I STILL COULDN’T BELIEVE I just gained admission to KIBS (Kent International Boarding school) all the way in England. My mum was more than happy when she found out, her hopes were through the roof. I was even more surprised I was actually accepted. I still feel like my brain is out of juice ever since my dad passed away. I was broken and my mum was left more than shattered. He died in a shooting, you know, being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I still blame myself for that moment every day. It was time now. The Addison Lee was already parked in front of our three-story house and my mum was standing outside with me. I don’t even know silly I must look right now, a massive suitcase with my palms gripping onto the leather for dear life, a bookcase standing close by, and a laptop bag slung on my left shoulder. I could tell my mum was crying by now because I could hear a persistent tune pattern of sniff, exhale and face wipe. What a song.
“Alright, you ready to go now?” The driver asked nonchalantly. From where he was sitting, I could tell he was quite chubby, mind you, he had a gold tooth on an incisor, and blue eyes. Almost as blue as mine. He looked like someone in their mid-twenties, with all that greasy brown hair.
I turned to kiss my mum goodbye as she turned to walk back in the house. She waved me goodbye first, though. Now I was left alone with the jolly fat man himself. He didn’t say anything to me at first, he only grunted as he passed me to help place my bags into the trunk. It wasn’t as spacious since this was a seven-seater, but I was happy to have my laptop bag near me. I knew my mother was still watching me from the kitchen window, so I blew her a kiss before the car drove off.
The drive wasn’t a long one, nor a quiet one. He asked me so many questions that I was nice enough to answer such as ‘where are you off to’ and ‘How did you gain admission at such an expensive school’ and stuff like that. Honestly, I wasn’t the richest of the richest. We aren’t poor either. To me, if you can afford Nando’s or Pizza Express, then you aren’t poor. Sort of in the middle. He asked some more questions until he crossed the boundary.
“How’s your family? You know, you dad and mum?“.
Deep down, I knew it was an innocent question. Had he already known, he would deserve a sparked smack across the face.
“I..I don’t like to talk about him. My mum’s fine though, thank heavens.” I answered. It was meant to be a deadpan, but it sounded more of a growl. I guess he got the picture and stopped talking afterward.
If I did fall asleep, I don’t know how long I was out for, but when I did gain consciousness I saw the car parked up at an old building. The lawn was beautiful, I think I’d be lying to myself if I called this place a school. More like a mansion with another house built separately. I assumed to myself that it was most likely the school building. There was a fountain in the middle of the compound and I could already see other cars parked in the lot. Much more expensive cars at that. Even the driver (I learned his name was David) was marveling with his jaw agape. There were Range Rovers, Teslas, smooth Volkswagens and even some Vauxhalls that looked pretty neat themselves if I do say so myself. I could read David’s mind and I already knew what the question was. In such a rural area? I played it cool and went outside to help David bring out my luggage. We dragged everything to the colosall marble steps outside the school building and I walked in. The front office was pretty, with wall clocks painted as the flag the time told for that country. That alone made me feel insecure about my wristwatch. I handed the lady my admission form and the letter they wrote back telling me about me earning the free scholarship.
“Wow, you’re the new girl, right? You must be a smart chic if you managed to earn one of these.” She looked at the paper again and turned it to me, pointing at the bottom of the page and grinning, showing off her porcelain white teeth. “You are in room 3A.”
I was creeped out after that, her grin gave me a bad sign and a huge red flag. But she happened to redeem herself as soon as I was staggering up the stairs.
“Hey,” She almost whispered. I turned to face her, with a plastered smile on my face. “I didn’t catch your name.”
“Zoe. Zoe Carmen.” I replied.
“If you need anything, contact me.” She smiled, with a phone sign with her hand near her ear.
I rolled my eyes playfully at her and continued up the stairs, making sure to carry my load this time so I didn’t destroy the expensive flooring. As soon as I walked into my room I was nearly scared out of my own skin. There was a girl about my age with a violet bob and fringe cupping her face. I think she’s a goth. She had brown eyes and a ‘seriously?’ expression implanted on her face and when she eventually stood up I noticed she had more than a nose ring.
“Are you going to come in or not, newbie?”
I nodded my head shyly and handed her each one of my suitcases. At first, I expected her to drop them where she was standing, probably because I hadn’t actually walked in yet, but then she disappeared into the room. I stepped in slowly, hoping this wasn’t a prank and looked around in awe. Our room was like a lounge. The living room was big enough with a flatscreen television, a black leather chair and a scarlet rug to match. Definitely a goth. The kitchen didn’t have a door, the living room was like one of those living room-cum kitchen types which I found fascinating. I noticed that there were two doors. Mine, I assumed, was wide open with the goth girl struggling to lift my things. I immediately ran over and took them from her, resting a hand over her shoulder for reassurance.
“About time, newbie.” She exhaled, resting two arms on her waist for exaggeration. “I didn’t catch your name either.”
I sighed loudly, starting to unpack. The room was quite big, much bigger than my room at home so I was willing to make it look presentable. I am quite an organized person after all.
The goth girl sat on my bed with a loud thump once I was done. My walls were a baby pink with splashes of rose gold, it had a bed with a desk positioned right underneath it and my laptop and phone were already charging, a bookshelf I happened to put together myself with all my favorite books in it and my book bags and study materials were inside my school bag, ready for tomorrow.
“For a newbie, your good.” She stated with pure honesty as she looked around. “My name’s Tracy.”
“Oh my goodness, you aren’t Tracy Beaker are you?”
“Tracy Beaker? Who’s that?”
I stuck a hand into my bookshelf and pulled out one of the books from The Dumping Ground series by Jaqueline Wilson and handed it to her. At first, she looked at me in confusion then she squealed when she read the blurb.
“Oh my God, I am reading this. Tracy sounds cool.”
“Yeah, my name’s Zoe and I’m a total bookworm, Tracy. We can fangirl over those books later, once you finish them at least.” I said, waving her off as she walked into her room to read the book.
I stood up immediately to go and shower. Twice a day is my policy. I pinned up my curls and wiped my face with a facial cleanser before stepping out and changing into my pajamas.
A walked over to my glass balcony that overlooked the school and for some reason, I started to cry. Maybe because I missed my mum. Maybe, my dad? No, because I just made a great friend, and she’s for keeps.