continued from Fiction #8*
I had never felt this new, this shiny and different I stuck out, I didn’t dress like anyone, I had a plain t-shirt and jeans on, my hair was pulled back in a bun, I hadn’t worn makeup since the service in Manila, my eyes were permanently puffy, raw and tired. I walked into the homeroom, 30 people stopped moving, 30 pairs of eyes stared at me, making me feel so very visible.
I was motioned to take a seat in the back beside a guy with black eyeliner, black hair, and the wildest pointy shoes I had ever seen. He looked at me curiously, I tried not to make eye contact, I just wanted to get through the day. The principal was making announcements over the P.A system, I didn’t understand what was going on, until everyone stood up at once, the national anthem began to play. I tried to stay still, to block it out, but tears began to fall, as the anthem began. I hadn’t heard the anthem since the service, I began to shake. I needed to move, to run, but I was terrified to bring more attention to myself. As soon as the anthem stopped, I sat down, and brought my backpack to my lap to hug it. I didn’t know how I was going to get through this.
The day dragged on, I got lost in the halls a couple of times, but managed to make it to every class. I had no idea what class I was going to and from, it just seemed to bleed into one, and it was all the same, everyone stared, but no one spoke to me. I just wanted to run home, only home was an ocean away, and home was no longer mine, and there were no parents to great me. My feeling of nausea came over me again, it would be a feeling I would know too well, and would never really go away.
I had been sitting drinking my coffee with Elsa, recalling those first moments of being stripped of everything I knew, and having to somehow be Canadian. I spent a year at a Vancouver highschool, I had been lucky, I was able to skip ahead, and leave as quickly as I came.
I looked up at Elsa, and told her “I never knew you and Andrew wanted me to stay with you, Aunty Pam never told me. She was so desperate for my to stay with her, she tried everything in her power to hold onto me, but she was never Mum. As soon as I could, I ran to University, and only called and visited when I knew I had to. Henry and I had to cut off everything diplomatic to survive, me more so. Funny enough, I ended up writing the entrance exam almost as a joke, and when I got called in for an interview, I thought well, maybe it is meant to be. Almost like I have been patching things up ever since.”
Andrew came in rambling about needing coffee, he looked around and looked at the empty coffee pot with a sour look on his face. He quietly began to put on a fresh pot, and then turned to us, his sour face broke out into a smile. He threw the newspaper at me and said “did you read this drivel this morning, can you imagine?” I just looked down and realized another political scandal had been splashed on the front page. My eyes were tired, and my brain hurt from thinking about the past. I got up and stretched, I smiled at this weird, but familiar kitchen routine. I quickly excused myself and went back up to my room and pulled on some jeans, a sweater and wellies. I made it out of the front door so quickly, I didn’t see the dog follow me out the door. I just needed to take a walk. I walked around, and followed the stream that ran behind the house, my earphones blasting once more full of music.
I must have lost track of time, or was off in my own world, the moment Will came up beside me and touched my arm, I jumped back to quickly, tripped and ended up sitting in mud.
“well, you haven’t changed much, still scare easily, and once again, you have sat on mud.” Will stood over me, laughing hysterically, giving me his hand to take. I grabbed it, got up, took my leg, bent it around his knees sending him into the mud. His laugher quickly stopped with a snort of surprise. It was my turn to laugh at him, and point out “well, I have learned a few tricks along the way.” As I laughed, he grabbed my arms and pulled me back down laughing.
We both sat in a massive mud puddle, laughing hysterically until we realized how cold we were getting.
We slowly got up, and made our way back to the house, we saw a flash of muddy dog run ahead of us, our laughter was quickly met with an angry Elsa at the door, screaming at us to go to the back door. We went around the back door, Elsa held out a laundry hamper, extra dressing gowns, and ordered us to turn away and strip off our muddy clothes, and stop acting like children. We turned away from each other, and did as we were told. She then began to berate us for behaving like we were 5, to go upstairs and have showers, and then come back down when we were appropriately dressed because they had company on their way over for brunch.
I broke down and began giggling again, and couldn’t stop, Wills kept looking at me shaking his head, trying to disguise the smile he was trying so very hard not show his Mother. Elsa looked at me with an eyebrow raised, looking at me with a disapproving look, but couldn’t stop herself from smiling either, we were all having a deja vous moment, Wills and I were always coming back to be scolded by Elsa in the exact same fashion.
In that moment, I realized, I was home.