8. The Sun

The rest of the day wasn’t much different and, to my relief, my classmates did whisper after someone introduced him/herself. It placated my rampaging heart, even if, after thinking back on it, I found the level of gossip in my class to be fairly high. Natalie did tell me about how much teenagers (and old ladies) loved gossiping, but I certainly didn’t it was to such an extent. Maybe it was only my class?

Lightly shaking my head sideways, I held up my trail choke full of food (how was I supposed to eat so much?!) and scanned the cafeteria for some empty seats. I did see some, but what caught my eyes was that there were seats outside in the open garden too. I decided to have lunch under the beautiful sky, which tonality resembled the colour “deep sky blue.” A curious name to my opinion.

A round table with four seats, covered by an umbrella. I put the trail on it, made my backpack gently slide from my shoulder to the ground and sat on the military-green metal chair. A few mouthful of food later, a girl with shoulder-length, straight red hair, green eyes, pale skin and a cute frilly white one-piece stood in front of me. Her backpack was hidden by her body, but in front of her, held by both her hands, was a trail with food on it.

“Can I join you?”

She asked with a small smile. I knew her. Alice Halton, my classmate. I remembered her saying that she was from New Orleans. Quite away from here. Like me, she was alone. Is that why she approached me? To make friends? Well, I certainly don’t mind; I, too, am in search of friends. Let’s hope for a nice and long friendship~

*Nod* “Go ahead.”

We ate in silence. I was actually thankful for that. I don’t feel comfortable speaking while I had food in front of me or in my mouth, I preferred chatting afterwards. Still, I hoped she didn’t feel the situation was awkward. Maybe she did, as when I paused a little before eating the dessert, a pudding, she sighed a bit and started talking to me.

“Dang, that was tense. Not of many words, are you, Lily?”

I stared at her for a second, trying to piece together a reply and then spoke with a smile

“I could say the same to you, Alice. However, I didn’t find it uncomfortable, I like eating in silence.”

Alice glanced at me and grinned, saying “Ahah, I can only imagine how animated your family is when you are all eating together!”

Her remark made me chuckle. She wasn’t exactly right, as my parents thought the exact opposite of me. They did nothing but chat to themselves. Well, nothing besides eating, of course. I didn’t know what else to tell her besides the truth and hoping that she’ll continue the conversation with some new topic.

“Nah, my parents talk all the time.” As I talked some more words came to mind and I smirked. “But what about you? Does your family enjoy awkward silences?”

Alice seemed easygoing enough to not take it as an offense, I judged. It was my first time (not really) talking with a girl my age after rehab, so I hoped my judgement was too off the mark. Alice seemed surprised by my rebuttal, but she quickly laughed out loud, but not so loudly as to attract other people’s attention.

“I guess I asked for it, eh? Ahah, you’re a pretty interesting gal, Lily. You free this saturday? We should strengthen this blossoming friendship of ours!”

Alice’s genuine smile never left her lips as she talked, making the atmosphere quite refreshing. With the natural way she talked and her behaviour, Alice made me feel elated to finally frequent school. As I considered her offer I noticed some Carnation flowers budding and quickly blooming on Alice’s trail. Their solid brandeis blue colour was the confirm I needed to accepted the red-haired girl’s offer.

“Yes, I am free. Where do you want to meet up?”

Alice looked up and at the same time brought her right index finger to her lips. I wondered if this was a natural reflex/habit of her or she was doing it on purpose. Two seconds of intense thinking later, Alice’s eyes widened a bit and she spoke up, looking directly at me once again.

“How about in front of the school gates? I actually am not confident to arrive at any other place in time, I get lost quite easily eheh~”

‘I don’t think that’s something you should be so confident about.’

I barely restrained my thoughts. The end-of-lunch bell rang at the same time I replied “Okay.” To be sure she had understood, I nodded too. Alice smiled and, seemingly having heard my voice (or seen my nod), got up and walked away. Only now did I notice how she had been eating during our conversation. That sneaky girl. It was time for more classes and introductions, so I picked up both my bag and my trail, to put it back. Then, I noticed my still uneaten pudding.

*Sigh…*

I arrived a bit late to class, but it was worth it. It wasn’t long before classes ended and mom came to pick me up. I had left most of my books in my locker as I would need them tomorrow. I hope. Today too, I had thought we’d be needing them but in the end we just talked. It was quite nice, and by listening to my classmates’ various speeches, I found some I’d like to befriend, and… others which I’d like to avoid.

Nothing serious, just… there was this group of people who behaved like there was no one better than them, plainly thinking that the rest were inferior beings only useful to serve them. I’ll be sure to stay clear of them, I don’t want to mingle with that type of people.

Mom seemed ecstatic when I told her how was my day and she immediately give me permission to hang out with Alice. Dad made a strange face, instead, and continually asked if there would be boys too. I had to repeat to him that it would be just us two at least a hundred times. I know he’s worried for me… and even why… but he has to give me some freedom now. After all, I am in high school.


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