"So, now you're all settled. You can go ahead and go up to your second period. Kayla's outside. She'll show you to your class."
McKenzie Filmore grabbed her backpack and nodded to the counselor. Her mother smiled at her reassuringly and squeezed her daughter's hand. This was the fourth high school in two years, and every move got tougher for her. McKenzie shot her mother a pearly white smile and left the office. The girl, Kayla, was waiting outside. Kayla beamed at the new girl at school. "Hey! I'm Kayla. What's your name?"
"Awesome! Can I see your schedule?"
McKenzie handed over the piece of paper the guidance counselor had handed her and smiled nervously. She hated moving to new schools. It was always the same awkward process: get a schedule, be led around like a lost puppy, say nothing the first month of school, finally manage to make friends and, her least favorite part, move somewhere new half a year later. Her parents were adventurers, something that they hadn't passed down to their daughter. They loved to move and travel frequently, growing tired of their surroundings quickly. McKenzie, however, wanted to stay in the same place-to settle down. She wanted to be able to remember street names, directions, finding the good restaurants to eat in and the not so good ones too. She wanted to be able to make friends and not have to make new ones several months later.
The two girls walked down a myriad of corridors. After what seemed like an eternity, the two ended up in front of a big, black door. Kayla handed her back the schedule. "Well here's the humanities hall! This is where your second period and fifth period are. Your fifth period is just down the hall. Today are even classes, we call those black days, and tomorrow are all your even classes. We call those green days. Every other day we switch. Each class is about two hours long so you can go more in depth with a topic. For your fourth period class, go ahead and ask the teacher or one of the other students where to find the chemistry lab. Good luck! Go gators!" And with that Kayla began to walk away, curly hair bouncing with each step. McKenzie glared holes into the back of her head. Some help you were she thought bitterly.
The shy girl turned her attention to the door. It seemed more menacing now that she was alone. McKenzie took a deep breath in and turned the doorknob. Or tried to. The doorknob, however, was locked. Nervous, McKenzie looked around. Had Kayla played a sick joke on her? She looked at the number plaque next to the door and compared it to that of the one on her schedule. It seemed to match. If that was the case, why wasn't it opening? Now frantic, she definitely did not want to start her first day like this, she knocked three times on the door and waited patiently. Seconds passed slowly and made her feel incredibly awkward. She began to shuffle back and forth. Then she began to drum a hectic rhythm on her thigh. Then she began to whistle lightly. Her whistle sounded very, very loud as it reverberated off the walls. McKenzie stopped whistling. She checked her wrist, realizing that she did not have a wrist watch on. She felt increasingly stupid.
Finally, the doorknob wriggled in place and opened. A woman about fifty years old opened the door. She stood about five foot eight and peered down at McKenzie. He eyes were sharp, her face was lean and her nose was hooked. The woman looked like a hawk on the prowl. "Yes?" The women asked with an eyebrow cocked. Her voice was slightly raspy and slightly nasally as well. McKenzie froze. She was scared stiff. This woman with her fashion conscious air and her analytical facial expression scared her to bits. Her mouth forgot how to work, so her hands did the talking. She presented the schedule to her new teacher.
"I-I'm a new student. Just started today."
"Well? Do you want a cookie? Get inside… McKenzie. I am Dr. Octavia. Yes you may call me Doc Oc. And here's your schedule. You'll be more interested in it than me."
McKenzie followed behind the teacher to her desk. "Go ahead and say your name and a few things about yourself to the class while I get everything you need for today and the past week." McKenzie turned to the class, seeing numerous faces. Everyone was looking at her. "Uh, w-well, my name is McKenzie Filmore. I, uh, I have a cat. Her name is Sp-Sprouts. I like to, uh, sleep during my f-free time. And read. But not much. I l-like old films with Fred Astaire. He's pretty cool. I think M-Meryl Streep is cool too. And…Uh… Yeah. Move a lot. I have ten toes, like you guys, so feel-feel free to treat me like a normal human being and stuff." Doctor Octavia smirked and handed her a manila folder.
"Go ahead and sit somewhere that's empty, Toes. Have you read Death of a Salesman before?"
McKenzie shook her head.
"Arthur Miller. Good stuff." Doctor Octavia handed her the book. "We're going to take a comprehension quiz of the first act right now, so read as much as you can and then we'll read the rest."
Groans erupted in the class.
"Seriously, Doc Oc," a couple of boys whined, "We read it. What more do you want?"
She shrugged in response and sauntered to her desk. Everyone got out their own sheets of paper and began scrawling on them. Doctor Octavia waited and began to pass out the papers. Determined not to be left behind, McKenzie began reading. This class was a sink or swim.
The rest of her day passed unremarkably. Her chemistry teacher was loud and nerdy, a dime a dozen when it came to science teachers, and her trigonometry teacher was a fat old man with a wiry walrus moustache and black suspenders. McKenzie returned home and fell onto her bed, exhausted. Sprouts the cat meowed in discontent when her nap was disturbed but was very joyous to see her owner return. She began to purr and lick McKenzie's hand gently as to not hurt her. McKenzie faced the old cat and looked into the gold eyes she so loved. "Life is rough." She told the feline. Sprouts simply purred in response and butted her head against the girl's. Sometimes the cat was irresistible! She grabbed the fat gray cat and pulled her to her side. Sprouts obliged as McKenzie snuggled and pet her. "At least tomorrow is all easy," McKenzie mused to the purring ball of fluff, "I have my theater classes though. I'm kind of scared, to be honest."
Sprouts, however, could not speak and simply purred at all the attention she was receiving. McKenzie pulled the fat, old cat and snuggled harder. Tomorrow would be a rough day indeed.