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Our Story (part 1)
The date was April 24th. It was a regular Thursday.
I’m sitting in fifth period English, my butt is falling asleep. Mr. Milenka is lecturing our tenth grade class about literary devices. I’m getting bored so I’ll ask him for the girl’s bathroom pass. I walk out of the room and down the hall, to the girl’s bathroom.
I’m in no hurry at all to go back to English, so I take my time washing my hands, drying my hands, looking at myself in the mirror. I walk back to the English room. It’s empty. What the heck? Where’d everyone go?
I go to the window to see students and faculty outside in the back parking lot. Many students are on their cell phones, the teachers sending everyone home in their own cars. I wonder why everyone’s leaving school at 12:45 p.m. It’s the middle of the day.
I don’t really care, so I’m going to leave too. I walk out of the room and down the hall to the backdoor of the school. It’s locked. Crap, I’ll just use the front entrance. It’s locked too. I run all around the first floor of our school to find that I am locked in. I was looking forward to leaving school! I don’t want to be here longer than I have to! There are no custodians around to unlock any exits.
What am I supposed to do in school for the whole day and night? I’m alone. This sucks. I was supposed to hang out with my best friend, Gianina. I haven’t been able to hang out with her in like, a month.
I have to think of stuff to do to pass the time. This will be a long day. I walk all around the three floors of Greysen High School. I go back to the English room, grab my book bag and stuff it into my locker. I spend another 15 minutes wandering around the school.
Now that I’m all alone in a public place, there is one thing that I have always wanted to do. I run straight into the boy’s bathroom. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to go into the boy’s bathroom. Now that I know, it’s not much of a sight. Just urinals, sinks, and hand dryers. I go into one of the stalls and pee. I walk out to wash my hands. I dry them off.
All of a sudden, the door flings open.
It’s Gabriel Kahoku. He is in my English class as well. He is tall, has black, shaggy hair, tan skin, and a Hawaiian background.
I yelp in surprise and run back into one of the stalls. I am so embarrassed.
“Well, don’t I just have perfect timing?” Gabriel says to me through the stall. I unlock the stall and face him, realizing I’m being ridiculous.
“Um, yeah. You do.” I chuckle.
“So, uh, why is the school empty? Well, better yet, why are you in the boy’s bathroom?”
I chuckle again and we walk out of the bathroom together.
I answer his questions as we sit at the top of the main staircase. Gabriel tells me that he went to the bathroom a few minutes before I did. He saw the people outside and wanted to get out too. He thinks it’s just me and him in the building. All of the power is on and no one bothered to clean up before they left. We know all the exit doors are closed, so no one can get in and no one can get out. We should be safe in the school for today and tonight. We also know that no one will be coming to school until probably tomorrow.
“Yeah, this is exactly how I want to spend a perfectly good Thursday.” I say sarcastically and bury my face in my hands.
“Hey,” Gabriel takes one of my hands and rubs his thumb against it. “You’ve got me. We’ll have fun today. Even, if it is in school.”
“What if our parents worry about us? They will know that we didn’t come home!” I say and then I realize he’s touching my hand.
Gabriel Kahoku is touching my hand. It’s kind of weird and sweet at the same time. He’s just a classmate to me.
I’ve never had a boyfriend, never even been kissed before. So you can see why this is such a big deal for me. He’s smart and funny but not exactly someone you would go out with. I never thought of him like that before.
“I’m sure we’ll be fine. The worst that could happen is that we get so bored, we would do our homework.” He jokes. He said ‘we’. I guess I wouldn’t want to be alone. I’ll get bored easily, might as well stick together.
Gabriel lets go of my hand. He turns his face away from me and looks at the clock on one of the walls. It reads 1:30 p.m.
“So, what could we do?” He asks me.
I think about this. What couldn’t we do? Our three story school has every classroom imaginable, a nice library, two gyms, an auditorium, a computer lab and a big cafeteria. There’s so much we can do for a day in an empty high school. And we still wouldn’t be done yet.
“How about some food?” Gabriel says. “Have you eaten yet?”
“No, I didn’t.” I answer. “I am kind of hungry.”
We walk to the cafeteria for a few snacks. Lunch hasn’t been served yet so there is a whole kitchen stocked with food. If you call mystery meat, lean green beans, and spaghetti with funky tomato sauce food.
The lunch tables are the long ones that have benches attached to them and are foldable for easy storage. Gabriel takes one down himself before I could try to help. I catch a glimpse of his biceps. Nice. We walk into an empty lunch line, for once.
Gabriel hops over the counter, reaches under, grabs a hairnet and puts it around his hair.
“Hello, little lady, what would you like today?” He says, imitating our lunch lady’s strangely deep voice. He’s so weird. “We have hamburgers, deep dish pizza and turkey wraps.”
I laugh at him. “Ms. Jeannie,” That’s our lunch lady’s name. “I’ll take a turkey wrap, please.”
He hands me my wrap and grabs a pizza for himself. We grab a couple of milk cartons and sit at the lunch table. Gabriel tells me a lot about himself. He plays guitar, has four little brothers and plays lacrosse. He’s so easy to talk to that I find myself telling him I enjoy reading, swimming and I’m an only child.
“That pizza was good.” Gabriel rubs his stomach. “What do you feel like doing?”
I have this feeling that I should let my parents know I’m here. I know I should. “Okay, my parents have to know where I am. I’m going to email them.” I say.
“No, Naomi! Don’t!” Gabriel takes my hand again.
“Why? What if my parents are wondering where I am?” It’s been at least an hour since all the students have been sent home.
“We’ll be fine. The teachers must have already contacted everyone’s parents by now.”
“I bet Mrs. Ingrid doesn’t even know where we are.” Mrs. Ingrid is our principal.
“Yeah, but,” he pauses. “When you were little, didn’t you like going on adventures with your best friend, even if it was just in your backyard? And when you both went home, you would have that special feeling inside that no one else gets because they weren’t there to experience it with you?”
Well, no. I’m not very adventurous or sociable. I didn’t meet Gianina until sixth grade and my parents are protective. Mom didn’t let me go into the backyard when I was little because our neighbor’s rabid dog would bark, even if he saw my dad grab his tools from the shed. I never argued about going out to the backyard.
“I guess I your idea of an adventure and my idea of an adventure are two completely different ideas.” I tell him about my parents.
“Oh. Well, after today, you’ll be audacious enough to face that dog.” Gabriel smiles. So do I. “This whole experience will be our little secret. So, what do you feel like doing?” he asks again.
I think. “How about we just walk around. We’ll find something fun to do.” We both throw away our trash and walk out of the cafeteria.
We walk around the first floor. The science room door is left open. Gabriel dashes inside. When I follow, he has already opened most of the cabinets lining the walls. He takes out various substances, elements and beakers. He opens up the goggle cabinet and puts one of them on. He tosses me one.
“What are we going to do?” I say, catching the goggles.
“We’re gonna see how much chemistry we have.” Gabriel spreads the stuff all across the lab station.
Is he hitting on me? I put the goggles over my face and walk to him.
“Okay, but really, what are we doing?”
“Haven’t you ever wondered what it’s like to not follow the procedure of an experiment?”
Actually, I really haven’t. I’m not one for breaking the rules. The way I see it, everyone has enough to worry about, so why cause anymore trouble?
Then, I realize he asked a rhetorical question. I pull up a stool to the elevated lab station and sit down.
He grabs a test tube and puts random elements and acids and bases together. Some beakers have cool colors, some bubble, some smell funny and others don’t do anything. Gabriel is going crazy! I laugh at him.
“Yes!” Gabriel exclaims to himself.
He takes out two jars and a bottle. I have this gut feeling that something bad is about to happen. He puts about a handful of powder on the table and a handful of the other powder together. I wonder if he knows what he’s doing. Gabriel takes the eyedropper places a few drops onto the combined powders. And this is where this turns bad.
The mixture catches on fire. Gabriel is crazy! There are papers spread out all over the lab station’s counter. I didn’t recognize this until I saw them catch fire. It almost reaches Gabriel’s arm of his sweatshirt.
“Gabriel!” I hop off of my stool and push him away from the lab station, onto the floor. I land on top of him. I see the smoke reach the sprinklers of the room’s ceiling. They go off, soaking me, Gabriel, and the fire.
“You’re like a mad scientist!” I yell at him.
“Right now, I am a very happy scientist.” He smiles wryly.
Yes he is. And I can feel it nudging my leg. I get to my feet. That was so awkward. Gabriel stands up.
The sprinklers shut off by themselves. We both walk out of there, water dripping off us.