O n e
Resentment is a peculiar feeling.
I’ve resented most things in my life, up until now.
I’ve resented my father, for never being a father to me or my younger brother, Baxter.
I’ve resented my mother, for constantly trying to uphold me to impossible standards that no child should ever have to live up to, even if she ultimately means well.
I’ve resented my friends for not understanding how I operate, or for constantly thinking that I don’t care about anything, when in reality I tend to care the most.
To be completely honest, I’m tired of feeling resentment. I’m tired of feeling acute. I’m tired of feeling small. But most importantly, I’m tired of feeling overlooked.
Nobody ever asks me how I’m doing, usually because I always give them the same answer. I’m fine.
I’m always fine, so when somebody passes me in the hallway, or while walking down the street, it’s become normal for them to not even look in my direction.
I suppose I shouldn’t be upset or angry. It’s my own fault. I tend to be simple, and very closed-minded. I don’t really say much, but when I do, it’s usually for a purpose.
I’m only comfortable around a select few, and of course, my family. If you’re anybody else, then I apologize if I seem transparent, or shy. It’s not you, it’s most definitely me.
“Tinney! Get your butt moving!” I hear my mom shout from downstairs.
“Almost ready!” I shout back, hoping she hears me.
I grab my black hoodie and throw it on over my simple green tank top. I yank my long, dull hair up into a messy bun, and grab my bag just as I rush out of my bedroom door.
Both she and Baxter are standing by the front door, impatiently waiting for my arrival.
“How did it take you that long to get ready? You look like you just crawled out of bed.” Baxter sighs as he opens the front door to our two-story, modern day home.
“Shut up, pup.” I glare, causing him to reach behind and slap my arm.
“Not today you two, it’s too damn early for your shit.” My mom demands as the three of us get into her small, two-door Honda.
I force Baxter to crawl into the back, much to his dismay. The rule for the front seat, is first come, first serve. Usually I always make it a point to be a step ahead of Baxter.
The ride to school is short, yet feels as though it takes forever. We drop Baxter off first, since he’s only in middle school.
“Don’t get beaten up, pup.” I smirk, causing him to glare.
“Stop calling me that!”
“Aw, don’t be a bad boy now, Baxter. Get to class and be a good boy or mom won’t give you any treats!” I smile wide, teasing him as much as possible.
“Fu-“ but before he can even finish the sentence, mom is cutting him off.
“Don’t even think about finishing that word, Baxter! Get to class!” My mom shouts, taking a sip from her travel mug of coffee.
My number one go-to insult is to treat my little brother like a dog. My mom named him after an old college professor, who inspired her to follow a career in the medical field. Baxter sounds like the name of an old golden retriever, if you ask me.
Just as Baxter slams the car door, my mom begins driving down the street to my high school.
“Why do you always insist on teasing him?” My mom sighs for the tenth time this morning, “You know it only causes him to act out.”
“That’s the beauty in it.” I shrug, holding my bag to my chest as I glance out at the swaying palm trees, that alone indicating that it’s going to be a windy day.
“You’re one twisted child.”
“Gee, I wonder where I get that from.” I snort under my breath.
“Alright, enough sass. Get out and get to class.” My mom instructs just as she makes a complete stop beside the nearest curb.
“Sir, yes sir!” I salute as I grab my bag and rush out of the car, “Will you be picking me up, or will I have the great pleasure of walking?”
“You know the drill, Tin. Walk over to get Baxter, and the two of you walk home. Oh, and I don’t want any company over tonight, so don’t get any ideas.” She warns with a point of her finger.
“Yeah, yeah.” I respond dryly, waving her off as I turn and walk away.
I hear her car pull away from the curb, just as a pair of slender arms wrap around my body.
“You’re here! Finally!”
“What’s the sitch Kat?” I laugh while pushing her off.
“The sitch, is that I have my class schedule, and you do not. I need to know if we have any classes together this semester!”
Katarina Schmidt has been my best friend for years. We met at the beginning of middle school, when our mother’s decided to force us together. Kat’s mom needed my mom to carpool us to school every morning, being that we used to be neighbors. Kat and her family moved about twenty minutes away, when Kat’s dad landed a new job. It stunk not having my best friend directly next door anymore, but I’m just glad she didn’t move to another state.
I suppose every bad situation, could always be worse.
“Well, let’s go inside then, wouldn’t want you to blow a gasket.” I shake my head with a smile, following my best friend into the large, oak doors of Bronson High.
Bronson Lee high school was founded by the great grandfather of the town’s mayor. I’m pretty sure Bronson must’ve been as bleak as this entire building, since the school colors were grey and more grey.
The only actual color we have the privilege of sporting, is the small golden emblem of the school’s mascot, the Bronson Lee high school bumble bee.
That’s right folks, you read that correctly, our oh-so intimidating mascot is an insect.
Our town’s founding fathers must be so proud.
As Kat and I make our way through the overly crowded halls of Bronson high, we both notice something strange. There’s a lot more kids this year, than there were last year.
“Did we get more transfers?” I ask Kat, who only looks at me and shrugs.
“I would assume as much. That’s just peachy. More kids to push through. Isn’t this school overly crowded enough?” Kat says with much distaste.
“Apparently not. I’d say we could even take another thousand, if necessary.” I smile, pure sarcasm laced in every word.
“Oh you’re so funny, Tin, I almost forgot to laugh.” Kat deadpans.
“Shut the hell up.” I chuckle, just as the two of us reach the administration office. I go inside to grab my class schedule, while Kat waits outside. As soon as I walk back out of the glass doors, Kat is immediately in front of me.
“Here you go.” I hand her the piece of paper, her fingers eagerly snatching it from my weak hold.
“Well, I suppose three out of seven isn’t bad.” She shrugs with a half-smile, “Looks like you’re on your own for lunch though. I hate that they have to split lunch between two periods. Thanks a lot, new transfers.”
I wince at the news. Without Kat, I have nobody to sit with. What the hell am I supposed to do now?
She must’ve noticed my face because she quickly adds, “but don’t worry, I’m sure you’ll find someone else to sit with. I know I’m not your only friend.”
While she’s not entirely wrong, she’s the only friend I feel comfortable enough to sit with for an entire lunch period. Sure, I have other acquaintances, but none that I’m close enough to.
Still, I put on my biggest smile and nod. “You’re right, I’ll be fine Kat.”
“Alright, from our schedules, we have second period together, so I’ll see you then?” She widens her bright green eyes at me, giving me an encouraging smile.
“Absolutely!” I nod, giving her the same smile in return.
The second she turns around and walks away, my smile vanishes. I glance down at my piece of paper, frowning at my class schedule.
History, Math, English, Lunch, Computer science, Chemistry, P.E., and finally… Basic art.
Hm, basic art? Another class to show off my nonexistent talent. I can’t draw, paint, sculpt… heck, I can barely stencil. This should be exciting.
The first bell rings, immediately ceasing my thoughts. I shove my schedule into my bag, already having memorized the room number I need to attend first.
History, Mr. Baldwin, room 207.
I wonder if there’s any relation to Alec Baldwin. Surely I knew of all his brothers…
“Watch where you’re going!” A girl exclaims as she pushes past me, nearly knocking me off my own two feet. She doesn’t give me a chance to apologize, nor a chance to say anything actually, before she’s ten feet ahead of me and turning the next corner.
I sigh and begin walking, making my way down the buzzing hallway.
I shove my hands inside of the pocket on the front of my hoodie, my bag loosely hanging behind my left shoulder. I blow air out of my mouth, causing a single strand of my hair to fly out of my face.
As I finally make it to the classroom door, I notice a nice looking boy holding the door open for two other girls. I speed up a little bit to catch the door, but as soon as I make it, the boy absentmindedly lets go of it, causing it to close shut before I can step through.
I sigh in annoyance, before pushing the door open again to walk inside. My wary eyes immediately find the back of the classroom, ultimately dropping onto a desk in the very last row.
I rush over and take my seat, setting my bag down onto the carpet floor beside my feet.
I cross my arms over one another, on top of my desk, before putting my head down. I’d rather not engage in any small talk before class starts. I’m not too keen on small talk, being that I’m horrible at it. I typically only speak when I’m spoken to, unless I absolutely need to say something important.
Most teachers don’t bother to try to call on me, because they know I’ll just shrug my shoulders and put my head back down, even if I know the answer to the question. It usually takes the first few days of class for them to learn my behaviors, but eventually the teachers seem to get the idea.
I know I suffer from a form of social anxiety, though I’ve never been properly diagnosed. I’ve never had a panic attack before, but I’ve gotten pretty close a couple of times. My mom always says I need to just breathe, and try to walk away from the situation, whatever situation it may be. Her advice is usually short-lived, but I manage to make it work for the most part.
My mom and I have a very tricky relationship. One day, we can act like total best friends, while the next day we might as well be complete strangers.
My mom had me when she was twenty, seemingly young for her generation. She didn’t expect to become pregnant with me so fast after dating my father, but she always says that she doesn’t regret it one bit. Baxter was a little more planned, though he too, was initially a surprise.
It wasn’t long after Baxter was born, that our father bailed.
My mom tried her best to make us believe that it had nothing to do with us, though I could sense that her reason may not be entirely true. As I grew older, I’ve learned the real reason.
My father is a coward, plain and simple. He left without so much as a goodbye, and even then, I still longed for the day that he would show up again. By now I’ve totally lost hope that I’ll ever see him again, and I do all that I can to keep him from entering the chaos that is my mind.
While it may be a touchy subject for me, I try not to dwell on it. The fact of the matter is, I can’t change what’s happened to me. It’s in the past. The only thing I can do, is try to live life right now, in the moment. Dwelling on the past, is toxic. It can create storms inside of your mind, storms that can wash away any good feeling or memory that you have, and replace it with the bad ones.
Sometimes I find myself envious of Baxter. He was so young when our dad split, that he hardly even remembers him. As far as Baxter’s concerned, how can you ever miss something that you never had?
I wish that were the case for me.
“Alright class, my name is Mr. Baldwin. No, I am not related to Alec Baldwin.” The teacher begins to announce.
Ha, so I was right to make that assessment.
“Welcome to History class. I’ll be going over a wide range of classic historical events throughout this semester, so I hope you’ve come prepared. I know the very first class of the day, is usually the one where students pay the least amount of attention, but I strongly urge you to drink coffee or energy drinks, whatever can wake you up, in order to pass this class. However, that being said, do so outside of this classroom. There are no drinks or food allowed inside of this room, so please be sure to do all of that before the bell rings.”
Wow, I can already tell I’m going to love this class so much!
I roll my eyes to myself as I place my head back down and tune Mr. Baldwin out. I know how to act inside of a classroom, and I typically turn in all of my homework on time.
The very end of his speech however, causes my ears to perk back up.
“Alright, every day this week, I will select five of you to stand up and say three things about yourself. I like when my students all get to know each other, makes group projects run smoothly, because you will have group projects this semester.”
My stomach drops. Maybe I can ask to use the bathroom while he calls on the five students. Maybe I won’t have to stand up today and share useless information about myself.
“Okay, let’s see who’s up first.” Mr. Baldwin smiles.
I immediately raise my hand to ask to be excused, but the second I do, I regret it.
“Oh, looks like we have a volunteer. I like the eagerness. Please stand up and state your name.” Mr. Baldwin smiles directly at me.
I slowly stand up and hesitate to speak. “Uh, actually, I was going to ask to use the restroom.” I say quietly, but loud enough so Mr. Baldwin can hear me.
“Sure, after you share three things about yourself to the class.” He nods happily, urging me to comply.
Dammit. Well, here goes nothing. At least I’ll be the first one done with this.
“Uh, right, okay. My name is Tinsley. I have an infection that is my little brother, Baxter. I enjoy zebras. I once had a goldfish named Star Crunch. It died.” I slowly glance around the room, and seconds later it erupts into laughter.
My cheeks turn pink as I cross my arms in front of my chest.
“Well, um, thank you for that. You may go on and use the restroom.” Mr. Baldwin smiles faintly. Surely he wasn’t expecting an answer like that. I tend to leave people questioning me, it’s what I do best. “Take the restroom pass that’s over on the wall, next to the door.”
I nod and rush over to the wall, snatching the laminated pass from the hook, and quickly exit the classroom in search for the nearest restroom.
Finally able to breathe normally, I slow my pace and take my time, hoping to use up quite a bit of the class period. I know I’ll probably get into trouble, but I honestly couldn’t care less.
I wander over to one of the vending machines, and take out the two singles from my back pocket. I go for a snickers candy bar, though I probably shouldn’t be eating this at seven-thirty in the morning.
Go big or go home, right? Actually… I wouldn’t mind going home. Ugh.
As I shove the candy bar into my mouth, I continue to wander until I find a bathroom. I’ve probably already passed two others, but this one will do.
I walk inside just as I consume the last bite of my snickers, and I toss the wrapper into the garbage can.
I lick the excess chocolate from my fingertips, before washing them in the sink.
I glance at myself in the mirror as I do so.
Dark circles are no surprise on my face. My dark, chocolate eyes are tired, definitely wishing to be asleep right now. I glare at my hair, the dull brown fading, and the tips in desperate need for some attention.
Maybe this weekend I can ask mom to dye it for me. She’s about overdue with her hair as well.
My heart beats rapidly in my chest when the restroom door suddenly swings open. Two girls I’ve never seen before, come strolling inside. They glance at me, but then continue with their conversation. I try to smile, but I’m pretty sure they didn’t notice. I see both of them stand around the only other sink, so I quickly move out of the way in order to allow one of them to use the sink I was standing in front of.
Not a single word, or “thank you” is thrown my way as I grab my bathroom pass and walk back out into the hallway.
I wanted to tell the one girl that I really liked the blue highlights in her blonde hair, but I didn’t.
I always seem to want to do a lot of things that I never end up doing.
As I trace my steps back to my first period class, definitely certain of being ridiculed for being gone so long, I just barely crash into someone walking directly in my direction.
The second my arm comes into contact with his, I inhale a tight breath.
“Oh, uh, I’m sorry.” I say just barely above a whisper.
The dark haired boy barely notices my existence as he pushes past me and keeps walking in the opposite direction.
“Oh no miss, please excuse me.” I mock in a quiet voice to myself.
First day of school, oh happy day!