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I sat at a plastic table and chair set in room 308, staring stubbornly at the menacing snow that threatened the life of the gently swaying flowers. The white/beige walls held memory of my every class here. The bright pink and blue poster on the board, (“YOU CAN DO IT!” It read) laughed idiotically at the class. The much-too cheerful counselor, Ms. Avery, flashed a plastic smile my way.
“How about you, Silvia?” She called to me, looking anxious, advising the other children to look down the table to my silent, unmoving, form. I crocked my neck slightly, the most participation I’d shown so far.
“Who’s Silvia?” I questioned. Only Ms. Avery ever dared to call me that horrible mess of letters put together by a drunken ape.
“Fine, then, Sam,” Sam. That’s the only name I had. My initials. Silvia- I cringed at the name- Annette Mason. S.A.M. My mother had never intended me to be called Silvia. Ugh. Why not Sarah? Or Samantha, even. I would never put up with that poor excuse of a name. Some people thought it sweet. No. I once gave a black eye to a high-school student for using that dreaded word. I was eleven. It wasn’t so much that I completely despised the name, but there was no way that name was meant for me. Too timid. Too…Not Sam.
“Yes?” I used my false good-girl voice, showing Ms. Avery that I could be cooperative when treated right. I wasn’t a bad person, not at all, I was just sore from a rough ride, as someone had once said.
“What are your plans for the summer? We only have one more day, you know,” a far-too preppy blond restated. One more day, you know, I thought, mockingly. Of course I knew, I’d been counting since the beginning if those dreaded classes in September, plotting my return to the normal world. They still stared at me, expectantly. Some of the newcomers’ mouths finally closing after the shock of me actually being alive.
“I’m staying right here, as always,” I replied, staring at the snow that sent a shiver down my spine, having nothing to do with the cold outside the window.
Ms. Avery had expected that, nothing, from me as usual. The other girls and boys went back to their annoying chatter as they always did when I acted this way.
“Sil-. Sam, then,” she started, leaning over the table. I was surprised it had taken her so long, to yell at me in discouraging tones, telling me to go back to my dorm. I had started packing my bag, about to stand and be dismissed. “No, Sam,” she smiled that sickeningly sweet smile, her too-fake teeth shone wearily. I slumped in my seat, scared of what was to come. “We have a new student coming to us,” the fake enthusiasms in her voice made me feel sick. I looked at her, waiting. She knew I didn’t care about a new student, we got one every other week, there had to be more. Her electrically frightening purple eyes searched my dull, gray ones.
“Your eyes get darker everyday, Sammie,” My Mother would sigh, that is, before I got locked up here. And she left. I planted my feet back into the prison-like Hell, returning from the clouds.
“His name is Jonathan Lockwood, from London” I waited, still longer, peering behind her to the frightening snow.
“Well, Sam, I hoped you would show him around, be his mentor,” she finished lazily, probably waiting for me to leave, storm out like the hurricane of worlds that landed me in here.
Just what I needed:: a bad-toothed British kid following me around all day and ogling on about his stupid beloved country.
“Why is he coming on the last day of school?” I inquired to her surprise. She stood up straight and smoothed the wrinkles from her white blouse.
“He will be joining us for the summer,” she mumbled in an unwillingly adopted voice. She stared ahead of her, her eyes blank. After a moment she came back, shaking her head and looking down at me, that unhealthy fake smile returning. “He will be here soon today. For now, however, you may join in our conversation,” She motioned to the far end of the long table where the other children were having what seemed to be a serious discussion.
“So what are we chatting about down here?” she asked upon her students as she steered me to the children. I kept a straight stubborn face as we approached the other students. Some backed away pointedly, others smiling in respect of the challenge they faced--me.
“Well, Sam,” one of them volunteered, “We were discussing my Grandfather, he’s in the emergency room,” the girl said. My mind drifted as I sat in a chair next to her. I nodded occasionally, watching the snow. The emergency room? Seriously? I watched my mom rot to nothing but self-pity, I watched my dad die in the ICU. I was nothing, I had nothing. They thought I had problems. More importantly, they thought I was a problem. The problem. My only problem was that I was stuck here. An orphanage, for the mentally hurt. No one gets it. No one ever will. I’ll be eighteen soon, I’ll be free. I thought as I rested my head on my hand. Wow, that sounded mental. I tried to imagine my dad, laughing at me, talking to people who whined about their depressing lives. My thoughts, however, were obscured by the door opening behind me. I didn’t need to turn inquisitively as the others, I knew who it was: my protégée. My unwanted protégée. I watched the children across from me. The girls’ lungs seemed to be deprived of the air around them; the boys looked frustrated; maddened almost. I turned unwillingly to the doorway. Jonathan’s eyes searched me knowingly. I was impressed with his perfect teeth that flashed the blindingly bright smile at me. I was even more impressed by his gorgeous light blue eyes that seemed to be made just to go with his perfect blonde hair; it fell smoothly along his forehead and into the corner of his eye. It scared me a little, though: the look he gave me, he seemed to know me. I saw my face in the reflection of his glistening eyes. His blond hair seemed to light the dismal dungeon.
“You may be excused, Sam,” Ms. Avery announced, her voice tight. I gathered my bag, glad of any excuse to be dismissed. I sighed as I pushed past Jonathan in the small doorway. He smelled amazingly of foreign cologne. He followed me down the bleak, saddening hallway, a certain misplaced spring in his step.