberty that I actually realised; that older people treat 'the younger generation' - like shit.
However, it was only at the beginning of year nine that I actually started to rebel against the set system that had been my life, and now I feel almost as though I can break away form it without a care; age changes you like that, and experience.
I've found experience, in and out of school is just like preparing for life itself; and you should have done almost all the things I have already done in my young life by the time you are ready to leave home and live on your own. This being how to control and manage others, keep safe, at least be smart enough to not look like a handicap in front of others, be in tune with the opposite sex.
At the beginning of year seven I found myself getting 'crushes' on the opposite gender. At first it was just the 'ineradicably good looking/popular' guys like Cameron and Kieran – then it was the boring guys that you never did anything with anyway, 'went out' with and then never got round really to actually 'dumping' them, instead just fading away after the first time you went to town with him and his mum to see some stupid movie like 'Stewart Little 2' to which you would be embarrassed if you even accidentally touched hands as you both reached for a French fry, which was supplied by the caregiver as she slumped in a plastic McDonalds seat and waited for it all to be 'over'
In year seven I was just plain – stupid - to tell the truth. I found myself be embarrassed by just looking at a guy that I 'liked' despite the fact he thought I was a complete moron, and despite the fact I tried to do anything just to get his attention.
I was a wuss in that year, the one who cried when 'hard-arse' David accidentally-on-purpose got paint on my oversized jacket, the one who purposely leaned on a table half the time I was in class – just so I could get closer to my all time 'crush of the century' getting annoyed and jealous of one of the prettiest and nicest girls in our year when she finally got asked out by Ethan – who I thought I had a connection with because we both painted, and decided to hate her and call her horrible words behind her back for the rest of the next three years I didn't even talk to her.
Not that they were all that horrible anyways; works like 'fuck' through to 'slut' were never used in my group of friends at that time – and it was only when I started year nine that I actually used these words in a casual sentence, becoming slightly shocked myself when I said it with pure coolness in front of teacher, and finding him or her practically blow their heads off as they began to rant and rave at my 'dirty and vulgar' language – myself raising an oddly shaped eyebrow when my friends gasped or giggled nervously when I used it in front of them, until they grew up themselves, and took the lingo on board themselves.
I think I could've been a 'bad' influence to them back then.
But I could have almost been called 'good' when I started at the new school.