Seventh grade is supposed to be terrible. You have way more homework than sixth grade, but you aren’t the “king of the school” like the eighth-graders. So if you add on the problem of being in a school filled with turmoil, thanks to a band of bullies, you would think that the year was about to be terrible. But, of course, the years ended up pretty amazing. And you can thank Robert Garcia for that.
After a full year of middle school, everyone has their group of friends, so walking into a school as a new kid is pretty hard. And of course, I’m the new kid. I walk into the office and official begin my first school day in Carson City Middle School.
“Are you Gavin Taylor, sir,” the secretary asks. I immediately decide that I don’t like her. It seems that her voice has some snottiness hidden in it.
“Yes ma’am. I’m Gavin Taylor from Palm Coast, Florida,” I snap back, not wanting to talk.
“Well then, let’s see. Here’s your schedule.” She hands over an ugly orange folder, open to my schedule. At least I have first period math. “I’m going to call another student to take you to your first class.” She starts flipping through a large book, and then picks up the intercom.
“Would Robert Garcia please come to the main office. Would Robert Garcia please come to the office” blared the loudspeaker.
“Ma’am, you didn’t have to do that,” I exclaim, but it is too late.
I was just about to head to math when my name is called over the loudspeaker. I sigh, put back my books, ignore the whispers, and head to the office. What did I do? Nothing! I sigh again, and jog the rest of the way.
I dart into the office and notice a boy sitting in one of the chairs by the door. He looks new. Must be a lost sixth grader. I push open the door.
“Yes, Ms. Parker. I’m here.”
“Thank you for coming Robert. I’m going to get straight to the point. You have a new classmate from Florida. I would like for you to show him around the building and take him to your, and his, first period class. OK.” she shoves out in one breath.
“You mean the boy sitting outside of the door?” I question.
“Yes Robert. Now hurry along,” she says exasperatedly.
I walk out the door and waved to the boy.
“Hello.” I pause, making sure that he is listening. You can learn a lot about people by their listening patterns. “My name is Robert. I think that I am supposed to take you to your first period class.”
He seemed a little startled. “oh. Yeah. Hi. I’m Gavin. Sure. uh. Let’s go.” He stood up and started walking. But he started walking the wrong way. He was really nervous.
“Hey. Gavin. The math room is the other way. I spun around and pointed my thumb to the right. “Down that hallway.”
“So are you really from Florida?”
“Cool. Is it warm?”
“Yeah. Way warmer than here!”
“What city are you from?”
“The beach! That is sooo cool!”
Before my first lunch at my new school, Robert walked past me with a weird look on his face. I turned around to see where he was going and decided to follow him. He walked down towards the gym. When he got to the gym, he peered in the door to see if anyone was there, and then flicked the lights on. I thought that maybe he was headed to an appointment, but I was wrong.
“What are you doing Robert?”
“Ok,” he nodded. “I need to talk to you.”
“Why here?” I ask, my face puzzled.
“I have an idea for a…” He paused.
“For a what? A plan for something that is important and somehow relates to me?”
“No.” He exhales after he speaks. I had no idea what the big deal was about. Did he not like me?
“Well, YOU know what it is like being a new kid in the school. Right?”
“Uh. I guess.” I wasn’t really sure where this was going.
“Well I think that…” his phone rang. He glanced at the screen and then started heading out of the gym. “Sorry. Got to go.” He ran out of the gym. That was really weird. So I walked out of the gym and headed to lunch.
Days passed, and I never really talked to Robert for the next few days. I barely even saw him. But then on Friday, he approached be before school.
“Sorry I’ve been avoiding you, I need to tell you something important. There are a few kids who you want to avoid. They’re big-time bulles. Their names are Ben, Sam, and Gregory.”
So that’s what the big deal was about. Of course there would be bullies. Because Palm Coast, Florida is the exact same thing as Carson City, Nevada. Duh.
“Oh and…” he continued. “...Don’t tell them I told you that. I don’t want to have to fish my notebook out of a toilet.”
"Yeah. I'll be careful."
Being careful is never enough. The next day, Gregory found me. I wasn't hiding or anything, but I was found. I had forgotten my lunch in my locker, so I ran back to get it. Guess what? Gregory happened to be walking by.
“Hey newbie, where ya going? Did you forget your lunch? Poor you” he said, mocking a baby.
I ignored him and kept on walking, quickly grabbed my lunch, and sped out of there. Too slow. His voice turned deep as he grabbed my lunchbox. “Gimme that. And you notebook too,” he said, pointing at my arms. Before I could make a sound, he snatched it and ran off in the other direction. I ran as fast as I could to follow him, but it was no use; I was too slow. I stopped, turned around, and listened to the sounds of my heavy breathing.
The rest of the day dragged on, and I refused to talk to any other students, including Robert. I wasn’t depressed. It was more like homesickness. Homesick because the bullies in Florida where slow and easy to trick. They wouldn’t make you life breakdown.
I guess you might be wondering why I decided to tell Gavin about the bullies. I didn’t want him to end up like my older brother. I have an older brother, Andy, who is 19. But he doesn’t act like my brother anymore. When he was 12, he got picked on a lot. I mean A LOT. He got so sad that he ran away when he was 15, and I haven’t seen him ever since. So I really wanted a good friend. One to fix the break in my lifeline.
My life isn’t all that exciting. I wake up. I go to school. I come home. I do my homework. I eat dinner. I “chill out” for a bit. And then I go to bed. Before Andy left, I used to do all sorts of things with him. He took me to the park, we watched movies, and he was just a “plain ole friend” when you needed him to be.
The next day, Robert asked me about the bullies.
“Have the bullies found out about what I told you?” he asked worriedly, glancing over his shoulder to see if anyone was listening.
“Nope. They probably don’t even have a clue. How did you get the bullies to stop bothering you? I mean, I haven’t seen them go after you this year.”
“Well. I guess I kind of ignored them. But, I have an idea…”
The next day, I walked into school loud and proud. I was confident that I was never to be bothered again. I purposely slow walked right past Sam and Ben right before math class, as to get their attention. I pretended that I had just seen them, and slowly picked up my pace. They nodded at each and started to follow. I lead them to the gym, where the only lights on were dimmed.
“Watcha doing, newbie?” Ben asked.
“N..nuh..nothin,” I fake-stammered back. Then all of the lights went out, and I slipped out of the gym. Robert had successfully completed Phase 1. On to the next part. Robert pulled out his phone, and played a recording of a man yelling ‘What are you boys doing in there?’
It was hilarious. Ben ran out of the gym screaming, and I never saw him again for a whole week. Or I guess, we never saw him. Robert and I became inseparable buddies. I realized that true friends are always there for you.