Gray and Cold

November 21, 2008
By Joseph Mennuti, South Plainfield, NJ

All that I remember is that it was gray and cold. I could not even remember being driven to school, sitting in the car with my mom, waking up, having breakfast, or anything. I saw the other students as they entered the building from the ice-glazed parking lot, and I stayed watching them until I was left outside by myself. A rush of cold brushed over my body, but I for some reason could not bear to look at myself.

When I finally went inside, everyone still was wearing their jackets. The hallway by the lockers was so crowded I felt like I could not breathe. Of course, I had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for a group of people to move from in front of my locker; they stood there, talking. The collaborative sound of nearly three hundred voices filled the hall up and down, and it drowned out my feeble attempts to say “excuse me,” in order to go to my locker.

Walking to class, I felt very cold. My legs seemed to be shivering, but I could not bring myself to look down at them. I felt the goose bumps form and felt the tiny hairs on my legs straighten so crisp that I thought they would cut me if I tried to rub my legs. Still, the bottom half of me seemed to vanish, as I could not see it. I might have been a floating torso for all I knew, and the cold came from some imaginary source.

People began to look at me oddly, as if trying to hide laughter or some other action they did not want me to know about. I cursed them violently in my mind, embarrassed and wanting to know what they were thinking. Was it my outfit? Was I ugly or did I have toothpaste on my face? I wanted so badly to turn around and ask them what their problem was, but I could not bring myself to do so.

“Are you okay?” I heard someone ask from behind me. I turned around and saw an older teacher looking at me like she was confused. I was so sick of being asked that question that I wanted to just glare at her without responding.

“Yeah,” I replied, trying to sound bothered.

I was almost to my classroom. I stepped on the floor of the history hallway when my feet felt like they had touched ice. I was finally able to look down at myself, and I discovered that I was not wearing shoes or socks. My feet stood bare on the cold tile floor, and as I looked up at my legs, I also noticed I was without pants, or underwear for that matter. I was only wearing my pajama shirt.

My first thought was to run away, but I did not have control over myself. I kept walking toward my classroom, and by this time, a group of bystanders was gathered around the sides of the hallway, pointing at me and covering their mouths. I felt sick, but somehow I did not feel my usual self and did not think it unbearable. I continued walking until I reached the door of my classroom.

“Hello, sir,” I said, somewhat cheerfully to my teacher. What was wrong with me? He responded by first looking at me and then turning away in disgust.

Before I could enter the room, a large group of students, whose faces I cannot remember, came at me, laughing and making jokes about my unusual appearance that day. I found myself becoming warmer, and, in a fog, I immediately dashed at them, but it all seemed to vanish into a whirlpool. I felt the light of my bedroom lamp hit my eyes and I heard my mom’s voice from my door, telling me to wake up for school.

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