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A Whiff Of Nostalgia

Amelia stood in the rapidly emptying hallway, feeling tired and listless. Pulling open her locker, she spied her cookies. Deciding she could use an energy boost, Amelia reached for them. “Lia, what are you doing? It’s physics now.” Amelia turned, cookies in hand, to face the long-legged, dark-eyed blonde. Leaning against her locker, she bit into a chocolate chip cookie.“Okay, and?” She asked, drawing the words out.

The beautiful Latina had her arms crossed in front of her, looking unamused. Cocking her head sideways, Amelia carefully regarded the girl in front of her.

Valerie’s in a bad mood. Why isn’t she even in class already?

“Well, it’s not like we’ll be marked late or anything.” Valerie’s voice thick with sarcasm. Amelia only arched an eyebrow at her friend, the beginnings of a playful smirk tugging at the corner of her lips. “You should’ve left already if you’re worried about being late,” Amelia said, as she began leisurely strolling to class.

“And you’re not?” Valerie retorted, staring at Amelia. “Hmmm, not particularly,” was the laid back response. “Lia, are you seriously heading to class without any of your stuff?” Valerie questioned, her growing irritation only increasing Amelia’s amusement. Smiling to herself, Amelia slowed her steps even more. “Well,” Amelia drawled, “I haven’t broken into my emergency supply of invisible potion yet.” Amelia glanced back at Valerie to grin at her no doubt interesting expression when her gaze landed on a tall thin figure at the end of the hallway.

Amelia’s eyes widened. She quickly recovered her energy and started walking at a reasonable pace. However, she wasn’t fast enough. Valerie had gone silent, no doubt having looked back and seeing what Amelia had seen. The two girls had just reached the double doors at the end of the hallway when Valeria swore under her breath, and Amelia fought with the temptation of making a run for it.

We were so close. We’re at the door, for crying out loud. Dammit. Why did it have to be our eighth-grade teacher? Anytime the two of us are together, it translates as trouble in his mind.

“Valerie, Amelia.” Amelia sucked in her cheeks and started making weird noises in the process. Valeria had a large scowl on her face, but one glance at Amelia had her bursting into laughter. “Oh. So you two are just wasting time and fooling around?” Amelia took a moment to shoot Valarie a “What the heck?” look before turning to Mr. Gruewello.

Clearing her throat while Valerie was trying to compose herself, Amelia smiled sweetly at her old teacher. “Hey, Mr. Gruewello. How are you? We just came up to grab some stuff. Don’t worry about us. Mr. Alfano knows.” Amelia’s smile became slightly strained. “We’re heading to class right now.”

“Lying through your teeth. What next, Lia?” The cold-hearted voice snaked its way around her head like a black fog darkening everything it touched and blocking out all light.

Grounding her teeth together, Amelia worked at keeping her face blank and impenetrable as Mr. Gruewello kept his narrowed eyes on the two girls. He appeared to be searching for cracks indicating they had been up to mischief. Amelia could sense the internal voice coming back for another jab at her, and she quickly put up walls in her head. All this occurred in the span of no less than 5 minutes.

Valerie, the bold, outspoken one of the pair, finally seemed to recover herself, and giving the teacher a saucy wink, she grabbed Amelia’s arm and hauled her through the door. Amelia didn’t need to be told what to do.

The moment they were past the doors, the girls bolted down the flights of stairs and each grabbing a door, swung it back, stepping forward in sync with each other.

“What was that for?” Amelia glanced at Valerie, her eyebrows scrunched in confusion.

“What do you mean?” Amelia inquired, her eyes twinkling.

Valerie sucked in her cheeks noisily, the action so sudden and comical, it wrenched a peal of startled laughter from Amelia.

“Now, do you know?” Amelia smiled sheepishly at her friend. “Sorry, Val.” Chuckling some more, Amelia continued, “But I honestly have no clue why I did it. And to think I was wondering what’s wrong with you.”

“You were wondering what’s wrong with me?” Valerie glanced skyward. She then levelled a glare at Amelia. “God help me so, you wanted to know what was wrong with me?” Valerie’s voice was getting higher, and Amelia was simply standing there, trying hard not to laugh. “You do know, you’re the smart one making fish faces and weird kissing noises.” That was the breaking point for Amelia. Her laughter could no longer be contained. I don’t think I want to know what Val thinks of me. Weird kissing noises. The thought brought tears of laughter to Amelia’s eyes. Valerie had given up all pretenses of being mad. Her shoulders were shaking with laughter. The beginnings of tears shone in her eyes.

The girls realized they still had to get to class. Both wearing wide grins, headed off, Valerie leading the way, Amelia reassuming her casual saunter.

As Amelia glanced at Vals form, sadness pierced through the mild cloud of euphoria that had been surrounding her. Her smile dimmed, her eyes saddened. Hard to believe this girl, who most days feels like a civil stranger, was once my best friend. I guess I sometimes forget Tanya wasn’t always around. Is this the way Anike and I will be someday?

Drumming her fingers against her thighs, as she walked into class, the cookies forgotten in her pocket, Amelia lost herself in what was.

An hour and fifty-seven minutes till school’s over.

The sky had darkened to a dull grey and had just begun drizzling. Amelia had her head resting on her arms as she tuned out the chemistry teacher, more interested in listening to the soothing pitter-patter of the steady downpour.

I should write my letter. But it needs a specific mood. Right now, it’s a lazy, tired mood. Hmmm. That’s not quite right. It’s more like a relax and do zero kinda mood.

A hand gently shook Amelia’s arm. She turned to see Tanya smiling at her in a similar position. Amelia usually liked sitting at the front of the class, Tanya as well. However, when it came to chem, they both sat at the very back of the classroom. After the first week of school, it became clear no one liked the chemistry teacher.

“Mimi, are you ready for the trip? It’s tomorrow.” Tanya excitedly whispered. Amelia only blinked sleepily at her. “Mmm, field trip?” Before Tanya could respond, the door opened and in walked Mrs. Natoli, the main office lady. Behind her was Mrs. Kaler.

“Mrs. Addams has to leave for an important staff meeting. Mrs. Kaler will be her substitute.” Done addressing the class, Mrs. Natoli left. Mrs. Addams gave some instructions, then vanished out the door.

“Alright, it's been a long day. Just get your work done.” Mrs. Kaler placed the basket of papers she had with her on the desk and proceeded to start marking.

Turning to Tanya, Amelia asked, “Do you think she’s marking our work?” Tanya looked to the front of the class before turning back to Amelia, about to answer. She didn't get the chance.

A piercing beeping noise rang out, which had all the previously half-asleep students wide awake, covering their ears and glancing around in confusion. Mrs. Kaler was on the class phone.

She hung up and clapped her hands, gaining everyone's attention. She then ordered the students to hide.

It was a school lockdown. One that may not be a drill.

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