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Finding Faith (Another part)
“So class,” says the long-haired, middle-aged man who looks like a mix a between a hippy and a DJ with his shudder shades, the huge peace necklace looped around his neck, his purple hat flipped backwards, and the mop on his head that is supposedly supposed to be hair – it’s even worse than mine.
“We have a newbie joining us today,” he continues, one foot perched on a chair in the center on the room, his elbows resting on his knee.
Surrounding him are a handful of kids, some older, some younger than me – but all the same. Sitting in your standard plastic, blue chairs, wearing your standard, bored-out-of-their-mind and wishing-they-could-be-anywhere-else faces. This whole scene reminds me of a movie – here you have the weary girl with the lung cancer – me – and all of her pity as she dies on the screen in front of you. You’ve got the room full of pitiful teenagers who have various deadly diseases, the weird, spontaneous teacher dude who turns their lives around and shows them a new perspective, and, as I meet eyes with a guy across the room, I realize that I just found the tall, handsome stranger that will make this plot a whole lot more interesting.
The only thing that separates this from just another movie I’ve seen, that have been played by amazing actors who made you think their story was real when the truth is, it was all just playing a role, is the fact that the lucky actor playing the poor, dying girl is me, and it can’t get any more real than it is right, now.
“I’m Mr. Kermit – please introduce yourself,” the hippy/DJ says, scurrying over to the corner, where a lone chair sits. He drags it over, makes room in the circle, and sets the chair down in between tall, handsome stranger, and some random girl with really short, brown hair – it’s more like fuzz – and bright blue eyes that pop out of her head.
“I’m Faith,” I say quietly, as I maneuver my way to the chair he set out for me.
He rambles on and on, saying things, blah blah blah, but I don’t hear anything – I can’t get my mind off of his name. Mr. Kermit?
“Oh!” he exclaims loudly, snapping my attention back to him.
“Idea!” he says, his eyes lit up, his finger pointing in the air. “Let’s play . . . the name game!”
The simultaneous sighs that echo around in the room tell me that whatever this “name game” is, it cannot be good.
“Although everyone already knows each other’s names,” Mr. Kermit explains, “Let’s help our new member feel included. We will start with . . . Wildon – you go first,” he decides, pointing to a heavy set kid with no hair and pale skin from where he sits, across the room from me. “We’ll just go clockwise from him.”
Wildon sighs deeply, seemingly preparing himself.
“I’m Weary Wildon,” he says lazily, rolling his eyes and sounding just that – weary.
Next to him, is a girl with long black hair, light brown eyes, and a smearing of red lipstick, that doesn’t exactly go well with her pale skin.
“Weary Wildon and I’m Killy Kelly.”
. . . Um . . . isn’t that some sort of threat?
But Mr. Kermit shows no concern as he nods, waiting for the nest person to speak. A small, frail looking girl next to “Killy Kelly” speaks – the one with the big blue eyes – her voice no louder than a mouse.
“Weary Wildon, Killy Kelly, and Brainy Brianna.”
We go on and on, everyone saying their name and something to describe them in front of it, and repeating those of the people before them. There are different names, different voices, and different faces that I don’t bother to remember, until we get to tall handsome stranger guy, whose voice is deep and husky as he speaks.
“Weary Wildon, Killy Kelly, Brainy Brianna, Radical Randy, Crazy Charlotte, and me? I’m Owen.”
The room is silent, me smiling slightly, liking this guy already.
“Owen . . .?” Mr. Kermit presses, rolling his hands in a circle.
“Oh,” Owen says, laughing, “Pardon me –Owen Jones.”
I chuckle softly, and catch him looking at me, a smirk hinting at the corner of his lips.
“Owen,” Mr. Kermit sighs, shaking his head, “Why must you make everything so difficult?
“Everyone likes a challenge, right?” Owen replies, raising his eyebrows.
I nod a silent agreement, not daring to speak aloud.
Mr. Kermit just stares at him for a second, before shaking his head sadly, and producing a noise that is a mixture of a laugh and sigh. He turns toward the class, holding his hands out, but looking at me.
“Let’s just move on, shall we?” he asks, pointing to me. “You’re up.”
I sigh, beginning to feel a bit like Weary Wildon, before rattling the list of names off of my tongue as best as I can manage.
“Weary Wildon, Killy Kelly . . . Brainy Brianna?” I squeak, frowning, unsure.
Mr. Kermit nods encouragingly, motioning for me to go on.
“Uh . . . Radical Randy, Crazy Charlotte, and,” I look at him from the corner of my eye, “Owen.”
“And what about you?” Mr. Kermit asks.
I shrug, my face blank, “I dunno.”
“Oh come on!” Mr. Kermit exclaims, laughing, “Don’t be like Owen here.”
“I’m not trying to be,” I say, annoyed, “I just can’t think of any adjectives that start with ‘f’, okay?”
“How about ‘futile’?’” sneers the girl with the fuzz for hair, who I recognize as “Brainy Brianna.”
I glare at her, her being so “brainy” and all, probably not thinking I know what futile means. How dare she say I’m not capable of success – that’s basically calling me a nothing. But I’m not a nothing – not yet.
“I’m not ‘futile’,” I sneer, narrowing my eyes at her, “I think you’re just jealous that I have some sort of tan, and you’re as pale as a freaking ghost. Or maybe you’re mad that I have hair, and you don’t.”
As soon as the words are out of my mouth, I realize how insensitive that was, how much of a Marina I sound like. But I don’t take it back.
She’s shocked into silence, her mouths pressing together in a grim line.
I barely hear her when she says, “You’ll be just like me in no time.”
“Okkkk!” Mr. Kermit exclaims, clapping his hands together, “That’s enough of the name game for one day!” he laughs nervously.
Scurrying over to a desk in the corner of the room, with papers piled upon it, rising to the ceiling, it seems, he mumbles, seeming to consult with himself. He gathers the scattered papers into his hands, attempting to organize them.
Tall handsome stranger dude – uh, I mean, Owen – leans over to me, and I prepare myself for a conversation, trying not to either freeze up, or faint with him so close.
“Finally, a pretty girl in in this group,” he whispers, his breath tickling my neck.
I think back to what Brainy Brianna said – “You’ll be just like me in no time” – and know it’s true; I won’t be pretty for long.
I turn to look at Owen, sending him a sideways glance.
“What about Killy Kelly?” I ask, flicking my gaze to her, where she sits, sharpening a pencil with a pocket knife.
“She’s pretty, and has great hair,” I note, raising my eyebrows.
“True,” he says, nodding. He looks back to me. “But she’s carrying around a pocket knife – I rather not date a girl who is bound to turn into a serial killer.”
I smile, returning my attention to Mr. Kermit, who is now standing in the center of the circle with a handful of blank pieces of paper, and a few pens.
“Okay,” he begins, smiling, “As most of us know, last week we worked on trust exercises – which didn’t exactly turn out well.”
He sends a pointed look at Killy Kelly, and she smiles evilly back.
“Anyway, today, we are going to be working on writing a list on the things we’re thankful of in life, and the ones we could live without.”
My mind starts racing – I can think of about a billion things I wish I could change – but, it’s funny, really, not one thing I’m thankful for.
Mr. Kermit begins to hand a pen and a piece of paper to each of us, walking with this annoying bounce in each step, as if everything in life is all unicorns and rainbows. He, especially, being stuck in a room with sixteen teenagers who are losing their lives, should know that this is never true.