I was lying in my bed last night, and I finally understood what Evan meant when he said that Dad cared too much. He meant that Dad cared if his kid was different. He didn’t care about me, he cared about his image. That made me want to retract my apology to him, but I won’t. I am angry with him though.
They let me out of the hospital within a few hours. I was happy to be out of there to be honest. The next day I went with my Dad to the school. We walked down the empty hallway and into the principal’s office. Mr. Matthews summoned for us and we sat in the two plastic uncomfortable chairs opposite his desk.
Before my Dad could start begging, Mr. Matthews said, “We aren’t going to charge you, Mr. Manello.” I kept my head down, but glanced over at Dad. He straightened his tie and cleared his throat. Mr. Matthews continued, “We will, however, have to expel Abbey for her behaviour.” My Dad scratched his stubble. “What about the students that did this to Abbey?” My Dad asked, leaning forward.
“I don’t think it’s worth it. If Abbey tells us who did this, we just have two opposing stories and…” Mr. Matthews trailed off. “And what, I think the proof of my daughters’ innocence is right here.” My Dad’s voice was starting to get a little louder and I started to play piano on my thighs. “Due to Abbey’s history, the fact is we have no reason to believe anything she says.” Mr. Matthews countered, fiddling with his glasses.
With that, my Dad grabbed my arm, and stormed out. We didn’t talk about that again. We actually didn’t talk about anything again. We drove in silence back home. Dad came with me to my room, and went straight for my keyboard. He started to lift it off its stand. “NO!” I screamed as he started to lift it out of the room. “Please don’t take it away!”
“I gave it to you because you were being good, now you are being bad. In fact, you are being worse than ever.” Dad growled as he walked down the hallway. I wondered where he was taking it. I chased after him, and watched helplessly as he put it into the back of the car.
I never saw my keyboard again. I still have no idea where he took it. All I know is that he got into the car and sped off.
The next day, me and my Dad went to four different schools, looking for somewhere for me to go. No one wanted me. It seemed like no one wanted someone like me ruining the reputation of their school. The last school we went to was a 30 minute bus ride away from home. When we pulled up to it, it looked pretty normal.
The inside was a totally different story. It was class time, but at least half of the students were roaming the hallways like it was lunch. Toilet paper lined the walls and there was an odd smell in the air. Every door we went through creaked. We sat in the office, and I watched as all of the lights flickered and no one else seemed to notice. I could tell my Dad was grossed out. A large woman with a big smile came out and introduced herself as Ms. Helms the principal.
We sat in her office and she was very enthusiastic about having me. Dad was suspicious about her eagerness though. “Aren’t you worried about her history?” He asked. “Oh no we’ve had worse, a lot worse.” Ms. Helms said. “Besides we really need more funding.” She snorted. That was when I started laughing. I was laughing really hard because this lady was trying to convince my Dad to let me go to this nasty place by saying she needs more funding.
Dad told me to wait outside, so I did. After about ten more minutes, my Dad came out, and said that he got me in. My eyes got wide. I was about to ask him why he would let me go here, but I knew why.
1. Nowhere else would take me.
2. He believed I would fit in there.
I reluctantly got out of bed the next morning. I stood at my new bus stop, dreading the horrors that awaited me at school. Even the bus that pulled up looked scarier. The leather seats were torn open, and names and messages were written all over them. I decided to sit as close to the bus driver as possible.
As we were driving, I realized that maybe this was where I fit in. I sure didn’t seem to fit in with the good kids. Maybe I should just embrace who I am. I quickly dialed down that thought. I decided I wouldn’t become completely like all the other kids, but I wouldn’t be scared of them either.
I walked to my dented locker in silence. This was much different than my other schools indeed! People were talking to me left and right. Most of them wanted to know why I was going here. One girl stood beside my locker and asked, “Where did you get all of that from?” I frowned as I remembered my scratched up neck and my stitched up mouth. “I got into a fight.” I replied.
The girl laughed. “Most schools can’t handle a little personality, can they? I’m Nadine by the way.” I smiled and looked at her. She had dark brown hair and a purple bruise on her eye. That made me remembers the bruise on my cheek and the ones on my mid-section. Nadine smiled at me. Perhaps this time I really had made a friend.
We walked to the first classroom slowly, because yet again it was Math. “How did you get here?” I repeated the question I had been asked several times. “I played a little prank on the principal.” Nadine said. I nodded, thinking to ask more when I knew her better. “It’s not bad here, you know. You just need to adjust, and make sure people know not to mess with you.” Nadine said. “That’s how I got this bruise. You should see the other guy.” She laughed to herself, and I laughed too. I gasped as we entered the Math classroom. It was so loud. People were shouting, and two guys were sitting on the ground trying to light the floor on fire.
Nadine took my hand and led me to the very back of the big classroom. Nothing crazy was happening there for now. We sat in two desks beside each other, and I sat in awe watching as the teacher was at his desk, asleep. Nadine whistled. “Norma, hey Norma come here!” She shouted across the room. A girl with short auburn hair came up to us. “What’s up with the teacher?”
“Levi put sleeping pills in his coffee!” Norma laughed and Nadine and Norma high-fived. “Who’s this?” Norma asked, pointing to me. “This is Abbey, she’s our new friend.” Nadine explained. “Oh cool a new friend, nice bruise Abbey.” Norman said, before returning to the chaos. “Does this kind of thing happen a lot?” I asked Nadine.
“More often than not, we barely learn a thing but the teachers have given up and since it’s not technically our fault, they always give us C+’s.” Nadine said, pulling out a candy bar from her jumper pocket. So that was that. We did whatever we wanted in class, because if the teacher even bothered to show up, he or she didn’t care enough to try. I was actually starting to have fun.
My counsellor said that I should mail my letters to someone. So I chose my Dad. I think that maybe it will help him to understand a little bit more, if he even cares to read them.