I Can Handle It
Walking to my bike, I wiggle my hands into the leather gloves and buckle on my helmet. Swinging my leg over the bike, a smile plays at the corners of my mouth. God I love this bike. I walk it out of the garage, closing the door behind me. Once I’m out of the driveway and onto the winding paved road that leads towards the city center, I speed up and revel in the adrenaline rush as I take the bends and curves of the roads faster than I probably should. After about 10 minutes I turn onto the main road and slow down to match traffic. As I drive through suburbia, I examine all of the nice family homes with manicured lawns and think of what a nice change of pace it is from Manhattan.
Finally, I pull up to the school parking lot and find a spot near the far corner. I pull off my helmet and lock it to the bike and then throw my gloves and keys into the small zippered pocket at the front of my bag. I check my watch: 7:50. It took me 15 minutes to get here, which is actually shorter than I anticipated. First class starts at 8:15 so now I have to kill 25 minutes somehow. Maybe I’ll go grab my schedule and then take a walk around to familiarise myself with the building.
Walking through the parking lot, I notice that most of the cars are mid-range sedans indicating that most of the kids here will be middle-class or maybe even upper-middle class. At any rate, they will hopefully be nothing like the ones at my private schools growing up.
I see a few expensive cars here and there. Back in Manhattan the only rich kids that didn’t go to private schools were the ones who were too stupid to get in and the ones who got kicked out for bad behaviour. If that’s the case at this school, those were the ones I would need to watch out for.
Walking up to the 3-story rectangular white brick building I felt strangely at ease. Maybe it feels so familiar because this school looks exactly like every high school in every teen movie ever made. I walk in through the double doors and into a large atrium whose walls span the length of all three floors, finishing in a skylight. The top two floors have windows that look out into the atrium. And all around I see groups of friends lounging on benches and around tables in the atrium likely catching up after the summer or discussing their schedules. I look to my left and see the main office which seems like a good place to start.
Walking in, I go up to the counter to find a squat older lady with grey curly hair that sticks up in every direction. She’s so consumed in whatever she’s looking at on her computer that she doesn’t notice me so I clear my throat and say, “Good Morning Ma’am.”
Seeming startled, she looks up at me and adjusts her glasses on her face. “Oh, Good morning dear, sorry I didn’t see you there!”
“It’s not a problem, I just transferred here and I’m looking to get my schedule.”
“Of course, what is your name?”
She nods and then types something into the computer. Her eyebrows pull together as she examines the screen. “I have your schedule here, however it seems your file is missing contact information for your parents. Would you mind filling in this form?” She starts to hand me a sheet but I don’t take it.
“Um, actually it’s not a mistake, I turned 18 last month.” I’m hoping she doesn’t push the topic further because I really don’t want to get into this today. She looks over at my birth date written on the screen and then says, “Ah, yes I see. Are you sure you don’t want to register their contact information anway? You know, for emergency purposes.”
“I’m sure,” I reply with a small smile.
“Alright then, I’ll just go grab your schedule off the printer.”
She scuttles towards the back of the office and I look around. There is a seating area to my left and several office doors surrounding the receptionist’s desk. I assume they belong to the principal, VP and probably the guidance counsellors. The lady returns with a piece of paper and then writes something down on a sticky note and hands both to me. Pointing to the sticky she says, “that’s your locker number right there, the first number corresponds to the floor that it’s on so yours is on the first floor. Would you like me to find a student to show you around?”
“No, thank you, I’m okay.”
“Alright, you have a good day then. Welcome to Half Moon Bay!”
I just smile and nod and then walk out of the office. I check out my schedule: Chemistry, English Lit, Physics, Advanced Calculus, Philosophy and then PE. Thankfully PE is at the end of the day. I hate having to go to classes all sweaty after. Plus it’s a good way to end the day.
I figure I should go find my locker first. As I walk through the auditorium I can feel eyes on me. A lot of them. I keep my eyes forward, refusing to acknowledge them. I hear footsteps from behind me to my right and then I feel a tap on my shoulder. I stop walking and turn around.
I have to look up to meet the eyes of a tall, fit dude with perfectly coiffed blonde hair in a letterman jacket and tight jeans. “Hey,” he says as he rakes his lust-filled hazel eyes up and down my body. I know that look very well; I saw it far too many times in the eyes of my father’s friends after they had too much blow and expensive liquor. I never let any of them intimidate me, so I’m certainly not gonna let this punk. I square my shoulders and reply, “Can I help you?”
“That’s actually what I was going to ask you. You’re new here, right?”
I nod once.
“Well, I’m Grant and I would be more than happy to show you around the school,” he says, taking a step closer and putting a hand on my shoulder. Narrowing my eyes, I remove his hand and say, “I think I can handle it on my own.” I don’t give him time to reply before spinning on my heel and walking away. As I walk away I hear him saying, “Wait I didn’t even get your name!” I ignore him.
Once I reach the far end of the atrium there is a set of double doors leading to a cafeteria, another leading to a gym and two hallways lined with lockers on either side. I wander to the left first and realize the numbers are going up which means I’m walking the wrong way. Oh well. I make note of the class numbers as I go. Once I reach the end, I turn around to explore the right side and end up finding my locker. I open it, stuff my bag inside and continue on my tour. Most of my classrooms are on the second floor except philosophy and PE which are on the first.
I hear the warning bell ring so I head over to my locker and grab my backpack and then head upstairs to the Chemistry lab. When I walk in, I see that many people are already seated in pairs at the lab benches and that most of the eyes in the classroom are watching me. Ignoring them once again, I look around to see that the only empty seat that’s not beside a guy trying to eye-fuck me or a girl glaring at me with jealousy in her eyes is at the back next to a small girl with her nose in a book. I make my way over to her and say, “Hi, is there someone sitting here?”
She looks up at me through her glasses and her eyes widen in what I think is shock? She just looks at me and says nothing. “Sorry, if you’re expecting someone I can pick somewhere else.”
“No, sorry, it’s fine. I’m not expecting someone,” she says quietly.
I nod and then sit on the stool. “I’m Monroe.”
She gives me a small smile and says, “I’m Charlie.”
“Nice to meet you Charlie.”