I was suddenly woken up by the blinding sun coming in brightly through the shades. Where was I? I lifted my head up slowly from a hard, smooth surface. A desk, maybe. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I appeared to be in fourth period humanities. I noticed the teacher was talking to the class about something I could only hear slightly. Something about research on an author.
“Alright guys, time to get out a computer and start researching,” the teacher shouted over the bustling students rushing to the computer cart, shoes squeaking with every step. I waited for what felt like an eternity in line to get a computer. I squeezed past three people, and grabbed a computer.
“Ah, number 13 is still here,” I whispered to myself. I fiddled with the number 13 sticker on the laptop as I walked towards my friends sitting in the back of the cramped classroom.
“Little one!” Rhett said as he patted the seat next to him. I smiled widely as I sat down on the stiff couch between Rhett and Emily.
“Oh my gosh! Lottie! You need to see this thing in I drew in my notebook!” Emily bubbled as she noticed that I sat down.
“Where’s Claudia?” I asked Emily, completely ignoring what she had just said.
“Oh, Claudia is over on the couch by the whiteboard. I think she wants to be alone today,” Rhett interrupted, even though I wasn’t asking him. “Or, well… This is Claudia we’re talking about. She might just be really invested in her book.” This I couldn’t disagree with.
“So… let’s say a… friend of mine didn’t know what we’re supposed to be researching right now. What would you say to them?” I asked, trying to be unsuspicious.
“You fell asleep in class again, didn’t you,” Rhett said, trying to hold in a laugh.
“No! A friend did!” I huffed.
“Right…Sure...” Emily said, giggling. I ignored her.
I flipped open my laptop and logged in. Sheila, whom I had not noticed was on the end of the couch, said something quietly to me.
“Hi.” That was all she said. As I turned my head towards her, she smiled a little.
I tried to work on researching this author, but I couldn’t really find any information. So instead, I just leaned back into the stiff, old couch. I shut my computer lid and rubbed my eyes. That was the last thing I remembered.
I was woken up again by the sunlight beaming into the room. My faint reflection in the dirty windows revealed a game of tic-tac-toe in red sharpie on my forehead. Really, Rhett?
“Good work everyone! Put your laptops away and you’re dismissed for lunch,” the teacher announced. Had I really been asleep that long?
The whole class raced down the hallway, pushing and shoving, like there was a winning lottery ticket at the staircase leading to the cafeteria. I shuffled down the dusty hallway towards my locker. I noticed Rhett standing at his locker a little further down the hallway, so I walked over to him to say hello.
“Hello!” I greeted Rhett from behind.
“Hi!” he replied cheerfully, turning around with a smile on his face.
“Why are you so excited? Pizza day in the cafeteria isn’t till next week,” I teased.
“Because I just bought some nice new markers! Copic Markers!” Rhett pulled out a big ziplock bag from his cluttered locker. He opened the bag and dug through the piles of bubble wrap inside. At last he pulled out a box of 36 Copic markers. I was amazed. I looked through the top of the clear box, and my eyes practically got lost in the rainbow of marker shades.
“Jesus, how much did that cost?” I asked, still staring at the markers in awe.
“Like $90. It took so long to raise up enough money, but now here they are!” Rhett beamed with pride.
“So, where are you going to eat lunch?” I asked, changing the subject. “Me, Emily, Claudia, and Sheila are going to sit in our usual spot. You should come eat with us!” I offered, grabbing my lunch off the top of my locker and walking away.
“Lottie! Lottie!” Emily called, patting the seat next to her at our usual spot in the cafeteria. I smiled as I walked over to the empty seat between Sheila and Emily. I sat down on the slightly scratchy bench and zipped open my lunch box. I grabbed my juice box and poked the straw in. Rhett came running into the cafeteria from the back door. He was running full speed towards our table, but then he couldn’t slow himself down, and slipped, falling on his face. I burst out laughing.
“Are you ok?” I asked Rhett as he got up and sat down next to me.
“Are you ok? You were drinking lemonade when you started laughing!”
“Oh, I guess I was,” I replied, coughing a little bit. That's what I loved about our friendship. The never-ending laughter. Laughter of jokes, of memes, of odd drawings.
“Oh! I forgot. I wanted to show you this thing I drew,” I said awkwardly, flipping to a page in my purple binder. I found it, and I showed Rhett this drawing of otherworldly weirdness. Even though I wasn’t very confident in my drawing, Rhett’s eyes practically sparkled with amazement.
“Why are you smiling?” I asked modestly. “It’s not even that great…”
“Shut your face, Ronk!” Rhett replied, smiling. I liked it when Rhett called me “Ronk”. I have no idea how my name developed from Lottie to Ronk, but that’s what I like about it. It doesn’t make sense.
When lunch period ended, all of us went running outside, pulling on jackets and gloves as we ran to the swing set. I hopped on an old swing, the chain handles covered in frost. Rhett jumped on the rusty one next to me, and Claudia and Emily took the two remaining ones. Just as we had all gotten on the four swings, Sheila arrived at the swing set. She looked around at all the filled swings, and then looked me right in the eye.
“Maybe I’ll swing tomorrow,” she said, smiling. Then she walked off to hang out with Clover and Anna.
“Hey guess what I found on the internet yesterday!” Rhett interrupted the silence. “It’s a Transformers meme and--”
“HEY HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND, EMILY?” I asked very loudly to prevent Rhett from torturing me with his memes from the darkest corners of the internet.
This pretty much set the mood for the rest of recess. Rhett talking about memes, me screaming in reaction, Emily sometimes joining in, Claudia staring. Just staring. Before we knew it, the whistle blew, and it was time for fifth period. Advisory.
“Ok, class,” the teacher began. “So, here we are in advisory. Does anybody have anything they’d like to say to the whole class?”
“Can we get a coffee machine in the classroom?” some boy shouted from the back of the room.
“Haha, very funny. Anything else someone in the class would like to say?”
“Can we get a class set of egg chairs?” a girl asked.
“Can we install a slide into the wall?”
“Can we pass a law against homework?”
“Can we order pizza?”
“Can we have two hours of recess today?”
“Can we go on a field trip to the amusement park?”
“Trust me, I would love to get, well, two of those things,” the teacher said, rolling her eyes. “Now, does anybody have anything serious to talk about?”
“When will class be over?”
“You know what, let’s just watch a documentary about sea lions!” the teacher suggested. The teacher walked over to her computer and slid a disk in the side. She plugged in a cord and adjusted the volume.
“Today we’ll take a look at the majestic, lovable sea lion…”
My eyes slowly opened. I really better get more sleep at night.
The teacher was at her desk. “I see you fell asleep again.” I quickly gathered my pencils and notebooks and shoved them in my binder, running out of the room. I looked at my watch. 15 minutes late for spanish class. As I ran through the door, the teacher had already started a lesson, and I had just walked into the middle of it.
“¿Alguien puede explicar este texto?” the teacher asked the whole class. She noticed me walking in. “Lottie? ¿Alguien puede explicar este texto?” I stared at her blankly.
“Yo ... Yo no recuer… recuerdo, maestro. Lo siento.” The teacher looked at me with slight disappointment.
“Tendrás que escribir un ensayo que explique tu respuesta. se vence el jueves. toma asiento.” I had no idea what she just said, so I nodded and sat down next to Sheila.
“What are we doing?” I whispered to her.
“Reading two paragraphs and explaining the differences.” The rest of spanish class flew past, me barely scraping by when answering the teacher.
Before I knew it, it was time to help out a kindergarten teacher downstairs. Every Tuesday, I ran to a kindergarten room and helped clean, help make art projects, organize, and keep kids entertained on the playground, maybe solve any problems if they appear. I ran through the hallway, paying no attention to the no running rule. I was too excited to see the kindergarteners.
“Hey Rhett!” I greeted him excitedly in the hallway.
“Hello Ronk! Why’re you so excited?”
“Cause it’s a Tuesday! I get to help out the kindergarteners!” My eyes were practically glimmering with anticipation.
“Well nice seeing you, but modern dance is starting, I better join the class. And I’ll see you after 7th period, right?”
“As always!” I said, running away smiling. I was always released early from helping so I would have time to get back upstairs before the dismissal bell rang. I reached the classroom and opened the door.
“Lottie!” A little girl shouted in excitement.
“Yay! Lottie’s here!”
“Lottie, look at this drawing I made for you!”
“Lottie! Can you help me with my writing, please?” I was very loved by these kindergarteners. I was like the coolest thing in the world to them.
“Well You’re certainly the class favorite,” the teacher said, chuckling.
“Pfft. They’d probably think no different to any other middle schooler.” I replied modestly. “So… What should I help out with today?”
“Well… Hmm… Today, it would be really helpful to me if you would polish my collection of student skulls.” I stared at the teacher. “Haha, just kidding. Can you wash the dishes from snack time?”
“Why are you washing the dishes?” asked a little boy from behind.
“Because they’re dirty.”
“Because you ate your snack in them.”
“Because you and your classmates were hungry.”
“Because people need to eat.”
“So you live a long life.”
“. . .” I decided to end the question game there. “Hey, it looks like your teacher is telling the class how to make a craft! Why don’t you go sit down, eh?”
“Okay!” He said with sparkles in his eyes. I continued washing the dishes for a while until the entire class set of bowls were washed and dried. I stacked them neatly in the pantry and walked over to the teacher.
“What should I do next?”
“Well… In five minutes, we’re going out to recess. You can play with the class, you want. You’ve earned it.” I was overjoyed. In elementary school, you would get at least three recess breaks a day. In middle school, you only got one. I was super excited to get an extra recess. I ran outside to play with everybody.
“Hi, Fujiko!” I greeted the few children that I knew the names of.
“Hello, Liza!” I said, running up the hill to the playground
“Hi! Want to play catch?”
“Hi, Danny!” I was so loved by these younger kids. I liked it. It gave me a feeling of self worth.
Before I knew it, Fujiko and Liza were ringing the bell. It was time to go inside.
“Thanks for your help today, Lottie! I really appreciate having you here.”
“Aww, thanks! I love helping out.”
“Feel free to leave a bit early to pack up your things upstairs.”
I ran to Rhett’s modern dance class. Since I was released early from the kindergarten class, there was probably still quite a few minutes left for all the other classes. I peeked in a door window and looked at Rhett dancing. It was amazing. I wish I could dance without making a fool of myself. I checked my wrist for a watch, but there wasn’t one there. I always forget that I don’t have a watch. Rhett saw me inspecting my wrist for a watch that didn’t exist and started cracking up, even though he was still following the dance teacher’s routine. The teacher looked in my direction. I ducked out of sight as fast as I could. After that, I sat outside the door waiting. In around five minutes or so, the music in the classroom had stopped. I opened the door and ran past the teacher.
“Hello Lottie. Nice of you to stop by in the middle of a routine,” the teacher said sarcastically. I ran over to Rhett.
“Hello!!” I greeted. Rhett burst out in laughter.
“You’ve never owned a watch in your life!”
“I know! But I always think I do!”
“Haha… So, where’re Sheila and Emily?”
“Sheila should be here any minute.”
“She’s probably on her way, too.”
Soon enough, Sheila and Emily arrived.
“Hey, Lottie!” Emily said.
“Hello,” Sheila shyly joined in.
“So! See you all tomorrow!” Rhett broke the silence cheerfully.
“Yeah! See ya!” Emily said.
“...Bye.” Sheila fidgeted. Emily and Rhett headed to the bus pick up lane, Sheila left for the office lobby, and I made way for the door.
“See you all tomorrow!”