All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Dare You To Move part 1
Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. You don’t have to worry ‘bout me, I’ll do perfectly fine a Harding High School. Pssh, please. It’s just high school. Man, why did I have to say that to my parents as I got out of the car and shut the door firmly behind me? They could have walked me in, but that may have been babyish. They could have let me walk and get some fresh air, but I didn’t want to show up at a private school looking like I walked off of my farm, all sweaty and dirty. So, I decided that Mama and Pop would drive me to school and drop me off, the best ‘o’ both worlds, right? Not exactly.
“Sweetheart, are you gonna be alright in there?” Mama looked at me and handed me a brown paper sack. Peanut butter sandwich, a buck fifty to get a milk, and two little sugar cookies. The perfect lunch. I grabbed the bag and my purple and black plaid backpack, then kissed her and Pop on the cheek.
“Mama, I’ll be fine. Just go on home and come back at three.” I smiled, but inside I was cringing. I wasn’t gonna do well here, but I had to try. I had to at least try to fit in and be a good student. It wasn’t my parents or my fault that our farm was closed down. So I took a deep breath and didn’t look back as my parents drove away. I heard that familiar sputter as the truck hit a speed bump and the engine snorted. This made me feel a little bit better, but as I grabbed the door handle and jerked it open towards me, I felt the butterflies in my stomach spring to life. My hands shook. By the time I walked into the warm, open office area, my arms were numb from sudden chills and my stomach was clenching uncontrollably. I looked around, trying to find the office, when I saw I tall, thin girl, wearing a denim skirt and a tight, low-neck shirt, walking down the hall. She smiled at me and nodded, but she kept on walking past me.
"Hey," I said to the girl as she walked by. She stopped and looked at me, a wide smile on her face. She was wearing a denim skirt and a tight, low cut shirt. She had eyes the color of coffee and straight, white teeth that shimmered in the florescent light of the hallway.
"Hi!" She looked at me with tired eyes, her face seeming ghostly pale.
"Um, can you tell me where the front office is? I'm kinda lost." I smiled at her, thinking about not showing too many of my teeth for they were a little crooked.
"Oh, yah. Actually, I'm heading over there right now so you can follow me there." She tilted her head to her left and turned to walk that way. She walked slowly and gingerly, as if she were too tired to carry herself the forty-five feet to the front office. The girl walked up to the desk and smiled at the lady behind it. She leaned over and whispered to her, something almost inaudible, and the only words I heard were, "tired...usual...tried...medicines..." I wondered what was going on, but I didn't feel like asking. I didn't want to get involved in something while I'm the new girl. The girl nodded and thanked the lady, then walked over towards a door covered in posters about vaccinations, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and taking care of sports injuries. I assumed this was the nurse's office. The girl said hi to the lady and walked in, but turned back to look at me.
"I'm Marilynn, by the way. Welcome to Harding." Marilynn smiled at me one last time before stepping in. Through the window I saw the nurse flick a needle and poke it into Marilynn's leg. She didn't cringe or let tears slip, she just kept on talking and laughing with the nurse.
"May I help you?" I shook my head to shake the trans away and smiled at the office lady. I walked up to the desk, feeling a twinge of guilt for making a fool of myself on the first day of school.
"Hi. I'm Bridget Waters, I'm supposed to start here today."
"Ah, yes. Okay let me print out your papers and get you all set." The lady, whose name tag read Mrs. Fitzgerald, typed something into her computer and clicked around a couple times. The buzzing sound of a printer spittin' out papers. She reached under her desk and grabbed a bunch of papers, placing them on the desk in front of us.
"Okay. This is your schedule." The top piece of paper was a list of class courses, teachers, and room numbers. I studied it carefully, watching for anything remotely fun or exciting. Art, Social Studies, Spanish One, English, Science, P.E./Health, and Algebra filled the list. Nothing struck me as fun or interesting, just a whole lot of nothing. I put that page at the bottom of the stack and looked at the next paper.
"This is a map of the school. As you can see, all of the specials courses- art, Spanish, P.E.- will be in the West Wing just to your left and through those double doors." She pointed to the doors a couple of yards to my left. There was a long hallway with doors on both sides and lockers lining the rest of the walls. I looked back at the map on the counter before me and waited for her to speak again. "This is the East Wing down this hallway. All of the core classes such as math and English will be down that hall." This time she pointed to my right and down the hall that I had just come from. I saw that just past the door I had come in through, there was another set of double doors with doors and lockers on both sides of the hall. I glanced back at Mrs. Fitzgerald. "And finally, the hallway just behind you is the North Wing. It contains doors to the lunchroom, the auditorium, and the gym. Doors from the locker rooms in the West Wing will lead you to short hallways that lead to the gym. We will use the auditorium once a week for pep rallies and then every time there is an assembly or a play from the drama club." I turned and saw a final set of double doors that lead to other doors and lockers. Easy enough to remember, I suppose.
The next piece of paper was my locker, my locker combination, and my gym locker combination. Locker 34, combo 45-7-12. Gym locker 12, combo 8-30-56. The final piece of paper was a list of school supplies that I would need. “Now, if you have some paper and a couple of writing utensils, you should be fine for this week but probably by Monday, the teachers are going to want you to have all of the materials on this list. Do you have any questions?" Mrs. Fitzgerald gave me a warm smile as she stapled the papers together and put them back on the table. I shook my head and took the papers, flipping through them one more time. There was a piece of paper on the bottom that I hadn't see the first time.
"Um, what is this?" I showed her the paper and she studied it before nodding.
"Ah yes, I almost forgot. This is the rules and the dress code. Respect is our main rule, along with no chewing gum. You are allowed your cell phones and MP3 players, but not in the classroom. The dress code is pretty simple as well, no skirts above halfway up your thigh, nothing showing, et cetera. You can read about it later. Now second period is going to start in about five minutes, so you can go put things in your locker and get settled, then go to Ms. Almelo’s room down the East Wing. Your locker is down in the West Wing." She closed up the packet and handed it to me with a smile and a nod. Just then, I heard a door open and some light chatter.
"Thank you, Dr. Vincent." Marilynn smiled at the elderly lady in a white nurse's outfit who came out behind her.
"Any time, Marilynn. I have the shot here if ever you need it." Marilynn thanked the lady again before stepping away.
"Oh, Marilynn!" Mrs. Fitzgerald called out to her, making her turn and smile again.
"Would you mind showing Bridget where her locker and classes are? I can write you a pass."
"Of course! Yah, I'm in Mr. Baler’s class, so I'm going to need a pass." Her smile was starting to get annoying, as often as she used it.
"Alright." Mrs. Fitzgerald scratched her signature on a piece of yellow paper and handed it to Marilynn. She walked away, assuming me that she'd be back, and I felt a tingling sense in my neck that I'd just met my first friend here.
I had to get a shot today. I thought I could make it through on the pills I took this morning, but I guess I couldn't do it. I was on my way to the nurse's office when I saw a girl with two long braids and some old jeans come in through the door.
"Hey!" she said. She sounded like she just walked out of Sweet Home Alabama, the Reese Witherspoon of new girls. I felt it only polite, however, to smile back at her and answer her.
"Hey!" I replied, trying to sound just as happy as this girl.
"Um, could you tell me where the office is?" She continued to smile, and although I was tired, I continued to smile back. This girl was going to get on my nerves really quickly.
"Oh, yah. Actually, I'm heading over there right now so you can just follow me there." I walked away from her and wiped the smile off my face. I heard her come up behind me, keeping pace a few feet away. Meanwhile, I felt too tired to move, too tired to speak, and I just wanted to fall down and sleep. But I knew I couldn’t do that. What kind of new girl wants to see their guide faint right before their eyes? I would be terrified, and I know she would be too.
We walked down to the front office and I went up to Mrs. Fitzgerald.
“Hi, Mrs. Fitzgerald.”
“Hi, Marilynn. What can I do for you?”
“I need a shot. I’m so tired and I took the usual this morning but it didn’t work. I tried to get through, but I need another dose of the medicine. Can I go to Dr. Vincent?” Mrs. Fitzgerald nodded at me and looked down at her computer again. I walked over to the nurse’s office, a single wooden door with posters about drug and alcohol and getting your shots for school, blah blah blah. I opened the door and felt the girl’s eyes burning down my back. I turned to see her staring at me. “My name is Marilynn, by the way.” I smiled at her and she smiled back. I walked into Dr. Vincent’s office and began to speak.
“Hello, Dr. Vincent.”
“Well, hello, Marilynn. What can I do for you?” I shut the door behind me and sat on the table.
“I need an insulin shot. I’m tired and I thought that the usual shot would help, but they didn’t. I can’t bear the tiredness anymore.” Dr. Vincent walked over to a couple of cabinets and opened one that had the label “Shots” on it. I wasn’t the only one with a specific needle in there, but the shelves were mostly bare.
“So, you’ve been tired and what else?”
“I had blurred vision for a little while and felt very, very drowsy. That’s it today.”
“Alright, well, that’s better than the last time you came down here.” Dr. Vincent flicked the needle and stuck into my upper thigh. I was used to it by now after having to stick myself and having others stick me for fourteen years. I didn’t even flinch anymore. “Okay, then, let’s check your vitals just to make sure that’s what you needed.” She checked my blood pressure and my looked into my eyes with the light to check that, too. “Well, honey, it looks like a second boost of insulin is just what you needed today.” Dr. Vincent smiled brightly and put the stethoscope up to my chest. “You’re good to go, my dear.” I thanked her and opened the door just in time to catch Mrs. Fitzgerald as she needed someone to guide the girl around the school.
“Oh, Marilynn!” I rolled my eyes and put on another fake smile. This girl was already getting on my nerves.
“Would you mind showing Bridget where her locker and classes are? I can write you a pass.”
“Of course! Yah, I’m in Mr. Baler’s class, so I’m going to need a pass.” I let my smile sit on my face, but I could see the girl, who’s name I now knew to be Bridget, was beginning to get annoyed with it.
“Alright.” Mrs. Fitzgerald began writing on a piece of paper. I suspected that it was yellow with a couple of lines. One was long that had my name in Mrs. Fitzgerald’s beautiful cursive. The second line was the time, and the final line was Mrs. Fitzgerald’s signature.
“Thank you,” I said as I took the paper and went down the East Wing. I heard Bridget thank the secretary timidly. She came running up behind me as soon as I began to trot versus walk. Her thoughts were clear; she thought I was her first friend. This girl Bridget was in for an unpleasant surprise.
Mom picked me up during first period, so I knew there was something going on. I wondered what was going on, for my mother never pulled me out after being in school for just forty five minutes. What could she possibly want? I walked up to the front office and spoke to Mrs. Fitzgerald. She let me go outside and wait for Mother.
“Come on, Mom, come on.” I spoke softly to myself as I waited in the cold December air for her, my pulse quickening with each passing moment.
Suddenly, I heard the squeal of tires as Mom rounded the bend and screeched to a stop in front of me. “Baby, get it! It’s Jaime!” All of the blood rushed from my face and hands with a sharp tingle. What was the matter with Jaime? I didn’t ask her questions until she had flattened the gas pedal and the little Nissan Acura lurched forward.
“Mom, what’s going on?”
“It’s Jaime, Hun. He’s not doing well. They don’t know how much longer he’s going to live, but he wanted to speak to you.” She halted suddenly when the green light at the end of the road turned yellow and flashed quickly to red. “He wants to see you, though I don’t know why. The doctors didn’t tell me.” A small tear was quivering in her eye. “He was such a good kid, why does he have to go? He was always polite to your father and me, and he always gave Mason and Mina hugs when he came to pick you up. You’ll never find another boy like him in this horrible world, not a one!” The shaky tear made it’s decent down her rose-colored cheeks and landed with a splash on her shirt. I took her hand and rubbed it. For some reason, one that I was not sure of at the time, I was not bawling my eyes out. Jaime was my boyfriend, so why wasn’t I upset?
We rounded turns and sped through stoplights just before they turned red. Finally, we turned into the Oncology lot and parked at the closest spot we could find.
Hospitals always smell weird. It’s a cross between latex gloves and a pharmacy, mixed with a hint of cough and disinfectant. I was used to it for the most part, seeing as Jaime had been in and out of this wing for almost four years. But that first step in right after you clear the automatic doors, always gets me. I can pick out each little detail, like the odd way that dust hasn’t yet tickled my nose to make me sneeze. Mom had dashed off to the receptionist’s desk to ask where Jaime Laude was.
Ellen Kinsley knew us very well. Due to the fact that Jaime and I had been best friends since we were in first grade and he contracted leukemia in fourth grade, she had seen us enough. When she heard about something going on with Jaime, she’d call my mother who would pull me out of what ever I was doing to come visit him. We never knew when his life would end.
Mrs. Kinsley pointed to the long hallway with bright florescent lights and tons of doors. I saw my mom nod as she whisked me away to room 23.
Seeing Jaime’s pale face as it blended into the pillows was utterly unbearable for my mother. She decided to sit outside of the room in an uncomfortable hospital chair with Mr. and Mrs. Laude to chatter with. I, however, shut the door behind me and sat down in a chair next to his bed. Jaime’s chest under the sanitized white sheets rose and fell more dramatically than most, for he was nothing but skin and bones over barely functional organs. There was no muscle to help ease the rising and falling of his bony body. I took his skinny hand in my own and gently fed my fingers through his. Jaime’s eyes flickered open slightly as he felt my hand weaving into his own.
“Hey,” he said hoarsely. He sounded delighted for the company, but his voice was no more than a happy whisper.
“Hey,” I said, talking just above the volume of his raspy voice. I leaned over the bed and kissed him gently on the forehead, to which he closed his eyes and sighed in response.
“I’ve missed you, Brooke. It has been so lonely here without a soul to talk to. The nurses are not company at all, and the doctors wouldn’t dare speak of your personal life. All they ever say is, ‘How much pain are you in? Is your mother around to speak to? Do you need another dose of the meds?’ They don’t care that I need to talk about my feelings or my personal life. They just want me to be in as little pain as possible when I-” I leaned over and kissed him on the lips to make him stop.
“This is nonsense, Jaime. You’re not going to die. Everyone has faith in you at school that you are going to live to be a great man. This is just a tiny setback.” Jaime usually liked it when I looked at the bright side of things. Apparently, he was not in the best of moods today. He sighed and looked at me with empty green eyes. He rubbed my hand with his own.
“Brooke, this isn’t a setback. I need to tell you something.”