By hi hi
There is something very familiar about the way the sunset shines today outside the window of my seat. The way its passionate, fiery red color painted my nature like earth tone green eyes made me almost feel the things I always long for. Those things like home and that silence in your existence that is so calming and comforting.
Yet, despite my desperation, there is this little voice at the back of my mind that favors the deranged uproar of California more than the solacing silence of my hometown. I am like the earth. And the sky are those things that I always long for. Then there is this horizon, a skyline, a thin line that stops me from almost grasping those things I always yearn for. And that thin line that stops me from everything is my denial of acceptance.
I cannot accept the silence I long for because in silence is where I can find answers, where I can find the truth. And I know deep down inside of me I cannot still face the truth that my dad is dead. That I lost him at some convenience store we passed by whilst in having the greatest road trip in our lives.
Blinking my eyes several times, I realized that the deranged uproar I was hearing was from my classmates complaining about Ms. Beaumont’s last assignment for the school year.
Mrs. Beaumont, to be honest, does not fit in here. Not because she is not a good Literature teacher but because she is too good to be teaching Literature in a classroom filled with imbecilic, egotistic students, let alone she is too good to be a teacher in this middle-class private school.
I may hate this school and this entire city, but I know that Mrs. Beaumont is not like the others in this school. When my dad died, she was not like those people who looked at me with pure pity and sorry. She was not one of those people who gave me looks that I never wanted someone to look at me just to remind me I have lost someone I knew will never comeback. Instead, she was the one who treated me the same way and always leaves quotes on my paper works that makes me always smile and gives me a reason to go to school even if I feel like there is nothing left for me to do with my life anymore.
As I looked at Ms. Beaumont’s face, she was in great distress as if asking the Gods of all Gods above how she can keep her pupils’ mouths shut and being the nicest and decent teacher in Palm High Valley she deserves better than this stupid classroom.
Recollecting every kind gesture she had done to me, I inhaled a deep breath, and together as I breathed out, I slammed my hands on my armchair with all my strength that caused everyone to glance in my direction.
“Sorry, my hands slipped.” I raised both my hands and looked at Ms. Beaumont. She mouthed a thank you to me and I returned a smile.
“Okay, again, to wrap things up for the end of your term. Your last assignment would be to give criticism to the movie Lady Bird.” The entire class let out a groan of distress once more.
I have watched Lady Bird several times. That movie holds something dear to me because it somewhat mirrors the relationship I have with both my parents. My dad, who supported me with everything I want and my mom, who opposes my decisions in life, for example, dyeing my hair.
That movie conveys a powerful message. I just do not get why Lady Bird was so desperate to leave home when a home was the sole thing that, for me, will give you peace of mind.
Nevertheless, at the end of the movie, Lady Bird realized how lonely it was to be far away from home. She called her mom, telling her she loves her so much, that she was sorry and was thankful for everything she had done to her.
I am looking forward to having that kind of heartfelt moment with mom too someday, especially when these days, the only ones we have are each other.
The bell for the end of the last subject rang and the students rapidly exited the classroom of Ms. Beaumont’s literature class.
I am not the most thrilled to end this class because after this, I need to pass by Mrs. Vaughn’s office, our guidance counselor.
It’s been almost ten months since the last time I saw her after I informed her I am already fine after my father’s death. Truth be told, I am not completely fine, and I don’t think I will ever be.
And sure, I want to go home, but how can I go home when a home does not feel like home with my workaholic mother. I’d rather stay in literature class and write everything until it feels like a tremendous rock was lifted off my chest.
“Ellie?” Ms. Beaumont called me as I passed by her desk.
“Yes, Ms. Beaumont?”
“The essay you wrote in our last activity, it was fantastic.” She said, smiling at me. “I hope literature and writing are helping you a lot these days.”
Last week Ms. Beaumont made us write an essay about a quote: “Find the extraordinary in the ordinary.”
She said this quote will help us see gratitude in life, and I think I am having a hard time catching sight of that gratitude ever since my dad died. So how come I did great when I can’t even feel a bit of gratitude in my life?
“Thanks, Miss,” I said to her.
“Here.” She handed me a folded small piece of paper.
“What’s this?” I asked her, baffled.
“That is another quote. Supposedly, I shall give this as a special task to my students who might fail my class, for extra points.”
“Am I failing literature?” I asked her, anxiety about to drown me. I can’t be failing literature; I mean, this is the only decent subject I am attending at this school.
Life must have ****** me up so badly that I can’t even do good in my literature class, a subject that was giving me somehow at least the smallest sanity here in California.
“Oh no. Actually, you’re doing great in my class. You are a bright student, Ellie. But you’re failing to see that there is still more in your life than those of unfavorable circumstances that have happened to you. “
“Hm… thanks, I guess.” I shrugged my shoulders, and she smiled at me.
“I just hope it might help you. You need not to write an essay about it. I will not force you. But I think writing is what you like the most because you are doing an excellent job here in my class. So, I recommend you write something about it if you think it can help. You do not have to pass it to me too. Okay? “
“Okay, Miss. Thanks and bye.” I said and was about to walk out of the classroom when she called my attention again.
“Oh, and wait. Here are some of the best universities that have courses that involve writing.” She handed me brochures of college universities.
“You should look at them sometime. You can get scholarships by sending them your essays, any essay that will impress them. I believe you can impress them with your writings. One university there is in Texas. I heard that is your hometown. Congrats in advance.”
“Thank you, Ms. Beaumont. Really. I appreciate it.” And I really did appreciate it.
Graduation is two months away; the school gave us the next first entire month to look for universities we think are suitable and right for us, where our potentials can grow and improve. I have not applied to any university yet. I do not even know what I want to be.
As soon as I set foot outside the classroom, I walked on the school’s corridor swarmed with students chit-chatting with each other. Some talked about how math sucks, others about the universities they applied to and most were talking about parties they will attend later at night because it’s Friday today, while I try my best to get to my locker unnoticed.
I got to my locker and was turning the lock for my pin when someone bumped me and made the brochures that Ms. Beaumont gave me to be scattered on the floor.
It was ******* Ace. Oh God, why can’t I even go unnoticed?
Ace is, you know, that typical middle-class spoiled ass ********* who bullies other students for personal entertainment. I groaned internally as I saw his grim face in front of me.
Can this place be more cliche?
“I’m sorry, Osborne didn’t see you there.” I guess I made myself unnoticed, but in a ****** way. He chuckled and bent to grab one brochure that fell from the floor.
“Oh, look at this.” He laughed and motioned his teammates to look at the brochure. “You have some big dreams in you, huh, Osborne. You are planning to apply to this prestigious university in California? Did you even think you can get in here?” he scoffed.
I closed my eyes, trying my best to calm myself.
“He’s not worth it, Ellie,” I told myself as I continually hear Ace and his colleagues laugh. I took a deep breath.
“Do you even think you can?” I blurted out.
“Of course, I can.” He bragged, and I scoffed at him.
“Oh, really? Because knowing your brain’s capability, which is very much smaller than the smallest thing in the world, I reckon any university will be dreadful to accept you.”
“What did you just say?” Ace asked, his knuckles getting white.
“My God, is that how dumb you are? Do I even have to repeat myself?” I replied with mighty pride as I took a deep breath, getting ready to punch him real hard on his ugly face with my epic comeback.
“I said you’re an egotistical, dim-witted narcissist *******! You know why? Because it’s funny how you have the ******* audacity to pat yourself on the back about how you can get in that university. Because truth is, you can’t even actually if it wasn’t for your hockey scholarship, and guess what if you weren’t a hockey varsity you wouldn’t even pass PE because that’s how ******* stupid you are! You suck Ace ******* Thompson, and you will always be. Now get the **** out of my way because you are ******* annoying me!” I yelled at his face.
A surprised look vividly painted Ace’s ugly face as everyone in the hall made an “Ohhh” noise. Ace is about to say something back when someone spoke at his back.
“Didn’t you hear what she said? Would you mind getting out of the way?”
“Oh well, now look at this, The Rich Primos. I am sorry specially treated students; did you say something?” Ace’s voice rang with mockery as he came face to face with the Rodriquez cousins.
The Rodriquez cousins: William and Luna Rodriquez, are the wealthiest students in Palm Valley High because of their famous trading company in Mexico. Back story as to why they are called “specially treated students” was because of their fathers -who also used to study in Palm Valley High- have donated a big amount of money to this school after it was caught in fire- because literally, this place is a living ****- five years ago, therefore the school owed them a lot.
“Oh, I’m sorry, *******.” Luna butted in. “Do you have any hearing impairment or it’s just your brain is as tiny as your comprehension level that you have to make us all repeat what we are saying?”
“I heard what he said, Luna. Shut the **** up.” Luna flipped him off.
“I said get out of the way you’re blocking my locker.” William glared at Ac as Ace returned William’s glare with the same ferocity.
By this time, Ace had lost his temper and was about to punch William when one of his friends, Lucas, stopped him.
“C’mon, man. He’s not even worth it. Someone is taking a video. You might get into disciplinary trouble and it would be a dead end with you and hockey,” Lucas said to him.
Apparently, Ace let it all go. Of course he will. He can’t afford to lose being captain of the hockey team because that is the only mere thing he is slightly good at.
“I’m not done with you.” He glared at me. “What are you all staring at?!” His scream echoed in the hall and instantly the students went back to their own businesses and he and his colleagues walked out of the scene.
I picked up the rest of the brochures scattered on the floor.
“Here,” Luna said as she handed me the other brochures she picked up for me. “You can totally get into that university. They are very fond of students who are potential writers,” she continued.
“She won’t fit in there. Look at her,” William butted in with his monotonous voice. Luna slapped his shoulders.
“You’re a mean *******. She’s an excellent writer, you know,” Luna said.
” I mean, she doesn’t fit in that prestigious university because that university sucks and she’s not a dimwit like Ace. You should try that one in Texas and New York. Now, come on, I want to get over these private lessons we must take as soon as possible. God, those are so tiring.” William said, and walked out of his way to the main door.
Another reason the cousins were seen as “specially treated” is because of these private lessons they have after school and William being the top student. Though the private lessons have something to do with the privilege of their fathers’ money, I don’t think William being the top student has to do with their wealth, because if it was Luna would be one of the top students too.
And it’s not like Luna doesn’t care about her grades, she’s very smart to be honest. She is more of the go lucky type of person than William. Like there’s this one time when we are having a calculus quiz, as I was busy solving derivations. She, on the other hand, was busy scribbling the back of the quiz paper beside me and turned her head to me.
“Don’t you just hate calculus so much? Or generally this whole place?” I looked at her exasperated face and for the first time since my return after my father’s death, no one has ever said something so accurately to me that I couldn’t agree more.
As I was about to nod my head, someone uttered on the other side, “Don’t you just hate privileged ******* like you who pass every subject even if she ain’t doing her quiz?”
Luna clicked her tongue and turned her head to the other side, “Don’t you just hate privileged ******* like you who answer her quizzes and still fail and pay the teacher to pass?” She then flipped the student off and raised her other hand to show that she was done answering. I told you, she is indeed a smart student. The only thing that prevented her from becoming one of the top students was her trouble making habit caused by her overly go lucky type personality.
As the bell rang, I stood up and grabbed my paper to pass it on my way out and stopped in front of Luna who was tossing her stuff inside her bag, “I hate this place too, you know.”
She looked me in the eye, unlike the way how other students looked at me and smiled, “Thank God I’m not the only one. I’m Luna, by the way. I believe we have a lot of classes together and this is the first time we talked, right?” she asked me, still a smile plastered on her face.
“Yeah. I am Ellie. Ellie Blythe Osborne.”
“Nice meeting you, Ellie Blythe. I wish I can talk to you more but I have these stupid private lessons,” she rolled her eyes in frustration, “Well see you around,” she saluted and stormed away out of the classroom.
I will never forget that day. That day when someone talked to me like I am a normal student, that day where I found myself slightly smiling, and that day where I talked to Luna Marie Rodriquez and wanted to be friends with someone for the first time in Palm Valley High.
“He is a whiny ass, isn’t he?” she asked as we looked at William walking his way to their private lesson room. “By the way, good luck on your college applications. Love your highlights,” she complimented.
Last year was the worst year of my life. After my dad died, my mom got even worse. She was always at work and barely at home. It’s getting lonelier each day, and I just wanted someone to talk to. I just wanted her to see me. So, I got ****** off and highlighted my chestnut hair with rose gold.
I thought maybe if I put some color in my hair, my world would turn upside down and this lonely, black, and white life I lived will turn back to that happy and vibrant life I had before my dad died. And that maybe if I put color in my hair, my mom will see me at least once. But she didn’t. She got furious.
And with that, I have concluded that maybe this color I put in my hair is like me having hope that everything will turn back to the way it used to be. That hoping everything will be alright again is just all in my head, just like these highlights I have on my hair.
I made my way to Mrs. Vaughn’s office and knocked.
“Ellie, I’m so glad to see you. Sit down.”
“Why did you call me, Mrs. Vaughn?”
“Well I see, you are doing great in your classes and I am sure you will graduate with flying colors, just like your hair.” she laughed, and I am getting impatient.
“What is it that you want, Mrs. Vaughn? I mean, I do not have all the time in the world. I have my job at a frozen yogurt shop. I can’t be late, my manager will kill me.” I said, maintaining myself.
“Here.” She handed me a flyer.
What’s with today and everyone seemed to hand me a bunch of papers?
“That is an outdoor camping the school organizes every two months before our students graduate here. It’s like a break from everything so it can prepare the students for college. Though this is not required for every senior to join, I am encouraging you to join after all what happened. I think it is time for you to go out there. Find your peace. Isn’t that right?”
I stared at the flyer in my hand. Her idea was not bad at all, but as if this outdoor camping can fix everything I am going through? Can this outdoor camping bring my dad back to life? I took a deep sigh and looked at Ms. Vaughn with pure remorse. I can see how hard she’s putting in an effort to make me feel better. But I’m sorry Ms. Vaughn. I think I don’t know when and how I will ever feel alright again.
“I’ll think about it, Mrs. Vaughn. I’ll let you know if I want to join. Thank you.” I said and left her office downheartedly.
Walking my way out of the campus, I looked at all the papers I have in my hand. The piece of paper Ms. Beaumont gave to me- which I haven’t opened yet since the moment she gave it to me- the university brochures and the camping flyer.
I let out a deep sigh.
**** it, these are just ******* papers. What fixing will these papers do to me, anyway?
I tossed all the papers inside my bag and made my way to the frozen yogurt shop.
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