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Jeremy and Jackson
On the first day of 6th grade, Jeremy Rochester-Flint was trying to find his way to class. He was late to the orientation so the hallways were a ghost town. There was only a very grumpy woman at the first desk who told him to go to room 306. He was lost, trying to shuffle up the staircase, and his backpack pulling his weight behind him. When he reaches the third floor, Jeremy walks down the nearest hallway, looking for the room he’s supposed to be in. He finally finds room 306, but hesitates before he enters the room.
“What are you doing up here?” A boy standing at the water fountain asks him. He looked older than Jeremy, but not by much.
Timidity took over Jeremy, “T-This is my classroom” he stutters.
“Really? Because you don’t look like you’re in high school,” the boy says as he studied Jeremy. The younger boy was almost two feet shorter than him.
“The lady, at the desk, she told me to come to room 306,” Jeremy looked at the ground while he shuffled his feet.
“The lady who can’t see even though her glasses are an inch thick? She probably thought that you were in high school. What grade are you in?”
“6th” he said as he slowly raised his head to look at the boy at the water fountain.
The older boy sighs. He doesn’t want to deal with this kid, but he also doesn’t want to go back to class. He thinks hard about which he dislikes more.
“My name is Jackson,” he says. “I can help you find where you’re supposed to go.”
“Really? Thank you, my name is Jeremy by the way”, he says as he reached out his hand toward Jackson and cracked a small smile.
Jackson looks at the outstretched hand. “Follow me,” he says, and walks to the staircase.
Jeremy’s smile fades and hand lowers, and he follows the Jackson while still holding onto hope for a new friend. On the way down the stairwell, Jeremy had a few questions,
“How’s it like being in high school?”
“How old are you?”
“How long have been going to this school?”
Jackson looks at his watch. “Three hours.”
With that, they arrived at the first floor and headed to the main office. They approached the counter and stood there waiting for the woman at the desk to notice them. Jackson looked at Jeremy, who was waiting patiently with a smile on his face and hands crossed. Jackson was disgusted. Well, not as disgusted as he was with screaming toddlers who didn’t know how to cover their mouths when they sneeze, but still pretty irritated. “Excuse me,” he said to get the woman’s attention.
The elderly woman turned toward Jackson, an irritated grimace on her face and a pen in hand.
“What!?” She screeched
“You sent a nine year old to a high school class. Where is he supposed to go?”
“Who? This kid? All these goddamn kids coming in late. Give me a minute” with that she went into another room. Seconds later she reemerged with a tan folder, she flicked through the papers and said,
“Jeremy Rochester Flint, room 206, you happy?”
“Thank you,” Jackson said. He turned to Jeremy. “Do you need me to walk you there or can you find your way?”
“Could you walk me?”
“I guess.” Jeremy and Jackson walked back to the staircase and went to the second floor.
On their way up the stairs, Jeremy was running delightfully because of the idea of newfound friendship. While making his way to the second floor, Jeremy tripped and fell back down the stairs. Jeremy sat clutching his knee in pain at the floor of the staircase.
“What happened?” Jackson asked while shuffling back down the stairs to Jeremy. “Did you fall?” Jackson knelt next to Jeremy and inspected his knee. It looked like there was only a scratch. A trickle of blood seeped out of the broken skin and onto Jeremy’s hand.
“Yeah, I think I tripped, my knee really hurts” he said as he slowly removed his hand from his knee to inspect. The sight of blood made his stomach turn so he quickly averted his eyes.
“Stay here. I’ll get a bandaid.” Jackson swiftly ran upstairs to his locker. Jeremy was left sitting alone on the steps. While he was waiting, thoughts skittered about his mind.
“Will he come back?”
“Should I just go up the stairs?”
“Could I even make it up the stairs?”
With that thought he made an attempt to stand. He could stand, albeit not very still. He began his trek up the stairs, knee still bleeding and creating a trail of crimson behind him. Halfway up he took a break and sat on the steps. He thought that maybe his friend would never come back to him, that he would have to do this on his own. He tried again but only achieved half the progress he made before.
Jeremy someone coming down the steps. Jackson appeared with padded gauze and medical tape. “I couldn’t find any bandaids,” he said, “so i just grabbed this.” Jackson knelt next to Jeremy and carefully placed the gauze on his wound. He used one hand to apply pressure, and the other to wipe up the blood with the rest of the gauze. He then taped the gauze onto Jeremy’s knee with the medical tape. Jackson throws away the bloody gauze in the trashcan, and helps Jeremy to his feet. “Are you ready to go to class now?”
“Yeah, I think,” he said as he struggled to stand up.
They then continued up the staircase and down the hallway to Jeremy’s class.
Before Jeremy entered his class, he turned to Jackson and outstretched his hand once more. Jackson looked at the boy’s hand and shook it. “See you around,” he said.
“Bye!” Jeremy said a little too loud, and entered the classroom.
As Jackson walked away from the classroom, he heard a shriek. At this moment, it dawned on him as he looked at his own hands. They never washed the blood off of Jeremy’s hands.