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Caffeine Coma

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An array of uniform plastic chairs stalk and surround the vulnerable tables. A few chairs fall back as the other stand to attention immaculate and stern. A small handful of them are inhabited by weary eyed, gormless faces reluctantly awakened from their slumber. The kaleidoscope of primary colours varying from the walls to the chair are almost sickening at this unholy hour. A selection of cliques negotiate their schedule for the day as the muted chatter murmurs in the distance. I can see wrappers littered on the floor as they embellish the scuffed floors like autumn leaves and the carpet pummelled flattened chewing gum festering away.

There I am. I look to caffeine in an attempt in vain to stay awake as I stir it and add yet another sachet of sugar and precariously balance my spoon on the lid. The room is seems to be gradually baking its contents as yawns occupy it to the point of overflow. I take cover behind a pillar so the dark circles under my eyes remain unseen. Staring into space as the clock is ticking slower than usual so it seems. Every now and then there is the shuffle of shoes on auto pilot which briefly disrupts the silence caged within the four walls. I sit there, quite happily in the corner encased in my own yawn filled bubble.

I am abruptly awakened from my comatose state as a lone voice circulates the room. The voice is low and I realise that it belongs to one of the science teachers. I sigh as I try and fail to block it out from my bubble. Try as I may I can’t help but over hear this rambling voice as it rings relentlessly in my ears. It mentions a name and then proceeds to fire off some details. To be honest, I’m not really listening. I’m trying not to listen by my curious nature is persistent. I’ve always been curious. I remember when I was little my mum would wrap the Christmas presents for me and my brother when she thought we were asleep. Even as I got older I would still try and sneak a peek but I never had the heart, guilt would take over and I would tiptoe back to bed. I smile fondly as I remember the shuffles of my slippers on the landing and the excitement in the build up to Christmas that I had once loved so dearly. A bellowing cough breaks my daydream as I am dragged back to reality. It takes a while for each word to register.

“This issue needs to be handled very delicately”.

This puzzles me. What could he possibly be talking about? I feel guilty for the intrusion into their conversation but I can’t take the mystery much longer. It was just like the Christmas present situation all over again and I suddenly felt like a mischievous little girl- minus the slippers. I need to know what’s going on. An even lower voice replies with a slower pace and frequent pauses as if it is as puzzled as I am. I urge myself to stop listening but there is a niggling feeling inside me that presses me to keep listening. I try to pretend I’m not although now lessons have started and I seem to be the only living person having a free period the room is still and silent. I look out the window to see a small gathering of people from my year group huddled together like penguins with the occasional puff of smoke. I had never tried smoking before, it had always been on my bucket list but I’ve never been convinced that I’d enjoy it very much. I do really see the appeal and then my mind goes into overdrive about the effects that it has. We’re on opposite sides of the room and I am behind a pillar with a fort of books surrounding me so I can’t see them and they can’t see me.

“I taught her myself when she came here, then the incident happened and things went downhill from there. She had a lot of potential but sometimes that doesn’t matter when teenage hormones kick in.”

They must have been talking about Sarah. She’s the most popular girl in the school. Well, she likes to think so, she never seems to study but she used to get all the top grades. Although I hadn’t been coming here for very long I’d managed to get clued up on all the local gossip but that was mainly because Sarah always seemed to be the hot topic, in more ways than one. Then she became a so called ‘typical teenager’ and then the grades got lower and lower. They then carried on with this conversation and then something was said that made me realise that they weren’t talking about Sarah.

“She adopted another one after the miscarriage”

Must be someone else. I’m new to the school and don’t really know everyone yet.

“The daughter comes here, Mrs Williams took her on because she had a space after Rosie left. It’s a real shame that Maggie had to drop out and go away after it all happened. I suppose it’s worked out for the better now that she’s got her adopted son and daughter, she seems to be back on the up again.”

Maybe I had heard them wrong. Or maybe I was still dreaming. It wasn’t a dream, or even a nightmare. It was all real. My blood ran cold. The words were cutting the air like a knife and there was an acid sting in my ears with every syllable. The realisation screamed inside of me and tore at my heart. There was a sudden emptiness consuming me and everything went blank as the colours and darkness swirled and swirled until everything stopped.

I knew who they were talking about. I knew who they meant. I’m new to the area, just joined a different tutor.

Mrs Williams’ tutor. My mum, my brother and I, we just moved to the area about a month ago. She’s called Maggie. Apparently, I’m adopted…




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