I looked like a pumpkin.
I looked like a green and white pumpkin.
It wasn’t because I personally looked like a pumpkin. The fact that I looked so unsightly and... round... was because of one thing.
I was finally in senior high school, the last few years of wearing ugly uniform and being forced to study subjects I didn’t like before I could finally be free.
Well, as free as one could be when they still had to go to university.
And work, let’s not forget that.
Actually, I was just looking forward to never having to wake up at six in the damn morning just to wear some stupid skirt and shirt that looked like the vomit of the devil.
I hated Catholic schools so much; I hated Catholic schools and I hated private schools. I still couldn’t forgive my parents for not sending me to the same public school as my primary school friends. All of them ended up together at the same school that had black and blue uniform and they looked so good but me?
I had to wear this hideous green and white plaid skirt that couldn’t go above my knees and this… this bland white button-up shirt that choked me and had buttons smaller than my damn nostrils and my nostrils were small.
God forbid we girls showed our collarbones.
It would lead to total world destruction, the fall of many empires and countries.
Because a boy could apparently get a boner from some ankles and knees, I thought blandly.
The good thing about my school was that it came in two: the junior school and the senior school. The junior school went from grades seven to ten.
Then there was the senior school.
As hardcore as the senior school was, everyone was excited to get into it. The uniform wasn’t as bad as the junior school (green and black plaid skirt and gold shirt? Who even made these?) and the rules weren’t as strict.
I mean, at least we didn’t have to get the length (ankles couldn’t show) and colour (white) of our socks checked every Friday.
Also, girls could wear their hair down if they wanted. That was such a relief because if I were to wake up late, I could literally just leave my hair alone since it was dead straight.
Anyway, senior school. It was coeducational: more human contact, more civilisation and less isolation. It was a little depressing because some of us didn’t know how to interact or act in front of the other gender and it was embarrassing.
I went to a coed primary school so I didn’t care. Some of my friends, however…
"Maddie, you’re pissing me off," I said, rolling my eyes. "They’re literally just boys. Insects."
"You don’t get it!"
I didn't get that silly attitude and that way of thinking but okay.
I rolled my eyes again, turning around to look for our other friends.
My group of friends was made up of five, me included. Currently, it was me and boy-obsessed Maddie waiting for the rest.
When I spotted Samantha, my eyes lit up and I broke into a huge grin.
"Samantha!" I yelled, waving my hand up excitedly, lowering it immediately when my white shirt rose with it.
Like I said, stupid uniform.
"How ugly is this fucking uniform?" Samantha commented with a scowl, flipping her skirt lightly.
I made a face at her language but nodded anyway. "My mum had to readjust mine. It slipped every time I wore it."
"Because you’re skinny!" Maddie exclaimed with her brows raised.
I rolled my eyes again and huffed. "I don’t want to hear it from you, you blonde stick."
"What’s with you two?" Samantha asked, eyeing us with a smirk.
I pointed to Maddie, shaking my head. "Her crush is now within breathing distance so she’s freaking out."
Samantha snorted, ready to say something before someone popped up from behind her. She screamed briefly before she laughed, pushing Sarah away by the shoulder.
If I had to identify who I was closest with, it had to be Samantha, Sarah and Madeline. Madeline, not Maddie.
Something changed in Maddie as soon as we finished year ten. We used to be such close friends but suddenly she was snapping at me more often, looking at me with cold eyes and talking to me with sharp words and I didn't know why she turned out like that.
Our group was fairly diverse. Maddie the Aussie was the blonde-haired-green-eyed-tanned-skinned-boy-obsessed technology geek; she was absolutely a genius when it came to technology. Samantha the Scottish was the prettiest out of us because of her red hair, rosy-pale skin and green eyes and she was incredibly talented when it came to art and makeup; Sarah the Arab was the black-haired-hazel-eyed-cream-skinned Einstein of the group. If Sarah was missing, you’d find her at the library trying to finish homework so she could hand it back the same day it was given.
Madeline the European, who wasn’t here yet, had pale skin, blonde hair, brown eyes and really sharp features. Her features were so sharp and piercing that people often looked at her twice and she was a gymnastics freak.
She was also obsessed with me, just like Samantha.
I liked the attention but sometimes it was suffocating to have two pretty girls squeezing you and fighting to hold you.
I, the Italian, on the other hand, was completely different from my friends. I had brown hair, brown eyes, vanilla skin (because it wasn’t white but it was light enough to label me as white) and no remarkable talents except one.
I was a writer.
Unlike my friends, my talent was secret, hidden. It was almost as if I had no talent because, unlike my friends, I couldn’t break out into spontaneous splits or paint the Mona Lisa or memorise a five-minute speech or unfreeze my Macbook.
My talent was quiet, patient, slow.
Samantha and Sarah knew about my writing but they didn’t know anything else.
I glanced around just before Madeline crushed me with her thin arms, holding me so tight and squealing as she chanted how she had missed me over the long break.
"She can’t breathe, Madeline," Samantha mumbled and then I was set down, breathing deeply but grinning.
My circle of friends was complete.
Sadly, I didn’t share a single class with my friends except for Samantha and Madeline. I had Art with those two and I was so happy that I did have Art today. Last period.
Yes to relaxing and doing nothing.
I was a complete loner, even in homeroom which was first thing in the morning.
The only good thing that happened to me in homeroom was that my teacher seemed to like me and he was fascinated by my origins. Was I Greek? Was I European? Was I Italian? Was I Swedish?
Sì, I got that a lot.
I left Italy when I was really young but I remembered my language and culture. Admittedly, it was a little difficult at times to recall a certain word because I grew up balancing two languages but other than that, all good. Much like writing, learning new languages was something I was incredibly passionate about.
One of my life goals was to be fluent in at least five languages.
My first two classes on Mondays, Religion (to praise the Lord for this fine day) and Science (there aren’t enough evidence to prove that the Lord exists but don’t tell your other teachers) went by in a blur of introduce-yourself-and-mention-one-interesting-fact-about-you (I was an only child).
No friends were made in any class yet but not to worry, it was only my first day and the first two lessons.
It was finally Recess and I couldn’t have been any happier. I finally got to see my friends after nearly two hours of not seeing them.
Thankfully, they were sitting outside rather than inside the crowded cafeteria.
One, I hated noisy places. Two, I hated crowded places.
My friends were talking about their classes before Samantha turned to me, taking a banana out of her lunchbox.
"I feel awkward eating a banana now," she said, earning Madeline’s attention. Sarah and Maddie were talking about something to do with their Multimedia class. "It looks like a—"
"You finish that sentence the way I think you will and I swear, I will choke you," I warned, feeling my cheeks warm.
Samantha laughed, eyeing the banana before she glanced at me, her brows wiggling.
"Don’t or I’ll seriously choke you," I repeated, pursing my lips to not laugh but I was grinning anyway.
"I love it when you talk dirty to me," she teased, taking a bite of her banana.
I rolled my eyes at her.
Samantha and I were such close friends that we flirted nonstop and it often made others around us uncomfortable. Being in an all-girl school for four years did that because we had no entertainment and Jesus had to be between us and the guy in line for the canteen.
Suffice to say, we were deprived of other human contact when we were in the junior school.
We called it a flirtationship and we didn’t care about others calling us lesbians. I didn’t care about my sexuality, I didn’t care about Samantha’s but we were best friends.
One downside to our group was that we got loud when we were excited.
Especially our laughter. It was so loud that literally everyone in the school knew who we were.
The noisy group.
It was particularly terrible now that Samantha decided to tell us one of her dirty jokes. She was always so brave and could seriously have a filthy mouth, but that made her so funny and entertaining.
"Do you spit or swallow?"
"You’re disgusting!" Madeline couldn’t stop laughing, snorting every two seconds like a pig and I giggled hysterically, my cheeks aching and my chest hurting. My stomach was burning from how much I was laughing at them that I was sure some abs were in the making.
"Can you all shut your noisy mouths?" I gasped, wiping my eyes under my black-rimmed glasses. My hands were shaking as a result of how hyper I was and I was buzzing with so much energy.
"I’m serious!" she yelled, startling Maddie who was helping Sarah with her laptop. "If you were in a relationship, would you spit or swallow?"
I was going to tell her how disgusting even thinking about it was, opening my mouth and glaring harmlessly—
All words died down and all eyes went wide.
Chapter 1 is much longer than this but here is where it gets cut. To read the full story, click on the "support me" button. (●'◡'●)
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