A New Place, A New Start
Amy walked up the old steps towards Crawford Hall as it loomed over high above. She couldn't help but stop and stare at the looming façade and stained glass window, that seemingly looked down at her from above.
She took in the large straight roman style columns flanking the stone steps, and the old red brick helping to make up the monstrosity in front of her. Large windows took up the sides of the building and the grand stained glass circular window in the center reminded her of her old church that she used to attend when she was a little younger. The roof tapered off into a sharp peak high above.
After taking in the entire building she glanced down at the piece of paper clutched tightly in her hand. The wind blew her long blonde hair into her face and she attempted to toss it back over her shoulder. Blowing it away from her face she walked up the stone steps to pass through the doors at the top. She was looking for room 342. The door clicked shut behind her, she breathed a sigh of relief.
Looking up she saw a sign at the end stating that offices 340-360 were on the third floor.
'Of course it would be something like that, duh Amy,' she thought to herself as she began to hesitantly climb the stairs; nervously pinching the bottom of her tight plain white tank top, as her book bag thumped against her butt with each upward step.
As she continued climbing up the stairs, she couldn't help but reflect on how she had ended up here. Ever since she had been in school, she had always been a quick study. Her teachers were continuously amazed at her progress and constantly pushed her to do better and better, recommending her and her parents, to consider higher levels in schooling, since she was easily surpassing her peers. Her quick analytical mind and reasoning were beyond other children within her age category and allowed her to make quick progress with her studies. With that all taken into consideration, it was no shock to anyone when she was already on grade six curriculum when her fellow students were still only in their fifth year.
You could perceive her intelligence as either a blessing or a curse. Personally, had you asked her at the time, she would tell you for her, at her old school; it was more of a curse by far than a blessing. She was already ostracized as it was. As a child she had always been taller for her age, her hair always becoming knotted and ratted easily, and her skin being so pale it was often joked that she looked like curdled milk when she cried. She was overall gangly for her age, and since she was taller it was harder for her to have an understanding and good overall control over her body; causing other kids to ridicule her and call her names when she would trip and fall periodically. She attributed her clumsiness and her less than stellar athletic abilities to this.
These instances would make her go home crying every single day in secret. Never once, did she tell her parents, since she always thought it would make the situation worse. So whenever, they had asked her how school that day was, she would lie. With a large beaming smile on her face, blinking back the tears in her eyes, she would consistently say that it was great; no matter how often she wanted to scream and cry and rage at the unfairness of it all.
Since she was so bullied and picked upon, it made her a loner and she grew up having poor people skills. Not many kids were brave enough to approach her, but the ones that did she tried to hold onto for as long as she could. Alas it seemed none of them were ever meant to last. It always seemed to be the small things to her, but the big things to them, which drove them away from her quickly.
Whether it was the things she had no control over, for instance her intellect, or she never had the same urges to do similar activities that kids her age seemingly wanted to do. When they wanted to go out and bike down the block, she would rather stay in and read or study. Her mother had always tried to push her slightly out of her comfort zone and do activities' with other girls her age, but once she realized that she had no drive to really participate with these other girls her mother slowly gave up, and instead supported her in any other way she thought she could. She would always give her a sad look that made her instinctual fears, which she felt about these other girls, a reality. She didn't belong with them, for some reason they didn't click, almost like separate species.
It was because of the "accident," or how she referred to it, that happened in her family; and the fact that she had nothing left for her there, that helped her make the decision to leave her old school far behind and transfer. She looked at it as a new start and relished having a second chance. However, she should have known better, slowly but surely the same problems followed after her, like a dog trailing its master; and she quickly became miserable once again. She hid what she could from her grandmother as best she could, in order to not worry the lady, but after a few years she finally accepted that she needed a drastic change otherwise she wouldn't last this way.
Psychiatrist visits didn't help her cope with her family tragedy. There was only so much a person, who sat on a couch, with a pen and a pad of paper, could do for her. She knew he never really cared; this was just a pay cheque to him, and was he even listening?
Sometimes she swore that she could read his thoughts, or hear a popular jingle playing through his mind. After the last visit, where she felt like she could have done more harm than good to herself, she told her grandmother that she refused to go to anymore visits. Her grandmother had silently agreed with her and never pushed the issue again.
It wasn't till a month after that that that she took what her teachers before had said finally seriously and began to look into colleges, with housing, to go to. Sending in her scores to as many as she found appealing she received enthusiastic responses back, even for someone of her extremely young age. The youth had talent, and they must have all thought she was some kind of prodigy child. Snorting in derision, she remembered leafing through all the acceptance notes until she came across one. Slitting open the envelope she took a look through at the college papers.
It was one that she had spontaneously sent too, not really expecting to take much of a notice to it at the end. Biting her lip in thought, she slept on the idea. Her dreams were plagued of the place all night, as if a force were calling here there. She became twitchy that morning, as if trying to scratch an itch that wasn't really present, or a horse trying to get rid of a bothersome fly; finally, she had picked up the papers, signed and mailed them, and was able to finally take her first sigh of relief in a while. Her dreams were peaceful that night; and now two months later here she was.
Coming out of her deep thoughts, she noticed that she had made it up to the third floor and glanced around the otherwise deserted hallway. It was nothing-spectacular just doors down left and right, and other doors branching off into spare offices. She noticed that the 340's started to her left so she walked down it. Her worn out high tops smacked against the tile, the tired pads wearing even thinner. Stopping outside the room 342, she took a deep breath, and knocked. It was loud, making her flinch as she glanced nervously down the hallway; as if expecting someone to scold her for her outrageously loud behavior. Although, she knew that her thinking was illogical it didn't stop the fact. Nervously, she attempted to smooth down her hair, trying to make it look somewhat presentable, even though she knew it was a lost cause. After a few tense seconds, a man opened the door. He had grey hair and looked to be in his early 40's. A medium build and a very polite, kind face, Amy immediately felt comfortable around him.
"Ah, you must be Amy, correct?" he asked with a wide smile on his face.
"Yes, I'm sorry if I'm late," she apologized nervously. Her eyes darted to and thro trying to see past him into his office.
"Oh no, don't you worry, I haven't been waiting too long just straightening up some stuff," he replied. Noticing her eyes flicking he smiled. "Oh how rude of me, my name is Brian Cox, but just call me Professor or Professor Cox." He offered her a hand to her to take.
"Umm nice to meet you, sir," she said quietly as she took his hand into her own. He gave her a warm, firm shake looking her up and down. She tensed slightly at that, gripping the strap of her book bag tightly.
"Ah, quiet and polite, that's a good change around here. Normally the students are very boisterous and moody," said Professor Cox.
She didn't quite know if she was supposed to respond to that or not; or if it was an attempt on his part to ease her nervousness. She opted for the easy way out and gave him a polite smile, keeping her lips firmly sealed.
"Come in, come in." He invited her inside his office. Stepping back for her, she crossed the threshold hesitantly like a frightened deer and gazed around. It looked like any normal office would, she supposed. White walls, a large desk before a window, with a laptop and some books scattered across its large width. A comfortable chair sat behind the desk, along with two other chairs in the front for visitors. She noticed a book shelf on one side of the space; looking out the window she could see the front grounds where some students walked to and fro, getting settled back for a new year, or else trying to find out where they were headed.
"Please sit down, sit down," said Professor Cox, interrupting her silent perusal of the room.
She moved and sat down at one of the chairs in front of his big wooden desk that he had indicated.
"So as you know Amy, you were assigned to me as a special case. I don't mean to sound as if I'm insinuating anything wrong by you or the situation; but if someone is giving you a problem, for instance another student, or anyone for that matter, you can come and talk to me, and we can get it all sorted out. We haven't had very many students that come to us under your circumstances, but we are overjoyed to have you. You show great promise, if you're records are anything to be believed," he joked easily, "Now I understand you specifically requested that you wanted your own dorm with a roommate, is that correct?" asked Professor Cox.
"That is correct sir," replied Amy wringing her hands nervously in her lap. He talked a lot she couldn't but think moodily.
"You understand, Amy that the youngest students here are at least three years your senior, and those ones are of the acceptable age in these cases. However, you are-" he started to say.
"I understand that sir," she said quickly cutting him off before he could finish, "but I want to be treated the same here like everyone else. I would honestly prefer no special treatment what so ever. I just want to do my studies, and that's it."
Professor Cox nodded as he flicked through some documents on his desk. "Okay, I can understand that, so you know where your dorm is then I suppose?" he asked. Amy nodded her head. "Excellent and you have no further questions about your classes?" he asked again.
"No I don't sir."
"Okay then your free to go; you know where to find me. Should you ever find that I am not here, go to the office on the main floor and they will page me," he told her.
She nodded and rose stiffly from her chair; her book bag thumping against her again she walked to the door opened it, and lightly closed it behind her. She proceeded back down the still deserted hallway, and started descending the stairs again, her shoes squeaking repeatedly on the shabby tile. With the rest of the school ground bustling with activity, it was odd to see this place so deserted.
She was between the second and third levels when five girls came to stand before her. Trying to get around them she accidently bumped into the one in the middle and her stomach sunk when the hoity blonde turned to stare at her with a scornful look taking over her features. Her heart began beating quickly and fiercely as she stared at them. She had seen enough girls like this to understand what was probably going to happen in the next minute.
"Who are you freak? Didn't they teach you in Hicksville to watch where your walking?" Her features were striking, almost like an aristocrat. The other girls behind her all snickered; while none were as stunningly gorgeous as this one, they weren't unpleasing in any way. Minor flaws sure, but they could easily be overlooked.
'She must be the lead girl,' Amy thought to herself. "My name is Amy," she said in a quiet voice. Ignoring the jibe at where she had come from. It was obvious by the blonde ring leaders' upturned nose and curled lip that her appearance left much to be desired.
"Amy, huh, I like freak better. I mean you look like some kind of mini circus freak," laughed the girl. "Just remember this is my school and you better stay out of my way! We don't take in the rejects and outcasts, and you reek of something that came from the island of misfit toys."
With that, she pushed Amy hard into the wall; her head collided with the hard surface as she heard a small crack, and stars crossed her vision. The other girls laughed and strutted away up the stairs in their high heels. Slowly, cautiously, she stood, using the wall as a crutch, as she held her head. Tenderly she felt behind her head, relieved when she didn't feel the sticky residue of blood. She stood there a bit longer, as she allowed the small waves of dizziness to pass over her. Once it was bearable, and she didn't feel like she would fall down the stairs, she pushed off the wall and quickly walked the rest of the way down the flight of steps. The only thing that kept her from full out running was the steady pulsing of her brain. Shuddering in relief, she opened the door leading back onto the grounds, and stepped out into the bright and windy September day.