Chapter 1: Elephants and Manatees
When Skye Johnson first stepped out of her mom’s white Sedan, she wasn’t thinking of her new school, her crazy brothers, or her missing dad. No, Skye was choosing to focus on a cloud. In her defense though, it was a particularly fluffy cloud, and to her it looked like an elephant. To Skye, it was better to think about elephants than a new school. She looked at the slightly faded sign above the door. Brambleton Middle School, it said. Under that it said in slightly smaller writing, Chase your dreams and soar! Skye smiled. She rather liked that school motto. Suddenly, a man stepped out of the building and looked at her. “Hello little girl. I’m the principal, Mr. Olden. You must be Skye Johnson. Come in, come in!” As Skye and her mother walked into the school, Skye looked around the large central room. There were staircases everywhere, and the higher you looked, the older the students seemed. Skye ran her fingers along one of them as they climbed up the floors. It was smooth cedar wood, carved into designs so intricate you could spend hours just looking at them. As Skye and her mother followed Mr. Olden up the stairs to his office, Skye took a closer look at her soon-to-be principal. He had a large nose, with small, scrunched up eyes, which made him look like a manatee to her. Skye giggled under her breath as Mr. Olden pushed open his office door. As they sat on some uncomfortable plastic chairs, Skye noticed all the trophies lining the shelves behind Mr. Olden’s desk. Mr. Olden followed her eyes and smiled. “You must be looking at all of our Best in School awards! We give out only one a year, to a student who we think shows real Brambleton character!” Skye smiled and barely held back a giggle. Brambleton character, how corny… she thought. “…Will you be one of these trophy holders?” Mr. Olden finished. Skye snapped back into reality just in time to nod. You bet your boots I will, Mr. Manatee. Just you wait.
“Excuse me Ms. Johnson, I just have a question about your daughter’s student form…” Mr. Olden took out a slightly crinkled form that Skye had submitted and handed it to Skye’s mom. “I noticed that there’s no second parent on this form…” Skye rolled her eyes. Once again, someone was asking about her dad. He’s gone and he’s not coming back, is what she wanted to say. Instead she held her tongue. If she said it, Mr. Olden would likely think that she wasn’t over it and was still sad about it, or he would think she was crying for attention. But if her mom said it, Mr. Olden would say, “Ah, I see. I’m very sorry.”, like everyone else does. He would think that Skye’s mom was over her dad leaving. But the truth was, Skye’s mother was nowhere near over it. Skye’s mother would never be over it, but Skye was. Skye had been over her dad leaving her since the day after he did.