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It has been three weeks of high school and I have only walked down the main hall once. I must say it was one of the most frightening experiences of my life. I tried not to pay too much attention to anything or anyone; and I tried not to look anyone in the eye, either. It was an odd feeling, being in that hallway. I felt like I didn’t fit in. Actually, I know I didn’t. Maybe that’s why it was so uncomfortable.
Sometimes being a freshman is a blessing, and sometimes it’s a curse. This being my first year of highschool, I have an excuse to do dumb things or not know where my next class is. However, even though I don’t know who everyone is, it’s quite apparent to everyone else that I am a freshman – a small fry, a fresh meat.
Even though I didn’t pay attention to anyone in the hallway, I know who walks down it. It’s always the jocks and the cheerleaders and the popular kids that stride down the main hall as if they own it. I know the quiet kids and the smart geeks and the misfits don’t walk there. That’s why I don’t walk it.
It’s quite an inconvenience, having to walk upstairs and down the narrow, not-so-popular hallway and back downstairs to get to my next class. It makes me tardy for my classes, and I’ve already gotten two detentions for being late. It was a little annoying the first time, because I couldn’t rationalize why I had to get a detention if it was for a very good reason. I sat in detention with a few kids, some of them were the misfits, but most of them were popular kids. That’s right, some of the kids in detention were the same exact kids that flounce around the main hall like it’s no big deal.
I walked into detention, looking around. I was trying to take in all my surroundings. Some of the kids were making things out of paper and throwing them at each other. Other kids were writing on the board. But what really caught my attention were the popular kids that were stuck in detention.
While most of the kids didn’t mind being there (they’re used to it, I’m sure), the popular kids were complaining about it. At first it got on my nerves. After all, they probably actually did something to deserve to be there. But as I took a seat right in front of them and opened up my history book to work on a worksheet, well…that’s when everything changed.
“Maddi, I can’t be here. I need to leave. Jason and I have a study date in 15 minutes,” complained Veronica, a tall brunette who wears 5 inch thick make up and looks like a burnt piece of toast from tanning so much.
“V, come on. We both know you won’t be studying. Didn’t you say you were gonna watch that new chick flick you rented? And anyway, I have to go to work. I’ve been late too many times and I’m about to get fired. We wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t…”
As they complained and argued about why they are stuck in that room, I couldn’t stop listening. They sounded like they had so much authority; and as I worked on my worksheet less and less, I found myself eavesdropping more and more. Apparently the main hallway is where all the popular upperclassmen have their lockers. It’s also the hallway with the trophy cases for football, soccer, and all the other sports. Additionally, it’s the hall with the main bulletin board where all the announcements are posted.
And suddenly, as I was midsentence answering a question about the Great Depression, I realized…I want to be part of the hallway. Sounds stupid, I know. But I couldn’t help feeling that way. It’s where all the cool kids are, and it would be less of an inconvenience for me. And not for the first time in my life, I really wished I would be able to just fit in.
Today I’ve decided that I will walk the hallway. I know I should just be able to breeze through and not care what people think about me. But let’s be honest, I do. Poising myself at the end of the hallway, I look down to the other end. Everyone seems to be minding their own business anyway. It’s time to take a step down the hallway. Just one step, it can’t be that hard, I tell myself.
As I take my first step into the hallway, it seems like everything all of a sudden starts to feel unrealistic. I’m not quite sure if I have a real headache or if I’m just imagining it. But all of a sudden, my perspective on things change…and not in the way I had hoped. I keep taking steps down the hallway, and it seems like I’m walking slower with every step. But then I realize that everyone else seems to be moving slow, too. The ironic thing about it is that while everything seems to be moving in slow motion, my mind is racing. I can’t tell if the pounding is coming from my head or my heart, but I swear it’s hurting my ears, as well.
As I look around me, all I can see are grey people. Everyone’s grey, and I can’t make a distinction between any colors. Sure, the lockers are still blue and cream, our school’s colors; but every single person around me looks like they are in a black and white movie. I stretch out my arms before me and take a look. My arms are grey, and I can vaguely see my veins running down my arms and onto the backs of my hands. Why am I grey too?
It’s at this moment that it hits me: everyone seems so dull. This color is not flattering at all, and it dawns on me just how much color really adds to people. Seeing them in grey, I can see tiny flaws. I see what the girls look like beneath that make up, or the way the guys’ veins stick out of their arms. That’s not all I can see. Even though these people are smiling and laughing, I can see right through that. These people don’t have it all together. I can’t even begin to describe how I can see that; but I think it has something to do with seeing them in this grey color.
As I approach the end of the hallway, I wonder why I thought so greatly about it in the first place. I will walk this hallway again, probably everyday. It’s no use going out of my way and being late to class, because I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have a good reason not to walk this hallway. But I do know that I will never regard it so highly again.