My reality is that it was my first day of this Jr. High school, first day in the cafeteria, first weeks in a completely new town. I had just moved to the town of Carol to live with my mom only a short month ago. This had not given me much time to make new friends, even with my truly social personality. I had taken my bike out more than a few times to explore our neighborhood, but I didn't find many friends. I had met one friend, Heather, but she was going into 8th grade. I was only going into 7th, so there was no way Heather would want to sit with me on the first day of school. She was nice, but so far we hadn't had much in common. I felt this way after I had been invited to her birthday slumber party. I soon realized that I was in a room full of girls who had been friends forever in matching pajamas. My mismatching pajamas and lack of understanding of their inside jokes made me feel even more awkward. I appreciated her trying though.
"Excuse me," a boy said as he stumbled past me. "Don't worry about it," I mumbled under my breath as I decided it was now or never. I looked up at the luminous, double doors which led to my demise, or victory rather, convincing myself. I gathered my back pack and walked a little more confidently toward the doors when I heard my name faintly.
"Hope!" then louder as she came near, "Hope!"
"Oh, hey Heather," I responded, trying to hide the relief in my voice.
"Are you having a good day? Do you like Carol Jr? Do you have someone to sit with? You can sit with me?" She asked an enthusiastic string of questions that I could hardly answer as we pushed through the huge, double doors.
"Sure," I figured that covered all the answers she was seeking. It was obvious she was more excited about this day than I had been. We sat down with her 8th grade friends. I took a few bites from the peanut butter sandwich I had made myself that morning, but the knots in my stomach told me not to over eat. While I tried to pep myself up thinking of how cool I must look sitting with the 8th graders, I couldn't help but wonder if they were the "cool" ones or not. I tried to chime in on their conversation, but they were mostly talking about teachers and friends I didn't know, so I had little to say, just a few smiles and nods her and there. As grateful as I was that I had someone to sit with, I couldn't help but hope tomorrows lunch time would be different.
On my way out of the doors, I convinced myself that I had already faced the tough part. I had faced and conquered the double doors. Going back through the doors had to be downhill from there.
From a distance, I saw a girl who looked popular motioning for me to come over to her. A flurry of thoughts invaded my head, "Why is she motioning to me? Do I know her? What does she want?" The dork in me worried immediately if I could ruin my chances to be popular if I said the wrong thing. But I mustered up some optimism that maybe I had more chances than I had given myself credit for to make friends quickly, even popular ones. Just as I was about to begin speaking to her, a friend of hers zoomed past me, began talking to her and they walked away, not even noticing me.
I played it cool and continued walking, bummed that she had been waving to him the whole time.
That could have been worse. That could have been awful if I had actually started talking to her. This is the second bullet of embarrassment I had dodged today...and I hoped it was the last.
The rest of the day went by rather quickly. Pretty much down hill, just as I had hoped.
At the end of the day, I walked out to the front of the school and watched as all of the cars left after a few minutes. With no way to call, I realized my mom was running late. Bummer, I thought. Or was it?
I noticed a girl from my 2nd period class who looked like I felt. Emotional, tired, annoyed, lonely.
"Hey," I said. She looked up at me and replied with the same words. "My name's Hope. I'm in your 2nd period class."
"Yeah, Mrs. Alena. Social Studies. I think we have Spanish together also. 7th period? I'm Erin."
We chatted until her mom came, and as I stood up to tell her bye I saw my mom pulling up as well.
"How was your day?" My non punctual mom asked... "Pretty good. Not a total waist. That was my new friend, Erin.