After dinner, I went to take a shower in Hall A while the girls from my class went to the community room or to their dorm rooms.
The bathroom was used by everyone, so when I came inside I spotted three girls inside washing their teeth with their pyjamas on already. White tiles covered every single wall except the ceiling. There were six sinks on one wall and long benches on the other. After taking in my surroundings, I got inside a shower stall and took my uniform off, hanging it on the door. I turned on the water, and it came out scalding. It was so hot that vapour came through the top of the stall like a chimney. The last time I had a shower like that was a long time ago. It felt so foreign to feeling the hot water cascading down my back, warming my whole body.
It felt divine.
It was crazy to think that I didn’t have this in my house. Until that moment, I had forgotten what it felt like to have hot water, to feel it on my skin. I couldn’t help thinking about how different I was from all the others at Hudson, and no matter how much I tried to feel like them, the feeling was not there. When I felt like this - which was many times - my mother would tell me: the others take thing for granted. They couldn’t live a day like you. You should be proud of yourself, but I was never proud of myself, how could I?
I started to put some shampoo on my hair when I heard the silent voices of the three girls outside.
“I just can’t wait to read the Book on Saturday,” one said, referring to The Book of Judgment I supposed.
“Tomorrow is Friday, so you won’t have to wait much longer,” another stated.
“I heard Harry was in trouble again this week.”
“Oh really?! I’m in shock!” the third one said sarcastically. The other girls laughed at her statement. I was not surprised either, he seemed like the type of person who gets punished every single day from what I’ve heard.
“Someone told me that he was caught outside after dinner.”
“It’s true. It’s not the first time that he has done it though,” one said, and I could hear them walk to the exit door, the response almost incomprehensible.
“I wonder what he does out there...” and with that, the door of the bathroom shut, the distant voices disappearing entirely.
I was left alone in the bathroom with my thoughts and the hot water that seemed to never end. Harry appeared to be a lot like a kid I had in my old school. The guy was rude, always defying the powerful and a bully. He was mean, selfish, unmerciful and always made fun of me for being poor. He made fun of my friends and me, he humiliated the weakest, used his so called friends and was resentful, he took revenge on those who were bad to him.
When I first saw Harry, the resemblances to this old colleague of mine were uncanny, and that scared me. I didn’t want to meet anyone like that guy from my old school ever again, but here I was, and I couldn’t run away from a boarding school. I pushed my thoughts aside and grabbed a towel and wrapped t it around my body and hair. I was being stupid; Harry would never do anything to hurt me. Why should he? Plus, was the new girl, and no one cared about the new girl anyway.
I put my pyjama and combed my hair when I saw Anna coming in the bathroom.
“Hello, everything okay?” she asked, sitting on a bench beside me.
“Yup, just getting ready to go to bed.”
“So early?” she asked, looking at her watch “It’s only nine, we still have one hour before curfew, but I understand you must be tired.”
I was indeed tired. I just needed a good night sleep to get my energy re-established so I could start my first official day of school with a positive attitude.
“When the girls and I go to bed we will try not to make much noise; I doubt it, so I hope you are a heavy sleeper or you will wake up!” Anna warned and with that she left the bathroom. I finished combing my hair and brushing my teeth, and I headed upstairs to my room.
No one was in the room. I walked to my bed and sat on the edge of it. It was definitely more comfortable than my old bed, and the comforter was smooth and smelled like lavender. The room was very tidy except the bedside tables that were littered with photographs and letters and alarm clocks and earrings and all sorts of school supplies.
I looked inside the box that was sitting on my bed. It had many pairs of uniforms that I had already put inside my wardrobe. Anna said there was also a little book inside that I should read. It was about the rules or something. I tucked myself in bed, turned the lights off and turned on my little flashlight. It was much cosier like that, and it reminded me of my home; this was how I had light at night when I couldn’t find the matches to light a candle.
I put my hand inside the box and took out the little book that was as thin as a finger. It was garnet brown and had nothing written on the cover. I opened it, reading my full name on the top of the first page and a schedule. I had Science the first period and then Music class. Music class? I have never had a music class in my life. That was going to be interesting… I also had English Literature which I knew I would find Anthony on the first row.
I turned the page, and there was a list of rules. I could barely open my eyes now because I was so tired, and I didn’t really want to read rules. They were always the same; don’t be late to classes, respect others, always wear an impeccable uniform, and so on. I put the little book on my bedside table and drifted to sleep, excited about the next day, my first official day studying at Hudson.
“You are going to be late!”
I could feel a weight dipping my bed and hands grabbing my shoulders. I could sense movement around me, but I wasn’t sure where I was.
“Wake up Summer, or you will be late for breakfast!” Anna said. Anna. Right, I was at Hudson.
I opened my eyes, and I had Amanda almost on top of my body, her dark chocolate coloured hair covering most of her face, the tips of her hair brushing over my cheeks. “C’mon, you have to get dressed!”
Amanda got off of me, and I started to put my socks on, my eyes barely open.
“You are really a heavy sleeper!” Anna said and combed her hair in front of the mirror.
“Yeah, yesterday we made a hell of a noise, and you didn’t even flinch,” added Lucy, putting her white shirt on.
“I wish I could be like you,” said Lottie “one little sound and I wake up instantly!”
“I’m a lucky girl then,” I told her and by then I was already fully dressed, with the exception of the tie.
After the five of us went to the bathroom - which was beyond chaotic - we arrived at the canteen to have breakfast. The food was incredible as I expected it to be. The cereals were crunchy and the toasts tasty and the juices fresh and the jams sweet. We sat at a table with Anthony and the others from our class. Soon enough a bell sounded across the canteen signalling that we had ten minutes to go to our first morning class.
Anthony and the five of us went to the Biology lab where Miss. Porter awaited us. We took our seats, and I sat between Anna and Anthony.
When all the students had arrived, Miss. Porter closed the door, and we gradually stopped chatting.
“Good morning class, I hope you had a good breakfast, I know I did,” she said and gave us a cheerful smile, “So before we start, I believe you have noticed Summer. She will be with us from now on, so make her feel at home okay?”
I already knew the whole class from dinner last night, so they all gave me a smile.
“Okay, so let’s get started!” Miss. Porter said. Her face had a healthy shade of pink, and she wore a big smile on her face. I had no idea if she was a good teacher, but one thing I was sure of; I wouldn’t mind having classes with her.
The class went smoothly, though I couldn’t pay attention because I was always being distracted by Anthony’s ridiculous jokes.
“Will you both shut up! I am trying to do my work,” complained Anna now and again. Anna was that type of student that didn’t show off her knowledge during class, but when I asked her a question, she knew everything. She was a walking Encyclopaedia.
After the Biology class had finished, we went to the music room. It was underground in that same building. We went down some spiral staircase which was just magnificent. The wooden stairs took us to a corridor that was dark but ample and had several doors. Some of the doors were open, and others were closed. I had this weird sensation of being inside an aquarium. Surprisingly everything seemed quiet, the only sound coming from our footsteps and voices.
“I need to go to the bathroom,” I whispered to Anna, “do you know where it is?”
“It’s in that corner there,” she pointed to one of the doors in that corridor “Hurry up, class is starting.”
I entered the bathroom and went into a stall. When I was done, I washed my hands and walked out. To my surprise, there was no one in the corridor. They evidently entered one of the doors, but which one?
I started to hear the distant sound of a piano. The melody was soft and sounded a bit like blues. It wasn’t classic, it had a modern touch to it.
Every single note was played with perfection and ease. I followed the sound and encountered a room whose door was slightly open. I peeked in, and I couldn’t believe what my eyes were seeing.
Harry was playing that beautiful melody on a striking black grand piano. I just stood outside the door in amazement. The blazer he was wearing made his shoulders broader and his curls were falling on top of his eyes. His hands moved with no effort, in a natural motion. I wanted to get closer and see better, hear better.
Suddenly, he stopped playing and looked back “What are you doing here?!” he asked, getting up as soon as he saw me. He had a furious look on his face, and his hands were clenched by his side.
“I-I was just...”
“You won’t tell this to anyone!” he was now approaching me. I stepped back, away from the door, “Now get out!”
He slammed the door in my face, a rush of wind making my hair fly backwards. I didn’t even look back and found the room I was supposed to have the lesson, still shaking like a leaf.