9. Temperance

Wednesday, the second day of school. My excitement hasn’t died down, not completely. I suppose it’s going to be a nice day, yesterday they told us that today we would be shown the available elective course in the gymnasium after lunch. We’ll have to hand in a paper in which we’ll specify what course we’re going to attend to, there’s a minimum of one course and a maximum of three. I already know what elective courses there are, but actually seeing what they do and stuff it’s better, I believe.

Before having breakfast, just two toast with jam and some juice, I took a quick shower and put on yesterday’s clothes. They’re still clean and we can’t really wash them after each use, unless they’re visibly dirty and stink. It’d be a waste. Mom brought me to school today too, it’s the arrangement my parents agreed on. A week mom then a week dad, for the first two months. Afterwards, I’ll begin taking the bus. I was made to memorize the route and which bus I have to take.

The weather was pretty tame, a chilly wind blew sometimes but as there was no cloud in the sky, the heat from the sun didn’t make it cold. Pretty nice. In the car, while going to school, mom gave me a worried look. It wasn’t anything serious, just that, at times, I like to touch and feel the wonderful blue flowers I see. I know they aren’t real, but being able to see and feel them so clearly, though rarely, makes me forget it.

After a quick stop by my locker, a green, tall metal box with a rather long password, I went to class. I put inside tomorrow’s book that I wouldn’t need today and took out all the others. My family certainly wasn’t low on money, dad was a lawyer and mom was a professional cook with her own personal 4-star restaurant, but the school books weren’t cheap. All ranged from 20$ to 30$. Natalie wanted to give me hers, but they.. didn’t contain the required information.


I couldn’t restrain a little laugh when I thought about when Natalie’s face cramped in a forced smile because father had, tactlessly, said her books were old.

The first half of the day flowed normally, with some hours of lessons mixed in with hours of introductions (the last ones, if I correctly remember Mr. Tallow’s words, our chemistry teacher). The surprising, in a good way, thing happened at lunch. When the bell rang, Alice came to me and together we went to get our lunch, a different set from yesterday. Always eating the same thing makes the food lose its flavor.

Differently from me, Alice today wore a different one piece. It barely reached past her waist, but that was why she was wearing short jeans too. Her dress was a light orange which exalted her lively attitude even more. Considering her corporature, ~165cm tall (as she was pretty much my height, I was pretty confident in that guess) with a modest chest and a small backside, I judged her manner of dressing was pretty much spot on. A thought about asking her advices on what new clothes to buy had formed in my mind at that point

We ate together that day too and as we got up near the end of the lunch break, we noticed three girls some tables away from us. They still had food on their trails but were ignoring it to chat between themselves and contemporaneously use their phones. Alice proposed to eat with them the next day, and I accepted even though.. one of the three was on my list of people to not approach.

“Oh come on Lily! You can’t judge a person before you know her!”

After that, I conceded defeat. Following the stream of freshmen we then made our way to the gymnasium. Yes, we were freshmen. Usually, if you are a tenth grader you are a sophomore, but this high school was for grades from 10 to 12, which changed the names of the students to freshman, sophomore and finally senior. There wasn’t a junior year. The reason for this were the annexed schools.

This schools were a few blocks aways, not too distant, and were an elementary school and a middle school. Since the elementary school did not have incorporate the kindergarten but instead lasted until the sixth grade, the middle school was left no choice but to take away one of Amaryllis High School’s years. Nothing much.

While the headmaster explained why we were here (like the teachers hadn’t already told us) and made some other speech, I thought back on my conversation with Alice during lunch. We talked about our respective hobbies and which elective courses we were interested in. It seemed like she, too, knew which courses the school offered.

“So, which electives caught your eyes?”

Alice asked me before taking a sip from a chocolate milkshake. I gulped down the food inside my mouth and used a paper napkin to clean my lips and hands. I always cleaned them before talking or drinking. A habit I picked up in those eight years of imprisonment… Anyway, after considering her question a bit, I said

“Well, I’d like to join the Visual Art elective, obviously, and the JROTC¹ too, but first I need to knew their schedules, as I am also interested in joining a service club and the cross country running club. If some overlap I guess I’ll have to choose which of them I want to join.”

“The JROTC? Do you want to join the army?”

Alice appeared surprised at my words, but I remained calm. I took another mouthful of food before answering her. My lips slightly curled up as I thought ‘Seems like I won’t have quiet lunches with her around.’ It was still too soon to tell a stranger my past, heck, I still had trouble talking about it with mom and dad, so I had to chose my words carefully.

“An acquaintance of mine works for the FBI, she told me that if I was really serious in following her steps, I should take that elective as it would be a plus in the long run.”

My red-haired friend seemed convinced by my explanation. As I didn’t say anything to rouse her curiousity, I was pretty sure her questions on the subject were over. Still, in the brief pause in which she stayed silent, I could momentarily lose myself in the memories of that day. The day I told Zinnia that I wanted to be part of the FBI when I grew up.

“Well, seems like we won’t be in the same course, uh~ I’m only interested in the foreign language elective while for clubs I am absolutely going to do artistic gymnastics. It’s my passion and I have been training since I was little. Wait till I win at the Olympics!”

A cheeky smile floated on Alice’s face as she freely talked about her dream. I smiled in response, deciding that from that point on, I’d be Alice’s fan and supporter. I’m sure she had her share of friends, fans and supporters back in New Orleans and that is why I’ll shoulder their legacy (even if they are still alive) and continue their work.

I finished reminiscing about lunch’s conversation right at the same time the headmaster’s speech was over. Now, it was time to see what the elective courses of this school had to offer.

¹JROTC means Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, its credits may replace one of the health care or P.E. ’s. Like all electives, not all the schools have this course. I’ll give more information later on.

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