“Ok, here we go! It’s alright! I mean, what are they supposed to do, hit you? Or maybe, hit on you? Which one would be worse? The hitting, yeah, the hitting would be worse.” I was sitting in my car, clenching the steering wheel. It was the first day in my new school in a new country, well, the country isn’t really new, I mean, I’ve lived in Germany before, my family now lives here, Hell, I even have the damn citizenship, but still, I’m scared. Having lived in the US for a while, you have to get used to the German teenagers again. I look up at the clock, it was 7:15, school starts in 15 minutes, I better go since I don’t even know where my classroom is. As I enter the building, the first thing I notice is how shabby the place is. I think I can even make out an empty beer bottle behind a trashcan…well, welcome to good ol’ Germany I guess. Well, no actually, this is not a normal German school. I chuckle, where in the world am I? And then there’s that stink of cigarettes. I’m already sensible to when my dad smokes once in a while, but this smell is overwhelming. The second thing I notice is that there is no one here. I mean, almost no one. There is a couple sitting in the corner on the floor. The girl is working on her homework while the boy has his eyes closed, probably sleeping. There is another boy sitting on a bench by a window, listening to his Ipod, staring into nothing. What is this place? I mean, come on people, school starts in 15 minutes and it’s as silent as in a library. Suddenly, I hear loud voices and laughter, then a door opens and a group of five girls, maybe 14, come in. All of a sudden, they stop laughing and smile at the guy by the window. They giggle and whisper, “Oh Mann, der ist so suess. Haelt sich aber zu gut fuer irgendeine.” And they exit the room. Quick translation: “Oh man, he’s so cute! Thinks he’s too good for anyone though.” Since there’s no one really here to ask, I go up to him and tip him on the shoulder. “Was?” What? “Where’s the secretary ‘cause I’m kinda new here and…” I stop talking. He looks really annoyed and just points to the doors on the right. “Thanks,” I say a little irritated but politely and begin walking towards the door. “Arschloch,” I think. Asshole! As I exit through the door and enter the next hallway, he calls after me, “Hey, you!” I turn around, and he continues, “When you come to the secretary, be polite, so that they put you in my class.” He smiles at me but I don’t return the favor. I just turn around and exit the room. “Who does he think he is?” I murmur and before I know it, I’m standing in front of the secretary. I take a deep breath, and enter. In the room is one large desk, with an old computer and phone. In the corner stands a dead plant and above the desk, on the wall, hangs a dusty drawing of the school’s floor plan. Behind the desk sits an old lady with nice clothes. As I enter the room, she looks up, “Was kann ich fuer dich tuen, meine Liebe?” What can I do for you honey? “I’m new to this school, so I don’t really know where to go and what my schedule is,” I say. “What’s your name?” the lady is now already shuffling through some papers in a drawer. “Lisa Steiner,” I respond quickly. She nods as she pulls out a paper with my name on it. “OK, you are in grade 11e, which is room A204 with Mr. Linu. You will receive your schedule there and school starts at 8:00.” I nod but then say,” wait, at 8:00? I thought it was 7:30.” She smiles, “no, it’s 8, trust me, I’ve been working here long enough,“ and so she dismisses me. “Well that explains why no one is here right now.” I think and look at the clock, it’s only 7:30. “Miss Steiner, I forgot to ask you something, “ I turn around and see the secretary running towards me. “I need to ask you something, you did take the bus here, right? ‘Cause I still have to give you your bus card, otherwise you’ll have to pay 4 Euros everytime you use the bus,” she laughs a little. “Oh no, I actually didn’t take the bus, I drove.” She looks puzzled, “You drove?” “Yes” “How?” “What do you mean how?” Now I’m the one to look puzzled. “How did you drive here? You’re not even 18 are you?” “Oh yes, I am,” I smile at her. “Oh well, then I have to know the model, year, color, brand, and license plate number. Come on, we’ll go back to my office.” She walks back towards her office and I follow her. When she sits down, she grabs a pen and a piece of paper and looks at me. “So, what kind of car, year, and so on…” “It’s a 2009 Volkswagen New Beetle. It’s red and its number is “M BF 9238.” My dad had given me my dream car a few weeks back after months of begging him for it. Of course, he said that it was only because I needed it, but come on, public transportation is pretty darn good here in Germany. Well, it was a half an hour drive to my house by car, so it takes about 45 minutes by bus, which is a little too long with school starting early in the morning. “Do you happen to know the name of the color and the interior color?” She looks up from her paper. “Yeah, mmh, the color is called Salsa Red and the Interior is black leather.” You’re probably asking yourself, why the hell does she know this? Well, I am friggin in love with the car, so I know pretty much everything there is to know. “Alright, thank you, that’s all,” she says while she writes everything down. I thank her and exit the room. Wow, why the hell do they want all that information about my car? I look up, it is now time to go to my classroom, so I walk up the spiral staircase and end up in front of a long hallway. To my right is a big panorama window, and as I look out, I notice that it is beginning to rain. “Great,” I mutter through my breath. By now, students are arriving, and the hallways of the school slowly begin to fill. Unlike 20 minutes ago, the halls are now filled with students¬, waiting for class to start, making long faces because summer is actually over. I stroll down the hallway, until I reach a door with a large A 204 on it. That must be my classroom, I think, wondering why they had to print the letters this big. There are already a couple of students waiting in front of the door, so I slide down the wall next to it, take out my Ipod and think, “I just want to get this day over with.” I close my eyes and concentrate only on the music, and slowly, all the voices around me disappear and I fall into my happy place. I hear my cousin laughing, hugging me. I hear myself laughing, without any worries, just pure happiness. We’re listening to music and screaming out the words between giggles and laughter. You know, the kind of music that you can’t stand when you’re alone but can’t get enough of when you’re with someone else. “Was machsten da?” What are you doing? I look up, and find a boy staring down at me. I suddenly realize that everybody had gotten up and gone into the classroom, so I quickly gather my things and say, “What do you think I’m doing?” He smiles a crooked smile and answers, “Well, I think you were just far, far away.“ He chuckles and helps me up. “You’re good.“ I say and together we walk into the class. The room is rather small and at first glance it looks like all seats are already taken until I spot two in the very back. I point at them and we sit down, and right at that minute, the teacher starts talking. He was a small, fat man with large, round glasses. He was wearing a hideous red tie that looked like and ornament of a Christmas tree. “Welcome everyone, “ he says in a light voice with a fake smile on his face, “I hope you all had a wonderful sunny summer,” he pauses and waits for the class to laugh at his cheap joke but no one does. Wow, I think. After a few second, he clears his throat and continues. “Any who, I hope you are at least a little excited for the upcoming school year. Okay, for those who do not know me, my name is Mr. Linu. I have worked here for over fifteen years now, and, yes?” He is lookind directky at me now because I had just told Ben (the boy who had waited with me in front of the classroom) about my surprise about the teacher being employed for so long with all his lame jokes. “Mmh, nothing, it’s nothing.” I say as I hear Ben snickering next to me. To top it off, I smile at the teacher and he smiles back. He then says, “Well Ms…” he looks at me questioningly. “Steiner, it’s Steiner.” I respond quickly. “Well Ms. Steiner, I’m going to go easy on you because you’re new here and you don’t know the rules of this school yet, but I’m telling you, if you talk behind my back again, I swear, you will be suspended before you can say the word “quadratic equation”.” “Ok, I’m sorry,” I look down, then mutter, “That’s two words though,” but he doesn’t hear me, unlike Ben, who starts laughing and buries his face in his hands. “Anyways, as said before Ms. Steiner so rudely interrupted me, I have worked here for fifteen years and I have to say, this is by far my favorite school of all the schools I have worked at before. And since this is the first day of school, you will be dismissed at 11 a.m., so to kill these remaining 2 and a half hours, you will copy your schedule on the board and then we can play some games. But trust me, this is the only day you will be playing games in this class.” He finally shuts up to let us copy down the stuff on the board. And so the minutes tick by, playing naming game after naming game until the student’s names in the class are brunt into my brain to such a high degree that I shall never forget them again. At last, the bell rings and I take my keys out of my backpack. I notice Ben staring at them in envy. “What?” I ask, looking at him. “You can drive? Tell me these are just your disfigured house keys.” I laugh and he smiles. “No, these are my car keys, do you need a ride?” “YES!!!! Ahem, I mean, yeah…that would be nice.” He smiles again. “Haha, you crack me up, ok, let’s go.” I laugh and with that we live the room. On the way out, I notice that it was now pouring. Goodbye beautiful Florida, I think, and welcome to good, ol’ Germany. We finally reach my car which was one of the only ones in the whole parking lot. I guess not too many students here drive. “This is yours?” he looks surprised. “Yeah, why?” “I don’t know, I just didn’t think you would be driving a brand new car.” He now walks around it, looking at every little detail. “Are your parents doctors or something? I really like these curves, you know. A lot of people say they are gay, but I think circles are much nicer to look at than squares, don’t you think?” “Well, I guess, I mean, this is my dream car, and by the way, no, my parents are not doctors and no, this is NOT new, it’s three years old,” I get in and give him the “Aren’t you coming?” look. He gets in next to me and says, “Really? It looks brand new, how many kilometers does it have?” I start the engine, check that it’s in first gear, and answer, “About 20 thousand.” He mouths a wow, and I start driving. As I pull out of the parking lot, I ask, “Where do you live?” “I live about twenty minutes away from here, just take the A8 south and then I tell you where to get off.” “Ok.” After about 15 minutes on the autobahn, Ben points at a traffic sign and tells me that this is where I this was the exit I had to take, and so I did. The road that follows is just beautiful, breathtaking. Large pine trees border the edge of the road, and you could not really see ahead because the road was very windy. Also, we were the only ones there which made it even better. “You follow this road and it actually leads you to my house, so…” He looks outside the window and stares at the rain with a dreadful face. “What’s wrong?” I look at him questioningly. “I hate the rain,” was all I could get out of him before my car stalls and the engine stops to purr. “What the?” I say panicky as I slowly direct the car to a halt on the side of the street. “What’s wrong?” “I don’t know, I guess the engine just gave up.” I was on the verge of crying now. How could this happen? My pretty, little car just stopped working and it’s not like it was an old car. “What are you gonna do?” Ben looks at me “I’ll tell you what I’ll do, I will go outside, open the f*ing hood and figure out what’s wrong, and you know what?” I stare him straight in the eye. “What?” He backs away from me, wearing a weary face. “I will FIX IT!!!” I scream at him, open the door, and slam it in his face. I am so angry, stupid Volkswagen made in Mexico! The car had what, 20000 km on it, which is like 13000 miles, and that’s, under my definition, a NEW car, well, at least almost new. I open the hood and a perfectly clean engine lays before me. No smoke, no smell, nothing, just clean cleanness. “Hey Ben?” I call out to the lazy boy still sitting in the warm car while I was standing in the pouring rain, “Get me one of the towels that are in the back of my car, would you?” “Sure,” he responds and hops out the car to bring me the towel. And so I check the oil and everything possible to check when you’re in the middle of nowhere, and only have your hands, a jack, some towels, and a spare tire. And there is nothing, the oil is fine, and there are no leaks under the car either. My head is still buried under the hood, trying to find out what’s wrong when I say, “Alright Ben, I guess you should call someone, your dad, or better, the tow service, ok?” There is no response, I look up and there is no Ben either. “Ben? BEN?” I yell but no answer or Ben appears. Instead, there is a man standing behind the first row of trees, watching my desperate attempt to find Ben. Suddenly, the man starts walking towards me, with a determined look on his face. “Stay away from me!” I scream, but the man doesn’t stop. “Stay away from me or I swear, I’ll kill you!” The man smiles and doesn’t slow down, then he says, “With what, Lisa Steiner, are you going to kill me? With that towel in your hands, or with those keys in your pocket?” How does he know my name? I step back, then turn around and run into the woods. “You can’t escape me.” I hear a voice and it’s coming from everywhere but nowhere. “Why is that?” I scream into nothingness. I continue running and every breath becomes harder to take, every step becomes harder to make. “Because I will always be one step ahead of you” the voice is now very clear and near, and all of a sudden, the man is standing right in front of me. I gasp and skid to a halt, trying not to run into him. I slip and fall onto the wet ground. When I look up, the man is standing above me. “No one can escape.” He holds out two long fingers and touches me on my forehead, and then, nothing.