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Author's note: I am happy to recieve any feedback or suggestions, i hope to soon oficially publish this peice.
Every semester had dizzy freshmen’s, oh-so sophomores, familiar juniors and cocky seniors. The very powerful class rosters would be posted at 12:45, during second lunch. I would be in chemistry lab, but I sent a text out to Kaelynn to reply with all my classes. I snuck my cell phone back in my corduroy striped bag while Mr.Raspley scribbled something on a brightly colored sticky note to Gabrielle, I overheard something about a transfer student. After he wrote the slip he started explaining the layout of second trimesters grading rubric. I chose not to listen, instead I was attempting to guess his first name. I knew it started with an L, Lance, Liam maybe.
I was startled by loud multi-toned sounds ringing throughout the classroom.
“Damn.” I whispered to myself.
Our teacher looked around the classroom, as if my alerted expression hasn’t given it away.
“Well Ms.Marina, Seems you have also been a victim of technology.” He said it in his witty, sarcastic voice but all was same to me. “Place it up here.” His humor had vanished, and demands had filled in all occupancy. I shrugged and walked up to his desk, pulled out my phone. Luckily Gabrielle returned with another male student, the attention of my peers turned to them instead of my confiscation.
I placed the device on his desk and walked back to my seat, watching the commotion of the new kid’s lost schedule. I put my head in my hand that was supported by my elbow. Still watching. He had a genuinely confused glance on his light skinned face. Mr.Raspley ordered him to standby until 6th period, when this class was over, to rendezvous with him and sort the whole thing out.
He quickly sat himself in a vacant desk near the door. Our instructor finished what we would be learning for the next 3 months, which were nuclear cell theory, division and uses. The schedule bell chimed in executing the 5th hour. I walked straight to his desk, I stood behind the transfer student.
“It seems they’ve made a mistake, Yuri, you belong in practical science.”
Practical science? That was for freshman, not juniors. The only juniors who took practical classes were the Mexicans that still needed to learn English because the advanced courses required it. He didn’t look Latin though, he had black hair in which his ears peeked out of. It grew generously towards his face and downwards on the sides.
“Should I ask woman in office for new schedule?”
His voice was different, it had an accent. I couldn’t tell where he was from, so I waited for him to speak again until I determine a guess.
“Yeah just ask whoever’s running the computer up front”
He turned around and saw me in grey eyes. I was thinking French but he seemed ashamed, like he wasn’t welcome here.
“May I have my phone back?” I asked.
“No more texting in my class young lady.”
“Yes.” I responded.
I unlocked my phone and viewed my messages. Kaelynn’s text was valuable considering the crowd of people that one paper could captivate. My Academic classes were the same, but now I had photography for 3st and a performing arts class for 4th.
I looked around for Kaeline to thank her but I found Aileen instead, so I just thanked her via text.
“Hi.” I said, rather in an exciting way.
“Hey so who’d you get for 4th?” She asked
“Performing Arts.” I signed up for that and culinary. Either one of them would fill up the open period.
“Really, I heard Laurie is taking that class but I’m not sure which hour though. 4th or 5th.”
“Saunders?” I can’t stay in an acting class with her, she already acts like an over-the-average female dog.
“Yeah sorry about that, so I’ll see you later.” She started walking away down the gold-cream floor tiles like a model. I often wanted to walk like her but if I did, I would fall.
6th hour, Algebra. I hated math, I was good at the majority of it but it seemed lifeless to me.
My seat is in the back of the class, with Otis and Victor. Otis never understood what Mrs.Rawford taught but he did his assignments. Victor didn’t know what we were learning but never tried on our tests. I had the highest grade out of all three of us, I aced most tests but I didn’t do the papers she handed out.
Today was as usual as any other one, I twirled my unnatural blonde hair as the three of us talked and joked until the 7th hour bell rang for a class break. Then class resumed again, math took up two periods because the district found it to be more important. Same with literature class, which happened to be my 1st & 2nd.
Finally the dismissal bell relieved us all to go home. Students still lingered around the school building. Santa Rosa only had one high school but it wasn’t too overcrowded, small city. It’s mostly desert, even the mountains look like sand. Just like the rest of New Mexico. When I turned 18 I wanted to go to Hollywood, be a California house-wife or something. Dye my hair black and change my name.
I rode my bike home, it was a pink crème cruiser. My “house” was a white trailer in front of low rusty colored mountains. The wind was hot and humid, just like Mexico. I pulled my bike up to the side of my house and walked up the metal stairs. The door was locked, I smacked my hand on the little window with a silver trim. My aunt came and unlocked it.
I lived with my aunt Giselle and her 3 children; Tasha, Rosalie and Rodger. They were all still in grade school. She had an older daughter, Olivia in which she immensely adored because she was what Giselle thought as successful. Olivia sells stolen goods, but I could not judge her, I was no better.
My room was always clean, I didn’t have many material things. I looked at the mirror, water marks streaking down that lead to the counter top stained with liquor and ash. I smoked cigarettes, I wasn’t old enough but I drank too. Mostly Vodka.
I walked into the filthy kitchen swelling with crusty food and sippy cups. I rinsed off all the plates, wiped down the counters and such. One of the bowls had a cheerio or two lodged on it, my arms were in a peculiar position when Tasha came in.
“Your back!” She said in her high pitched voice. She scared the crap out of me, my arms jerked and the ceramic dish split and swiveled on the floor.
“Oh, Im sorry Marina!” She said loudly and scrambled back to her room.
I finally fell asleep at 2 am, I don’t sleep a lot at night. I think about the rest of the world dreaming. I got dressed for school which started in an hour or so. I curled my blonde hair, my roots were one inch long and had the same dark brown as my eyebrows. I applied my make-up and grabbed my red letterman’s jacket and my light weighted bag. I headed out the door and jumped on my bike. The sun was still coming up, it was breezy and cool. I liked it like this.
Humanities was the first class I took, and almost my favorite. My third class being photography, I loved it because it captured a moment in time and time is priceless.
I enter the room along with the rest of the mix of 10-12th graders. The new transfer kid was here, looking around in tolerance and biting on the sleeve of his black jacket. He had a foreign camera within his palms, he compared to the rest and felt defeated. I had a really old vintage Polaroid, I felt the same way when I looked at all the Kodak and Canon Digitals.
“Today class we will be snapping pictures of each other. Portrait style, Pair up.” Assigned Mrs.Keelings.
I had not any friends in this class, few acquaintances maybe. Oh well, so be it. I can find a partner, I scoped the room. Mostly everyone was in pairs, ahh the new kid. I walked up to him but I don’t think he saw me.
“Hey, so you wanna be partners?” I asked him.
He looked over to me, and displayed his crystallic grey eyes once again.
“Yes.” Was his response, I put the camera up to my eye and viewed through the lens. He looked down as usual, still biting his sleeve but he smiled. I snapped the picture and my Polaroid came winding out, I started to wave it so the picture can develop.
“What kind of camera is that?” He said with his unidentified accent.
“Polaroid,” I told him. “Where are you from?” It was my turn to ask a question.
“Russia.” He said swiftly.
“Oh, what’s it like?” I asked.
“Cold.” He said with a smile. He held the camera up, I turned my hand into a heart and faced the lens. A subtle flash and the moment was captured.
He told me that he had to develop it at home, but that he’ll bring it in tomorrow for grading and for me to see. I was anxious to see the picture, and him.
The moment of truth was approaching, my 4th class was theatre and the rumor of Laurie sharing the same class would be proven. The location that Kaelynn sent me was gym that meant no desks. I stood near the door to watch everyone come in, no Laurie. I was smiling, for the first five minutes.
Then she walked in.
“I’m sorry Mr.Tammer, I was practicing for the upcoming basketball game.” She flaunted with a smile.
She wasn’t a basketball player, she was a cheerleader, a fat one. I didn’t even know those existed.
I had been unexpectedly been sitting next to one of her close friends. I knew her name; Ingrid. I knew who she was, just not her.
“Did you see that new kid?”Ingrid asked.
“Yeah, he’s pretty cute.” Laurie implied. She didn’t need a description a new kid was big news in a high school like this.
Oh god. I wasn’t even Christian, that’s how bad I thought that idea was.
“I think I might ask him out.” She playfully.
“I think I might kill myself.” I said quietly.
“Omg! You two would make a great couple!” Ingrid supported her.
“Hmff! I know.” Laurie flattered herself constantly, I always that her friends would become tired of her but I guess not.
Apparently she hadn’t noticed me yet; she turned and gave me an ugly face. I’m surprised she had to try. The flipped her damaged brown hair with her chubby hand.
Mr.Tammer passed out tiny cut squares of paper, he asked us to write costume, make up or actor. Whichever one we desired to become in the class. I jotted down make up, I didn’t care enough to peek at whatever anyone else wrote though.
He then told to us the structure of the performance and performers for the rest of the hour. He stated that he had two other jobs, yet took all of them seriously. He had a Brooklyn accent and chestnut colored hair.
I was really hungry when lunch started, thankfully the line was short. We were having chicken sandwich, I never ate them unless they were packed with ketchup, mayo, mustard, tomatoes, lettuce and pickles. Which were all conveniently placed at the condiment counter.
I saw Yuri sitting alone outside so I walked up and asked him if I may join.
“Of course-”I sat, and then he began to speak again.
“Ehh, what is your name? Pardon my mistake.”
“Marina, you seem very polite.” I complimented, or at least I meant for it to be.
“Well, yes. You have to be nice to Americans.” His thick accent was rough.
“Why?” I asked, but he didn’t answer.
I had been sitting across from him, so I supposed that Laurie hadn’t seen me because she walked up to Yuri without saying anything but ‘eww’ when she saw me and walked away. I couldn’t help but laugh.
I looked down at his plate it had only one bite out of his food.
“You don’t like American food?” I asked as a tease.
“Not really, it tastes awkward.” I think he meant to say weird but I did not disturb his attempts of Americanism.
The rest of the day after lunch was same as usual. Science was science and math was math.
When I pulled my bike up to my home, all of Giselle’s Chihuahuas came scurrying up to me. Yapping and dashing around, dirt rose and was carried with the wind.
“Oh what are you doing out?” I asked all four of them in the high puppy-talk voice that all girls possessed. I always talked to them, they were the only ones I did talk to in that trailer.
I searched the cabinets for any sort of liquor, found sherry. Took the bottle to my room, I measured how much, it was up to the square label. When I was finished I filled it back up to the label with tap water. I went out to the porch to smoke, I heard my aunt coming but I could care less.
“I didn’t know you smoked,” She said on her harsh Latina voice.
“You don’t know a lot about me.” I told her, and it was true.
“Pass me a cig.” I never offered, but I gave one to her anyways. She pulled out a neon green lighter as I eradicated the ash off on the white aluminum wall.
I started to clean out my bag, I placed all my study papers in a file. I threw out an empty cigarette package, and as I sorted farther through I found the Polaroid from earlier. I slid it into the corner edge of my mirror with the rest, I didn’t need it for tomorrow Mrs.Keelings had a photocopy on her academic computer.
When I woke up it was still dark. I got dressed, I wore my lightly bleached jean vest. I brushed my hair, it was down to my waist now. It never got it cut unless I did it myself.
When I saw Yuri in class we flirted, he was assertive and I liked that. If I still dated boys, I would date him, but I don’t. Mostly because it ruins the point of Marina staying in Santa Rosa and [whatever my new name will be] getting a brand new start in Hollywood. It interfered, but I liked him anyway.
He turned in the picture for his grade. I never got to see it.
Lunch came around and I introduced him to Aileen, Kaelynn and Fernanda.
“We missed you at lunch yesterday.”Fernanda said in a happily implying act.
“Umm, yeah I sat with him.” I said with a water bottle in my hand, pointing to Yuri.
One of the days in math someone called Yuri a communist. It was a stereotype, and to Americans a bad one. Otis had introduced the subject of the ‘terrorist’ up and victor had implied the socialism.
Honestly to say I believe communism is exaggerated completely, but who is to say that America is better?
America really is the first generation of the rest of the world and as it looks now, maybe the last.
Another day Yuri invited me to his house, it was big and scarcely furnished because they could not bring many of their belongings on a plane. That was not the very first thing I noticed though. On my way there as I was riding my bike I noticed sprayed black lettering on the stucco walls. I could not make the word out until I was close enough to read ‘commies’.
I met his father Vladimir, who muttered Russian to himself occasionally. He had a coarse black beard and dark blue eyes. His mother had the same color of eyes but hers were lighter and delicate, it looked like melting ice on an arctic ocean. She had lustrous blonde hair but hers had deep yellow tones. Her name was Danya, Yuri later explained that it meant god’s gift. They also had a daughter named Josefina, she had black hair like her father. She said she was seven.
All we did at his house was speaking, I knew more about him. He was funny and confident but shy around those who he did not know, which was no longer me. He did mention Laurie though, it raged me inside but I did not express it. I didn’t bring up the graffiti either, he would take it as an insult.
The weeks went on, things got better and worse. The tension between me and Laurie rose, but me and Yuri became not closer but more attracted to each other. Sometimes he would act if he was not interested in me, but that made him even more desirable. As the word got around that Yuri was Russian the number of his tormentors increased. He never took it though, he would fight back.
One day Brian Langston took it too far.
“I cannot deal with this anymore! Why don’t you go to f***ing Russia and tell them if you don’t like it so much?! But if you ever went there you would be spit on for saying a word.”
Brian backed down, rolled his eyes and didn’t look back. He and his girlfriend Kait left the blacktop. Kait, that name sounded familiar.
In theatre we preformed our first act, Goblins and Goblins. Laurie apparently signed up for actress, she played the role of a pleasing fairy. I got to do all the non-goblin make up, while Hailey Fosh plastered on gelly latex and blue cream all over to make a truly hideous effect. When time came for Laurie’s turn, I asked her if she really wanted me to do her make up.
“Hell No! I mean look at you, you really want me to look like THAT?” Was her exaggerated response.
“Alright, come with me. I’ll have Hailey do your make up.” She followed me.
“Hey, Hailey? Laurie’s ready to do her make up.”
She nodded and had Laurie sit while she sprawled her brown hair back and started spreading skin adhesive around her eyes.
The time it took for Hailey to do the makeup was about 3 times longer than my original time so Laurie didn’t get the chance to see herself.
I watched from the side of the velvet emerald curtain, while she pranced around on stage with graceful fairy wings, a fluttering dress and glittery flabby skin. Oh, and a sickening cobalt face.
The faces of the audience went blank and baffled. Confused why a goblin was dressed and singing as a fairy. Laurie walked sluggishly as if she was tired, to the back room after bowing. She sat down and looked in horror at the mirror.
“Eeghhh?” Her dialogue started out as a soft murmur then into shrieks. “Why do I? Hailey you w****!”
I held my hand over my mouth to withhold my laughter. A pale blonde curl slid from my face as I stayed in cover behind a dusty tower prop. I had then realized that Laurie and I were like opposites, black and white.