“Why did you divorce Dad?”, I asked Mom.
“I have told you a million times, Shyra. You are too small to know about it.”
“C’mon Mom. I’m almost 15”, I argued.
“I don’t think you are big enough”, she replied, rather rudely.
I knew it was no use arguing with her so I came back to my room.
You see, when I was eight, my mom divorced my dad. And obviously every little girl loves her mother more than her father until she actually realizes his importance in her life. So, I stayed with Mom and well, now I have an urge to meet him and know him.
Within six months, she married this bloke who is a paramedic. Before John and Mom got married, we met a few times and he was a really nice person – amiable and helpful but soon after the marriage, he showed his true colors. He started hitting Mom, and the most surprising thing is that Mom doesn’t really care. Maybe because she loves him too much. But that doesn’t give him the right to hit her, does it? He tried hitting me also once or twice but Mom stopped him. Anyway, he doesn’t stay home for much time. It’s only Sundays when he is at home the whole day. Sometimes, we have our good family moments too.
Still, no one can ever replace Dad.
Dad is originally from India but he shifted to California, when he was 18 for his further studies. But Grandma and my other relatives still live there. When Mom was seven months pregnant, Grandma called and told us that grandpa was seriously ill and Mom and Dad had to go there, so apparently, I was born in Kashmir, India. That’s why, Dad insisted on giving me an Indian name. Shyra. I like it a lot. It means ‘Brightness’. Unfortunately, Grandpa died on the day I was born. But Mom and Dad never made me feel bad about it like some folks do. And that’s one of the reasons, I love them so much. Especially Mom.
Back in Elementary School, I was teased for being an Indian. I used to complain about this to Mom and Dad. And that was when Dad decided to take me to my hometown. Then, I realized how wrong I was in complaining about being an Indian because my hometown is really very beautiful. It’s like heaven. I met my lovely grandmother there. I felt sad for not being able to meet Grandpa but the stories Grandma told me about him were enough.
“Shyra, David!”, Mom called us. “Are you both ready?”
When I turned ten, my half-brother, David, was born and I was forced to share my room with him. He is very annoying.
“Yes Mom, coming”, we both said together.
So, today was the first day in my new school. First day in the Sophomore Year. Scary.
I wore my uniform and as always, I wasn’t looking very nice. That’s how I was.
David and I went down the stairs to the dining hall to have our breakfast when the door-bell rang. John opened the door and in came Hannah, my best friend. We have been friends for the last ten years and decided to go to the same school. We even did our Elementary and Middle schooling together. And I am nothing without her. She is like my Kindred Spirit. Sounds stupid, doesn’t it? But it’s true. We share everything with each other and we have done all sorts of crazy things together. We have even opted for the same subjects. She had been with me, when Dad left and when John started living with us. She does not really give the best of advices but she has always been a great help to me and even to Mom. She is like my emotional support system.
Well, as she lives nearby, we decided to go to school together. After finishing my breakfast, I went to talk to Mom in the kitchen.
“Mom! I’m so scared”, I whispered.
“Don’t worry! Everything will be fine”, she said, confidently.
I wish I had at least one-fourth of her confidence.
“But Mom, what if I don’t settle?”
“You will, Shyra. And you have Hannah too, right?”
“Maybe you are right. I’m being – “
Suddenly, David came in and pushed me aside to talk to Mom.
“David, I’m already talking to Mom.”
“It’s okay, honey. It’s his first day in school too.”
Just then Hannah called, “Shyra, come or we’ll get late”.
We stood in front of a big building, holding hands. In big, bold letters was written: RIVERSIDE HIGH SCHOOL. We entered the building hoping not to get too may stares. We didn’t. As we were about to enter our class, I glanced at Hannah. She looked quite confident. And then it occurred to me; Hannah was a confident, pretty and intelligent girl, while I was just the opposite. But she has not always been like this. She was also like me. In fact, worse. Back in Middle School, she was bullied for being shy and quiet. She was fat and had those unpleasant brown curls, which of course, contributed to the bullying. Before we entered the Freshman Year, she decided to change herself. It was like she entirely changed her personality. I don’t think it’s right for you to change yourself just because people don’t like you. I mean who cares about what people say? You can never make them happy, anyway. But I did not stop her. I thought it was her life and she was mature enough to know what was to be done with it. So, she overworked and lost a lot of weight. She straightened and colored her hair into bold red. But the past never leaves us, does it? Even though she had changed herself, she was constantly bullied and she could do nothing about it.
And then she decided that she wanted a new beginning. But she did not want to do it alone. I casually replied, “Yeah okay, I am always up for new beginnings.”
But now it sounds silly. No one really joins a new school in the Sophomore year. Everyone would already have their groups and we couldn’t just barge in a group and declare that we wanted to be friends with them. Or maybe it was just that I didn’t know how to make friends. There was surely a better way to make friends than just barging into a group like this. I really felt useless, sometimes.
And now, I just wanted the ground to open and swallow me. But of course, nothing like that happened. I gained some courage, entered the classroom and took an isolated seat. I don’t like getting much attention. Hannah took a seat beside me. The teacher entered and took the roll-call. I got to know the name of the girl sitting in front of me, Rachel. She looked very friendly. I wanted to tell Hannah about her but she was looking at a couple of girls, sitting diagonal to us.
Scarlett and Chloe looked the kind of girls who were mean to everyone. Not that I was judging them by their appearance but I had enough experience to know what kind of people they were. And it seemed like I was right. When Hannah went to talk to them, they looked at her from head to toe and then totally ignored her. How could someone be so unkind? I felt bad for Hannah. But even I didn’t have any friend till now and after seeing Hannah’s experience, I had second thoughts before talking to anyone.
People could be pretty harsh at times.
After the class, a girl approached me. “Hey, I am Diana.” I introduced myself to her and she asked me where I lived. Before I could answer, Miss Jane, the mathematics teacher, entered the classroom and Diana actually jumped to her seat. How could someone be so scared of a teacher in High School?
I soon got the answer. Miss Jane was one of those teachers who wanted the class to be silent all the time. While I was busy thinking about school and work, I got anxious and dropped a few of my things on the floor. She started shouting at me for disturbing her class. I tried to defend myself and realized that it was a really big mistake.
“Detention, today”, she said this, as if it was a very casual thing for her.
What a great start to my first day!
During the lunch-time, Hannah and I talked to Rachel. She was really a very nice girl. We talked for a while and then Diana joined us. I felt that somehow Diana and Rachel did not like each other. Both of them kept on making some sarcastic remarks to each other, which was totally weird.
After the classes, just as Hannah was getting back home, a boy approached us. He was from our class and was very cute but looked a little sad. I didn’t have any interest in him because he called me Sally.
“Hello Hannah. Hello Sally. My name is Kevin”, he said.
“My name is Shyra and not Sally”, I said, rudely.
“Oh, shut up. Hannah, would you mind talking to me for a while? Alone.”, he said, pulling a face at me.
I was not sure if he emphasized on the word alone because of me or because of her but Hannah definitely thought it was the latter one as she was blushing.
She went with him, while I was left in the school for Detention. I had no idea why Scarlett and Chloe were also there. And then I decided to talk to them about the way they treated Hannah. That was the second mistake of the day.
They both were the most popular girls of the school. It was like they ruled the school. They had the perfect hair, the perfect bodies and the perfect way of speaking.
“Why were you so mean to Hannah?”, I asked.
Scarlett raised one eyebrow and asked me, “Who the hell are you?”
That was a very embarrassing moment. I introduced myself and asked her again, “What did Hannah even say to you? Why were you so horrible to her? Is that how you treat a new student? You should be ashamed of yourself.”
That made Chloe too angry, and without even thinking twice, she just pushed me. I was afraid that I might fall and so I shrieked loudly. I almost fell but suddenly, a guy behind me held my hand tightly and saved me from falling.
I looked up at him. And that’s when it happened.
My heart skipped a beat.
I never knew all this happened in the real life too because it was actually like a movie and everything around me stopped. He was a tall and extremely handsome boy with a flawless skin. I looked into his hazel brown eyes and within a second, I was lost in them.