I stride down the corridor. I can feel many eyes upon me. I can hear the click of my boots as I walk. And I can hear the squeak of sneakers as others do the same. There, to my left, the sound of a locker slamming shut. Over to my right the sound of a door opening and closing. I hear whispers, clusters of kids talking about everything from fashion to math, boys to science, soccer to new kids.
I stride down the corridor, my face grim, my heart steady. I do not stumble, nor falter. I hear more whispering and ignore it. A bell rings. The sound hurts my ears but I do not show it. Many years of practice have provided me with a stone mask. Kids stream into the hall. Whispers turn to shouts, laughter, jeers. I am jostled by the sudden and constant tide of students. I battle my way through the current, at last arriving at the proper corridor.
I walk slowly down the almost deserted corridor, counting my steps. At last I reach the door I am looking for. I press my hand against the cold pressed wood and the door swings open. I enter the room and stand in front of what I assume is a wooden desk. I sense someone in the room, a plump woman in her thirties. She was sitting down, but now she stands.
Smiling, she says, “Ah, Mr. Alderune, I’ve been expecting you. My name is Mrs. May”
Her voice is pleasant, and kind. “Hello.” I say quietly. I must confess that I can be shy upon occasion. A few moments of silence pass before I realize she is waiting for something. Then I sense it. Her hand is poised in midair.
I clear my throat, embarrassed. “Oh, sorry.” I extend my hand as well, fumbling in the air for where I sense hers to be. She reaches for my hand and grabs it, shaking it firmly. She laughs. “A little shy aren’t we?” She asks.
“Being shy isn’t exactly the problem.” I say bitterly. I sense confusion, and I realize something.
I frown. “No one told you, did they?” I ask scornfully. I hear the small sound of Mrs. May blinking. “Told me what?” She asks, sounding even more confused. I nod. Trust my mother to forget something like this. I try to explain. “I don’t tend to wear shades inside, unless I’m around strangers.” I reach up and take my sunglasses off. I can feel Mrs. May’s eyes look into my own, seeing the milky white that I have been told is the color of my eyes.
I can hear the movement as she nods her head, then the rush of blood into her face as she blushes, realizing her mistake. “Your mother didn’t notify me of this.” She says, sounding a little angry. “My mother hardly ever notifies anyone of anything; I am not surprised.” I smile. “Being the mother of thirteen children tends to make one a little forgetful.” I continue. Mrs. May nods and asks me to sit.
“Would you like me to talk to your mother again? Maybe straighten some matters out? I don’t mean to seem rude, but this changes everything. I don’t know what you need, what special allowances.”
I tense. She pauses, sensing my annoyance.
“If you need someone to show you to your classes, to help you find your way through the school, or to tell you what they see on the blackboard. Just things like that, not anything to do with the actual work. I’ve seen your records from your previous school, Mr. Alderune; I don’t doubt your intelligence.” Mrs. May seems to be a mind reader. I relax. “Thank you.” I say. She nods, then says, “Don’t mention it. I know what you are going through, to an extent. My daughter is blind.”
“I’m sorry.” I say, even quieter.
Mrs. May frowns and rummages through a stack of papers. “Anyways,” She says, brightly. “Would you like me to talk to your mother again, or would you prefer it if we figure things out ourselves?”
I think for a moment. It was mother’s idea that I be enrolled in a public school, but then again it was more a whim then an idea. And it is my life.
“I’d prefer if we figure it out, please. My mother has a lot on her hands.”
Mrs. May smiles. “Excellent. I think you are going to like it here, Mr. Alderune. Amber High may be a public school but it is a very lovely place nonetheless.”
(Copyright () 2007. All rights reserved)