During the middle of second block I had to run away to the bathroom. Everything was too much. I know I've been out of school for a while, but it feels like I was thrown back into the frying pan. I never thought I'd spend my sophomore year in a school other than Mallard Creek.
I stared intently into the mirror. Eventually I got used the feeling of only having one eye, but I wasn't used to the fact that I only had one eye. I moved my hair. I had let it grow out for the sole purpose of hiding my face.
The burn scar was dark light brown and rigid, no longer red. It almost matched my complexion. Almost being the relative term.
Again, I was crying. Only this time I realized something: that eye can still cry. I just can't feel the tears.
I moved my hair back and closed my eye and nodded in acceptance.
I wiped my face before heading back to class. At least my teachers let me keep my hood on, so far...
This school is a lot different than Mallard Creek. It has seven periods that are only fifty minutes. The school itself is nice. It had beautiful scenery, and a courtyard.
Lake Washington High. Never thought I'd be here.
I didn't go to the cafeteria. 1) Because I don't know where it is. 2) Too many eyes. Too much anxiety.
I just stayed by my next class. Thankfully, not many people tried to speak to me. I was happy to be able to stay silent.
Words cannot describe how lonely I felt. This place is so big and I know no one. I had my phone. I chose not to reach out to Evie or Indra. What would I say to them? I miss them so much.
I wanted to call Mrs. Carte and ask her to come get me, but I chose not to. Maybe I'm really not ready for this.
"Luc," A soft voice called.
I looked up. It was a girl with deep red hair stood there. I was confused.
"I'm Rachel. Hunter asked me to find you." She said.
She held her hand out to me. "Do you want to come to the cafeteria?"
I shook my head.
"Oh well...do you mind if I sit with you?" She asked.
I don't mind it. I shook my head. I can never bring myself to speak.
Rachel sat down on my right side, so of course I couldn't see her.
"Hey Luc, why do you hide?" I heard her ask.
I hunched my shoulders. I half expected an accent.
"We're not bad. In fact, I think if you made new memories you'd feel better." She told me.
"You'll see! You'll have fun with us. The younger kids always make us laugh some way or another!" She exclaimed.
"Okay." I could only think it.
I fear if I opened my mouth it wouldn't close. I'm scared something will slip out.
I closed my eye.
"Hey, are you listening to me?" Rachel asked.
I nodded my head. I want to speak, but I just can't. Forgive me.
"I need your last name." My teacher told me as I tried to hand in my paper.
I don't have one anymore. I looked at the paper, lost. My teacher sighed and took the paper from me.
I turned and went back to my seat.
Thankfully, I wasn't made to introduce myself. Entirely. Teachers would ask me to say a little something about myself, but I'd just sit there silently. So they left me alone.
We left school at the second hour, just ten minutes before three.
I sat scrunched up on a ledge surrounding trees outside of the school, waiting for Hunter and Rachel, and the other guy. I didn't know the way back home.
I looked up. Hunter and the other two were headed my way. I shrunk back.
"How was your first day?" Hunter asked when he stopped in front of me.
I didn't have an answer. Quite frankly, I didn't have an opinion. Okay, that was a lie. School was perfect, I, on the other hand, was just lonely and depressed.
I hunched my shoulders at him.
"Well okay," he gestured to the boy behind him, "this is Wesley."
Wesley plopped down beside me, "Finally came out of hiding, huh?"
My only response was a small noise in the back of my throat.
When we got home I stood behind Mrs. Carte in the kitchen. She got a good fright when she turned around.
"Hey, what's wrong?" She put her hand on her chest. "How was school?"
I hunched my shoulders.
A question circulated my head -- it had been bugging me all day.
"What's my last name, if I don't have a family?"
Mrs. Carte gave me a sympathetic look.
"I know it may not seem like it, but everyone here is your family,"
"They're all good kids." She said.
For the time being, I brushed off what she said.
"My teachers want me to use a last name. What do I do?" I asked.
"Everyone uses Carte." Mrs. Carte stated.
I nodded my head and walked out of the kitchen. I stopped in the living room. The other kids were doing homework or helping someone with their homework.
Something told me to join them. I didn't have homework, but I still grabbed a notebook from my bag, just to make it look like I had a reason for being there.
I climbed over the back of the couch and sat down beside Hunter. I stared at him as he stared at me.
"Okay." He said simply and got back to working.
I looked at the other kids. They greeted me with smiles and got back to work.
An hour after everyone finished working, we all went outside. Luc too. The kids were playing Hot Potato with a ball. Us older kids walked around. Mrs. Carte watched whilst reading a book.
"So Luc, tell us about yourself." Rachel said. Wesley agreed with her.
"Not much to tell." And so he speaks. He had a low voice.
"Okay, then I'll keep it simple," she started.
"Why not take off your hood? That'll be the first step to getting your confidence back; stop hiding." She finished.
"I don't want people staring at me." Luc said.
Wesley and I chuckled.
"No one will stare." Rachel assured him.
Luc made a noise in the back of his throat.
We walked on. Eventually, Luc slowly took his hood off. He still kept his face covered.
"Now you look like a normal teenager." I said to him.
He scoffed, then laughed humorlessly.
"Hey guys!" I heard Jackson and Lee call.
"Come play catch with us!" Lee shouted.
He threw the ball at me. I ducked. I heard it come in contact with skin, then there was a thud.
I looked behind me. Luc.
"You really didn't see that coming did you?" Wesely teased.
Luc pressed his hair to his face and smoothed it down as he stood up.
"Might help if you moved the hair." I chided.
"No." Luc said quietly.
Wesley picked up the ball and threw it back to Lee, "Well come on!" He ran to the kids.
Rachel ran too.
"Come on Luc!" I encouraged him.
"I suck at sports." He responded.
"Come on anyway! You'll have fun!" I pulled on his arm.
We all played and goofed off. Luc has a penchant for getting hit in the face with the ball.
When it started to rain, we didn't care. We kept playing and slipping in the mud.
I knocked on the door once we were all done playing. It opened and Mrs. Carte blocked us from coming in.
"If you think you guys are coming in like that," she started.
"You better strip and hop in the baths!" She snapped then closed the door.
"Strip?" Luc questioned.
"Okay!" Jenny said all gung-ho.
She, Lexa, and Layla threw off their clothes and ran inside.
Jackson, David, and Lee followed their lead.
The four of us stood there.
"Should we...?" Wesley trailed off.
"I'm going first!" Rachel announced.
She started to undress. The rest of us turned around.
"See you on the flip side!" I heard her say.
We turned around.
I looked at Luc, "Luc?" I decided he should go next.
He shook his head. "N-No."
Wesley nudged his arm. "Stop being a baby. Just strip, grab, and run."
"I can't." Luc said dejectedly.
Wesley rolled his eyes. Instead, he went next.
"What's wrong? Don't you want to get cleaned up?" I asked.
"Of course I do." Luc responded.
"You go first." He said.
I stripped, ran inside, took a shower, and got dressed.
I sighed with relief. Shit. I left my phone in the bathroom.
"Excuse me." I said as I entered the bathroom.
The first thing I saw was red words; stupid, asshole, ugly, worthless, liar, faggot, etc.
I freaked out. "What the fuck?!"
Luc whipped around and slipped on water. He groaned and pulled a tower over him.
Where did those come from? Why are they there?
"Who did that to your back?" I asked incredulously.
"Mind your own business!" Luc hissed.
"Get out!" He roared.
I ran in grabbed my phone then ran back out.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck! I went into our room and sat on my bed.
Shit. He saw my back.
I got dressed and ran into our room. Hunter was sitting on his bed with a perplexed look on his face.
I sat on my bed and looked at him. He looked at me.
"Who did that to you?" He asked.
"Don't say anything to anyone." I said.
"Ok. But I want to know who did that to you." Hunter argued.
"My foster father. In his rampage." I thought. I couldn't speak to Hunter, all I did was crawl up into my corner. Hunter groaned in frustration then left.
I put my forehead to my knees.
My mind wandered to the court case. Well, the aftermath at least.
I'd left them. My family. It was one of the hardest things I had to do. They adopted me when I was just a baby. They were all I knew.
I closed my eye.
"Oh god I only have one eye," I cried. Reality had hit me again.
Why adopt me if you just wanted to hurt me?!
I shook my head. I just want to forget, but this body won't let me.
At night, I looked back on today. I was laughing and smiling with the others. I was happy. But something was wrong about it. Maybe I felt guilty for having a good time while Evie and Indra, my friends, are probably worried to death about me.
Maybe instead of ignorance, it was pride, the reason why I never text them. Or fear. I don't know anymore.
In the morning, I stood in the bathroom looking in the mirror. I've finally and completely ditched my hood. I didn't hate my long hair, but I didn't like it either.
"Let's see..." I muttered.
I tied it up in a man-bun. God, I hate that term.
It still covered my right side. Thankfully.
There was a knock on the door, "Come on, Luc." Rachel's voice called.
On the walk to school, Hunter walked in front of the group and was quieter. I didn't try to talk to him.
Rachel draped her arm around my shoulder.
"You know, I think you'd be a real lady-killer if you didn't hide your face." She said to me.
I didn't want to come out to them yet, out of fear of what may happen.
"Yeah, sure..." I trailed off.
"Either way, you look nice. Man bun." Rachel teased. I grinned nervously, hoping she'd leave.