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Lost and Found
I feel like a polar bear in a tropical jungle. Here I am for the first time at my new school. I came from no where particular, and most definitely do not fit in with no one. I feel completely lost in my own body and mind. Who am I? Besides the obvious; my name is Tom, but people usually tend to forget that. I don’t blame them, I’m easily forgettable. My mom remarried and shipped me here to live with my father so she can “live the life she never had’’. It’s not that I don’t like my dad, he’s just not the same person he let’s off to people. He seems like someone completely normal, but he has a lot of anger inside, and by drinking he must forget all his worries and problems.
Walking the halls here isn’t like walking the halls at my old school. People here look at me like I don’t belong here, which quite frankly I don’t. Everyone here has their place and just by being here a hour I have noticed something; the Italians hang out with the Italians, the Spanish hang out with the Spanish, the “gangsters” hang out with the gangsters… On top of that they all seem to hate everyone that doesn’t look like them, which just makes me feel even more uncomfortable, no one here looks like me.
First class we have is English, not my favourite subject but I wouldn’t mind sitting down in quiet and have my thoughts to myself. But I could feel as if someone was gazing at me. I tried to ignore it, but something within me told me to look behind… Bad idea.
“You got a problem?” she said.
What did I do wrong? I tried desperately to make something come out of my mouth but the harshness of her voice made so that it was not possible.
“That’s what I thought so, you better mind your own business or I’m going to –”
“Cindy! Can you tell me what I was talking about?” The teacher interrupted Cindy’s threats.
“Yea, you were saying how much you love fried chicken.” The class exploded in laughter after the comment Cindy said on the teacher whom seemed to be taking the comment very badly. He was a bit overweight which I guess was the reason for her comment. “You better apologize” He threatened her.
“Or else what?” She challenged him. She seemed quite amused by this whole situation.
“Or I’m going to call your parents and tell them about that little incident that happened behind the bleachers.”
No one knew what he was talking about but she didn’t seem to be enjoying this too much anymore. Cindy didn’t reply and the teacher resumed his course. I think that hour lasted an eternity. The teacher’s monotone voice was drifting me away to dream land. But the bell rang before I got to escape reality.
“Thanks a lot. Your white ass almost got me caught. Maybe you should go back to where you belong; your fancy house and fancy cars, but don’t come mess up my life even more. You think you’re the king of the world and that everything is all figured out for you. Well welcome to a living nightmare. I say you won’t last a month at this school before you go crying to mommy and daddy.
She was so wrong on so many levels. I’m far from rich, and my parents are far from the ideal mom and dad. But she was the only one that talked to me today, and for some odd reason I could sense that she wasn’t the person she was putting off to people, like my father but in the opposite way.
“Listen I wasn’t trying to give you a hard time. I’m sorry if I did. It wasn’t my intention…” I trailed off.
“Save your apologies for someone who actually cares.” She turned abruptly on her feet and walked away leaving the scent of the vanilla perfume. It smelled so good, reminded me of my peaceful childhood when my mother would perfume the house of vanilla and when we would bake cookies together. It seems like so long ago since It’s been like that with either of my parents.
“Tom?” A familiar voice called behind me as I was still in the classrooms door frame. I looked back to see the English teacher.
“It came to my attention, in the file your previous school sent, that you are an excellent English student, I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind tutoring for a student after school. Obviously you would get paid. It would really be a helpful thing, not many students here are into the whole school thing.” He said with such passion.
It wouldn’t hurt to get some extra money, and I would spend less time home so why not?
“Sure, I’ll start tomorrow if that’s good with you.”
The next day passed slowly and finally came to an end. I started walking towards the English class so that I could go tutor. I waited in the class until I heard steps advancing in the room’s direction.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” A women’s voice said. She seemed appalled.
I look up and I see Cindy. Out of all the students failing, I get to tutor someone who basically wants to kill me. Great this is going to be so much fun!
She sat down in front of me, and was scrutinizing me. She had beautiful green eyes with brown wavy hair. But the best thing about her was her smell, the vanilla perfume, just appeased me, and made me feel right.
She took a deep breath and closed her eyes.
“I know we started off on the wrong foot, so how about we start over? Hi, my name is Tom and I like reading, my favourite book is Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer… It’s your turn.”
She seemed hesitant, but I saw a smile forming at the corner of her mouth, but it disappeared as fast as it came. She took another deep breath.
“My name is Cindy, I hate reading, and I don’t really have a choice to be here or I fail this year, so please don’t make this more painful than it already is.”
“I’ll try not to, but can I ask you a question? Why do you hate me so much?”
She met my eyes, and looked down automatically; she proceeded to speak under her breath.
“That’s how it rolls around here. Your not suppose to talk to white people, they’re all snobs and think they rule the world.” She whispered that as if it was rehearsed a thousand times.
“But you don’t know me.” I said, pleading for more enlightenment.
She paused and tried to think of something to say, without success. She pointed towards the work which was my cue to start my work. For an hour she stood silent, looking beautifully disturbed by the conversation we had.
As I was explaining something about the text we just read she interrupted me.
“Your different, you don’t care of what everyone looks like. I don’t get it… Usually people tend to think I’m stupid, in fact I’m really smart, I actually really enjoy reading, I love Into the Wild, but pretend I don’t so that I can fit in. But you’re not even trying to fit in anywhere. I feel like I can be myself around you.” She looked down embarrassed of her confession.
I looked at her speechless; I knew she wasn’t that girl I first met. She was much more… She was a polar bear in a tropical jungle, trying to fit in, and here she was for the first time, being herself.
Here I was for the first time, with another polar bear, lost and now found.