Happily Amber After

My First Day As A Senior

Monday, 2nd February, 2004

I am SO tired. It’s been ages since I’ve had to wake up before 7am. Luckily, I didn’t have to catch the bus to school, so I got ready, tried to eat breakfast and watched Cheez TV before mum dropped me off around 8.20am. But she wanted to take a photo of me in my ‘new’ uniform first. I was freaking out because I didn’t want to be late, but she insisted so I stood outside with Grace and tried to look at the camera with the morning sun burning through my retinas.

Mum couldn’t get into the school drop off zone, so I told her to park at the shopping centre across the road. She was a bit grumpy with me, but I think it was because of all the traffic. I mean, it was the first day of school… what did she expect? Before I jumped out of the car, Grace gave me a kiss goodbye (it was really cute – she never gives me kisses) and waved at me as I got out and walked towards the school.

I didn’t have to wait very long for a break in the traffic – teenagers were just stupidly walking out in front of moving cars, so the drivers had no choice but to stop for them. I managed to blend in with a group of random girls and crossed as quickly as I could. I felt so bad for the drivers. I don’t think these Junior school noobs even realised that they could have gotten run over. Even the lollipop lady was getting frustrated with the lack of teenage care and the amount of students who were trying to get to school.

I tried to get through the first school gate, but it was completely bottlenecked. I did not want to compete with the crowd and be pushed into random people so I gave up and walked through the other gate about 50 metres away. This is the gate I usually go through when I get dropped off by mum anyway, so it wasn’t a big deal. I wandered up to our usual meeting spot and looked back at the front of the school.

It was madness.

There were high schoolers EVERYWHERE. I’ve never seen such a big group of students in my life. Like, yeah, last year was big, but nothing compared to what I saw today! It was literally a sea of teenagers – I reckon I could have crowd surfed through it lol.

Jenny and Britt were already at the tree, waiting for everyone to rock up. They were making fun of some the Junior students, only because Jenny’s youngest brother Calvin, just started year 8 today. She pointed him out to me; I didn’t realise that he was so scrawny! I didn’t say that to her obviously, but he looked very thin to me. She was telling me about his friends and why she thought they were funny. Her brother did turn around at one point and saw us staring at him, but he quickly turned his back to us and hid behind his friend. We all laughed.

Yup. We were like that in year 8 too. Shy, naïve and just clueless. Lol.

Next, Lauren showed up… with Aaron! He walked her to our group, said hello to us, gave her a kiss on the cheek and left to go find his group of friends. I’m glad that he didn’t hang around and chat – I’ve got no idea what I’d say to him. I gave Lauren a hug, and then Amy jumped up behind me and gave me a bear hug lol. I nearly fell over. So embarrassing. She apologised and we had a little bit of a laugh. And as usual, Mercy rocked up last. She walked up to our group, but she was on her phone.

This is not unusual behaviour from Mercy. She is literally glued to her mobile in the mornings. And her phone is so small, that she hides it under her hair so it looks like she’s talking to herself. It’s pretty funny. When she first started doing it, we thought she was going crazy because we couldn’t see her Nokia through her long hair. But it’s even more funny when she’s standing a little far from us by herself and other random people walk past her. Their reactions are priceless! I wish I had a camera phone; I would so take photos of them haha.

After Mercy got off her phone, she apologised and gave us all hugs. She said that Demarco just wanted to wish her a happy first day. How cute! I wish I had a boyfriend who was that sweet. He’s so thoughtful. Actually, Aaron and Demarco are really caring guys. I could tell Amy was a little jealous because she kept looking at phone, obviously waiting hoping for Dan to call her too. I actually don’t know if she’s spoken to him yet since she last time I asked her. And I didn’t even get a chance to ask her today because it was so full on! I’ll ask her tomorrow.

We heard a teacher yelling in the distance and like a herd of sheep, everyone started moving towards the middle of the school. It was really slow, but I don’t blame them. As if anyone is excited to be at school so early on a Monday morning. I don’t think so!

We got separated into our year groups. Mr Travis, our year coordinator, steered us over to the side of the library and asked us all to sit down quietly. I looked around. Yep. I pretty much recognised everyone, even when they were wearing white shirts. I wish I had brought some sunglasses; the shirts were blinding me. I couldn’t see Joshua either. Good. I didn’t want to see him anyway. I sat quietly next to my friends and watched as the school principal got on his podium.

It was the same speech that he does every year. Mr McGarrity is so predictable.

“Welcome to a new year, blah, blah, blah, this year will be the best one yet, blah, blah, blah, we have achieved blah, blah, blah…”

Etc.

Ugh.

And as per usual tradition, all the year 8’s walked into the quadrangle and we ‘welcomed’ them. I didn’t bother clapping. I mean, why applaud them when they are probably nervous wrecks? All eyes are on them in that very moment. I didn’t like it back then when I was in year 8, so why would I contribute to making them feel even more anxious now? They then shuffled up all together and sat down uber quick right in front of the podium. Thank God we don’t have to sit that close anymore.

After Mr McGarrity finished his pep talk speech, we all clapped politely and then the year coordinators took over. Luckily, we didn’t have to move, so we remained sitting while Mr Travis welcomed us back to school and congratulated us on making it to year 11. I thought that was a bit weird, because my school is one of the best public schools in the state, so why wouldn’t people want to come back and go through year 11? Then I thought about dad; he dropped out after year 10, so maybe that must happen a lot? But you know what? Even though Dad is pretty much a high school dropout, but he turned out just fine.

But. I don’t plan to follow in his footsteps. Obviously. I want to finish high school – I want to go to the Ball in year 12! Nothing is going to stop me from going to that because I just know it’s going to be the highlight of my high school life!

Lol.

Mr Travis handed the mic over to a teacher who I didn’t recognise. He looked a little like Anthony from The Wiggles. You know, the Blue Wiggle? Anyway, this is when the FIRST embarrassing thing happened to me for today.

He didn’t even bother introducing himself, he just got straight to the point. He was taking form group 11.01. And then he started reading out his class list to the WHOLE year 11 group… in alphabetical order.

Yup.

Guess who’s name he called out first.

Amber Atkinson.

I froze. I could feel EVERYONE’S eyes all staring at me. Lauren elbowed me in the ribs which pulled me out of my state of shock and I got up. My legs felt like jelly as I stepped in-between my friends and made my way towards Mr Blue Wiggle.

I was almost there.

And then I stacked it.

OMG!

Then, everyone started laughing at me! It was so embarrassing. SO EMBARASSING! And what was worse was that I grazed my knee and it started bleeding. Luckily, the girl that I almost fell on had band-aids (I know – weird right?), so I put one on while Mr Blue Wiggle called out all the other people in my form class. I thanked her and she helped me up and walked with me to the rest of the students waiting beside my teacher. I didn’t realise at the time but her name was also called, so I am just eternally grateful that she came to my aid and I didn’t have to walk up by myself.

Like, I owe her my life!

I found out later in class that her name is Rita Chen. I felt so bad when she was talking to me because she knew my name, but I honestly didn’t know hers. She is really nice though. She’s uber enthusiastic too. But OMG I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but she is literally a stereotypical Asian school girl. She has Blue Bear everything and wears knee-high socks, has glasses, braces and unshaven legs! I think if she hadn’t helped me during form class allocations, I wouldn’t have spoken to her at all.

Social hierarchy sucks.

Mr Blue Wiggle handed the mic to the next teacher and escorted us to E block.

The Science Block.

Yay.

Not.

I only have 2 science classes this year; Chemistry and Physics. He didn’t really look like a Chem teacher, and I was right.

My form class… is Physics.

Yay.

Not.

Mr Blue Wiggle disappeared, so we waited out the front of the classroom for him. I looked around. I did not recognise ANYONE. Well, I did. But no one that I actually talk to. There are some seriously smart people in my Physics class this year, and surprisingly, some popular people too. I only saw 7 girls. Great. It’s going to be a testosterone fest every 2nd period. Jussssst Great.

*Face palm*

The classroom door suddenly burst open and Mr Blue Wiggle emerged and ushered us inside. Everyone shuffled in quickly, trying to get the seats at the back of the classroom. Unfortunately for Rita and I, we were behind everyone else and had to sit in the second row. We didn’t do too badly. We could have been in the front row.

“Hi everyone and welcome to year eleven,” Mr Blue Wiggle said a little too happily as he paced slowly up and down the middle isle, “This will be your form group for the rest of the year, unless you drop out, which I have no doubt that some of you will by the end of the week.”

I looked at Rita with my mouth gaping. She was staring right back at me, stunned. I seriously cannot believe he said that to us. And on our first day of senior school! Talk about a lack of confidence in your students!

“I’m Mr Houghton for those of you who don’t know me,” he said proudly as he stopped and scanned the room, “And this is year eleven Physics.”

He briskly walked back to the front of the room and opened one of the drawers behind his desk.

“Now, what I have here are your class timetables. When I call your name, I want you to come up and get it and introduce yourself to your fellow peers.”

And guess what happened next?

Yup. My name got called. Again.

I got up and walked down the aisle, all the while avoiding eye contact with everyone. I was still really embarrassed. Mr Houghton smiled at me as he handed me my timetable. I turned around, faced the classroom and took a deep breath.

“Hi everyone, I’m Amber as you all probably already know. Um…” I trailed off momentarily as I realised that at least two dozen eyes were all focused on me, “Well, uh, just looking around the room I don’t think I really know any of you, so I am looking forward to getting to know you all throughout the year. So yeah…”

“Solid words Amber,” Mr Houghton said approvingly, as he gestured me to return to my seat.

I was still really embarrassed, but I felt a bit better after introducing myself lol. Everyone was smiling at me. I couldn’t help but feel a bit proud of myself for keeping calm and actually delivering a really good icebreaker. I walked back to my row on a little high and examined my timetable.

So, here’s the low down on each subject I’ve got:


Physics (obviously)

Teacher: Mr Houghton.

I have NO friends in this class. It is full of nerdy guys, except the guys that sit in front of me. They are the popular guys. And they are complete idiots. Especially Benjamin White. I remember on the first day of year 10, he knocked me to the ground… and didn’t even apologise! He’d better not annoy me this year. I am NOT afraid to slap him if I need to.

And as for Mr Houghton? He seems… uh… well, he kind of reminds me of Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate. He’s just really blunt. I guess I’d rather have a teacher be straight with me from the start as opposed to one who beats around the bush.


Chemistry

Teacher: Mr Simpson.

Third period on Mondays. And just like Physics, I don’t know anyone. Luckily, the girls in the class are nice, so I’m sitting with them. They look smart too, so I’ll definitely be needing their help. I really struggled today.

Mr Simpson seems nice. He’s a bit of a goofball but he’s actually funny. He’s uber tall too. I’m not so sure about his teaching though. I didn’t really understand him when he was talking about some chemistry equations. Maybe it was just me. Lol


Mathematics Foundations

Teacher: Mrs Bourke.

I’ve got this tomorrow. But I’m happy to report that Lauren is in my class. Yes!


English Literature

Teacher: Mrs Litt (so ironic).

Fourth period on Mondays. And my third class that I don’t know anyone in. Ok, well I know the people there, but I don’t talk to them. But I knew that I wouldn’t know anyone anyway because English lit is the highest English unit that you can do. None of my friends would ever take it up. I’m not saying that they are dumb or anything like that, but they don’t really read or write properly, if that makes sense. And me? Well, I read books and I like writing and I got an A last year for English, so I thought I’d give it a shot.

Mrs Litt is actually the head of the English department, so she’s like, a dinosaur. Lol. She speaks so gracefully though. And she’s strict, but not like, scarily strict. She just has this air about her which demands that we sit and listen and do our work quietly. But I am enjoying it. We are reading about Macbeth at the moment. It’s pretty good. So far.


History

Teacher: Mr Clarkson.

I have this tomorrow too. BUT Britt and Amy are in my class so I’m really happy about that. Amy told me that her sister had him in year 12 so she’s going to ask her what he was like. I really hope he’s nice.


Independent Living (I don’t even remember enrolling into this subject!)

Teacher: Mrs Giannopoulos.

Well, this subject is interesting. A little sexist, but interesting. It’s all about how to live independently. So like, budgeting, how to mend clothes, cooking etc, you know, life skills lol. And there are like, no guys in this class. At all. Mrs Giannopoulos is really nice too. I haven’t had her before but she’s really enthusiastic and uber bubbly. There are a couple of girls in the class that I know so it was great to finish my Monday off with this class. This is by far my favourite subject!


As far as recess went, we all met up at our usual spot; the limestone wall in the middle of the quadrangle. I don’t even know how we ended up there, but it’s actually a really good spot. We’ve got shade from the gum trees, a picnic table if we need to sit down and cram in last minute homework we haven’t finished, and a nice cool wall to sit on so we don’t get bitten by ants. We can also see pretty much every group that matters from where we are too. From the popular people to the basketballers, from the cool Asians to … well, Joshua’s group. And there are other groups in-between too. So yeah, we have a really sweet spot.

We all pretty much compared our timetables, talked about the people who were in our form class, the form teachers themselves, and just any gossip in general that we picked up along the way. They also told me that they felt so bad for me this morning when I stacked it in front of everyone in year 11. I had kind of forgotten about it until they reminded me. But I know they were just trying to make me feel better. I can’t really get mad at them for that.

Lunchtime, however, was a little bit more interesting. Surprisingly, I wasn’t very hungry, so I shared my packet of Tiny Teddies with Amy and just listened quietly while Mercy told us a funny story about her and Demarco. I wasn’t really paying attention, because I noticed that Lauren had wandered over to Aaron, so I was watching her out of the corner of my eye. Obviously, I wasn’t subtle enough, because Jenny picked up on it.

“Still pissed off with Joshua?” she said loudly, to my annoyance.

“No,” I said a little too quickly.

“Well, you keep looking over there,” Jenny pressed on.

Omg. I seriously hate when she states the obvious. Of course I’m looking over there! Doesn’t mean she needs to tell the whole world about it.

“Do I?” I replied, playing dumb, “Umm, well, I think I might need to go to the toilet. I’m not sure yet. I’ll go in a little while.”

Yup. Good response. The girls toilets are in that general direction. It makes perfect sense to look at Joshua’s group if I need to go to the toilet… right?

“Oh good idea! I need to go too,” Britt interrupted happily.

Crap! Britt unintentionally called my bluff. I don’t think she even realised that Jenny was baiting me anyway lol. She had this smug smile on her face. God, she really annoys me sometimes.

“Yeah, I need to go too,” Jenny added.

Liar.

Queue the SECOND embarrassing thing to happen to me today. The 3 of us made our way towards the front of F block. Then, I heard Aaron’s voice.

“Hey Amber!” he yelled across the quadrangle to me, “Did you have a nice… trip?”

Nice Aaron. So original.

He started laughing and then his friends started laughing along with him. Such a dick! Lauren was giving him the biggest evils and I didn’t dare look at Joshua. How could Aaron say that? And how could Joshua laugh at me? It was humiliating. But what was worse, was that I wasn’t looking where I was going.

I walked into a pole.

FUCK.

Then, Aaron and Joshua’s group laughed even harder! Jenny and Britt shielded me from them because I was about to cry and hugged me until I got to the girl’s bathroom.

And then I balled my eyes out.

“Are you ok? I’m so sorry Amber, this is my all my fault,” Jenny said apologetically.

“Yeah, it is,” I agreed, even though I knew it really wasn’t, “I didn’t even need to go to the toilet but you were being all smug n shit.”

“I know. I’m really sorry. I won’t do it again. It’s just that I think you still like him. Even though you said you don’t.”

“Of course I still like him Jenny! That’s why he hurt me so much,” I reluctantly admitted.

“Here,” Britt interrupted softly as she handed me some toilet roll paper, “Don’t let them get to you ok? Forget them. They are losers.”

“I just can’t believe this is happening to me,” I said after I dried my eyes, “And on the first day of school. Now I look like shit.”

It was true. I looked in the mirror and all my concealer and mascara was completely smudged.

“It doesn’t look that bad,” Jenny said as she pulled out some eyeliner, “Here, use this. I was going to touch up my eye makeup while we were here anyway.”

I know you’re not supposed to share makeup products, but I was desperate. I didn’t want people to know that I had been crying. Crying is a sign of weakness. Britt was right; there’s no way I’m going to let Joshua get to me.

“I hope Lauren tells Aaron off. That was so uncalled for,” Britt said angrily.

“She will. She’s a Leo. She won’t let him get away with saying that to Amber,” Jenny said confidently.

“OMG.”

I turned around and stared at Britt, “What? What OMG?”

“Uh… your forehead is going purple…”

OMG! Bruising! I didn’t think I hit the pole that hard. Obviously, I was wrong.

“Just do this,” Jenny said quickly as she pulled out my hair lackey.

She rearranged my hair so that it just covered the top left of my forehead. I thanked them and we left the bathroom. They led me around the long way to get back to our group and I sat down on the limestone wall while Britt and Jenny stood in front of me to block Joshua’s group’s view. Amy, Lauren and Mercy came over and Jenny recapped everything that had happened. Lauren sat down next to me and gave me a big hug.

“I’m sorry A, I didn’t think Aaron would do that,” Lauren said apologetically, “I’m so pissed at him. I’m not talking to him at the moment.”

“Yeah, you missed the fight,” Amy added.

“What fight?” I asked, shocked by what happened while I wasn’t there.

“Well, it wasn’t a fight, fight,” Lauren said, downplaying the whole thing, “We just had an argument. That’s all. I yelled at his whole group for being wankers to you, A.”

“See? I told you she’s got your back,” Jenny said triumphantly.

“Of course I do! Aaron knows what he did was not cool. He was only doing it to impress his friends,” Lauren told me.

“Aww hun are you ok? I saw the whole thing. You’re not concussed, are you? How many fingers am I holding up?” Mercy asked me as she pushed her hand in front of my face.

I started laughing. Way to go Mercy. I don’t know how she does it, but she always makes me laugh, even when I don’t want to.

“What would I do without you guys?” I said, feeling a little better, “You take real good care of me.”

We had a group hug moment and then we realised that lunch was over. Everyone was moving off to their classes, so I walked as quickly as I could to Independent Living. It was in a demountable at the back of the school, so it was a little bit of a trek.

So, the THIRD and final embarrassing moment of the day happened after school. Last period ran overtime, so I bolted from the classroom to the school bus stop.

Andddd I missed it.

But not because I was running too slow. Nope.

It was because I nearly got hit by a car.

It was the same road that mum got stuck in traffic on this morning. And I did what the stupid teenagers do; I stepped out in front of a car. I heard brakes screech and a horn go off in front of my face. The hood of the car was literally, 5 centimetres away from my hips. And I knew It was totally my fault. I went around to the driver’s side and apologised again and again. I think they were just as shocked at me. Because they just said sorry and then drove off, leaving me in the middle of the road, holding up the cars.

And. Everyone was staring at me. Great. I walked to the normal bus stop which was ages away and waited for the non-school special bus to show up to take me home. I missed out on half of Passions which really annoyed me, a scabby graze on my left knee and I have an ugly purple bruise on my forehead, which hurts so, so much.

So yeah. I haven’t had the best first day.

But I guess it’s good that I didn’t run into Taj today. I’m happy that he didn’t see any of the stuff that happened to me. I just… I really can’t believe it, you know? Stuff like this doesn’t happen to normal people like me! My day seriously belongs in a teen movie or something. And the sad part is that I don’t think I’m ever going to live it down. I’m always going to be ‘that girl who stacked it in front of the whole year group’ and ‘that girl who walked into a pole’.

I guess on the plus side, I didn’t get any homework. I don’t think I could do it anyway because I am so tired right now, I’m like, falling asleep on my arm.

I really hope tomorrow is a lot better. I need some luck!

Amber A.

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