It’s the third thing they tell you on the first day of school. The first would be their name in hopes that the students stop calling them “teacher” or “Mr.Teacherperson”. The second is where
the nearest bathrooms are and how long it would take you to get there as fast as you can while secretly hiding the fact that you seriously have to pee. While the third thing is when they tell you
all of the safety rules as they show you everything dangerous around the room that you have to be cautious of. This always includes all of the toxic liquids that are specifically labeled
Yes, even our favorite class room material, Purell is toxic. During this safety demonstration, everyone always laughs. Who could be stupid enough to drink the temper paint? Even just the thought of
such an idiotic act being committed would make anyone chortle.
But not me, now don’t get me wrong, I have a wonderful sense of humor. Or at least I think I do. I still like “knock-knock jokes” if that counts? Well, it actually has nothing to do with my sense
of humor, I just always dread the first day of school, and eighth grade this year isn’t any different.
I guess at one point I actually looked forward to school. Jeesh, what was wrong with me? But anyways, that all changed three years ago, on this very day.
“Come on Claire, we’re gonna be late!” My little brother Marcus urged as he pulled me to our new bus stop.
I laughed, he was so eager to get to school. He was wearing his new Bat-Man shirt with just some jeans, but he was totally rockin his uber cool light up flashy tennis shoes. His light brown hair
was cut short, for his new back-to-school haircut.
I smiled. Third graders were just so darn cute! This was going to be our first year attending John Meur Elementary School, in Parma Ohio. We just moved here from Waterloo, Iowa, right after school
got out, so we’ve been here all summer. But I’m still not used to it yet. I’ve lived in this new house for three months already and it still doesn’t feel like home to me.
I had been so surprised at how busy everything was here. There are streets and streets filled with houses, it seems like it goes on forever. And our new backyard is so small! It’s nothing compared
to our giant one acre yard we had back home. Back home, our houses were separated by giant fields of corn, and we could run around and play whenever we wanted. But here the houses next to ours are
basically connected to our house. They’re so close together that if I stand between my house and the one next door, and I reach in both directions, I can barely touch both houses at the same time!
Thankfully I still get my own room in our tiny new home. I was so worried that I’d have to share one with Marcus. And trust me a girl and a boy sharing a room, is not exactly a good idea. But
my room still feels foreign to me though. My room back home had a beautiful stallion running across one entire wall with fields of flowers around everything else. I had everything I loved in my
room. My giant queen sized bed complete with my green and brown patterned comforter, and my full collection of extremely feathery pillows. I had three book shelves filled with an epic amount
of novels. I even had my corner window seat.
It was my favorite place in the whole house. It was where I spent almost all of my time indoors. Curled up next to the window, surrounded by puffy, fluffy cushions and pillows, while
completely engrossed in a marvelous book. When I was there, I was at my happiest. I loved how something merely as nominal as a few pages of words on paper could excite me to the point where I was
part of the story myself. If my heroine felt crushed and destroyed, I felt crushed and destroyed. If she felt ecstatic and joyful, I felt ecstatic and joyful. If she felt love, then I felt
love. It was as simple, yet as complicated as that. I loved that window seat. I loved to sit and watch the sun set; I loved all of the magnificent colors and glimmering rays that would spread
across the sky as the sun went down. It was peaceful, and I always felt relaxed. Even after the most stressful of days, I would delight in the amazing sight the star would grant me to
You can see why I was so reluctant to leave. This was my home. I tried my hardest to convince my father to let us stay, but his job called him elsewhere. And where one Miller went, every Miller
went. So we packed up, sold our beloved house and moved to Ohio.
The house here is small, a one-story. It’s nothing like our three-story abode back in Iowa. My room is purple and pink. You can tell a total princess lived here before me. My favorite window
seat is gone. All I have here is a simple twin-sized bed, one measly little bookshelf, and a single window. Which did I mention is window seatless?
Well, I had unpacked all of my belongings just a few days ago. I’m not sure why I still had everything packed even after living here for three months. Maybe I was still clinging to the hope
that we would just go back home and all of this would just be a dream. But I finally realized that that was not the case. So I finally accepted that we would not be going back to Iowa, and
this was my home now.
Since this is my home I have to go to school. So today was my first day of fifth grade. I was wearing a cute green top decorated with flowers, it reminded me of home and I felt I needed the extra
soothing comfort of the familiar place. I was wearing beaded jeans and tan opened toe sandals. My light brown wavy hair was falling playfully around my shoulders. Thank god I was having a good hair
Suddenly my hand started being pulled up and down; this pulled me out of my interior monologue. So I looked down to see what had disturbed my inner-babble. Marcus had started bouncing up and down,
excited with anticipation for the bus. I used my free hand that was not currently holding one of the bobbing boys’ hands to fix his front bangs which had been frazzled during his eager bus-awaiting
He looked up at me. “I’m gonna be fine Claire Bear. It’s just school.” Marcus said with a reassuring smile.
His old nick-name for me made me smile back. “I’m sure you will be, just be careful.” I insisted.
The bus then pulled up to the stop. And we gradually started boarding. “Have fun. I love you.” I bent over and whispered in his ear.
He surprised me with a quick kiss on the cheek. “You too.” He whispered back and smiled as he sat down.
I walked back father in the bus back to the fifth grade section and I found and empty seat to sit in. I pulled out my iPod and listened to music until we arrived at John Meur Elementary. As I
got off the bus, I searched for my little brothers’ tiny head in the giant crowd, but my attempts we’re thwarted as the student mob was too large, and filled with tons of bobbing heads.
I franticly tried to find my classroom, as did every other student at school; which created a chaotic mess of confused children. I pushed myself out of the crowd and found myself thankfully in
front of my classroom. I shoved my book bag into my locker and I went into the classroom and found my seat. After about five more minuets the rest of the class seemed to have filed in to the
Mr. Something (I couldn’t remember his name) was explaining some note card project we were going to do to learn more about each other. That’s basically how the first half of the day went, doing
different projects to get to know each other. Until after lunch at about 12:45 a red-headed girl came rushing into the room.
“Mr. Speckler!” She franticly panted.
So that was his name! Well, she handed him a red pass, he looked at it and yelled “Claire Miller! Go to the office right now! Run!”
My heart skipped a beat. I jumped out of my seat and ran. I rushed down the hall and burst through the office door. The secretary only pointed out side and I was off again. I ran outside the
building. That’s when I saw the ambulance. I pushed myself harder and I ran there as fast as I could.
“Claire Miller?” She asked.
I only nodded. She extended her hand and helped me into the back of the life-mobile. In the middle of the back was a stretcher, with Marcus laying on it.
His lips were blue and his eyes were closed. He was out cold. Only his still beeping heart monitor on the other side of his stretcher kept me from falling down thinking he was dead. I didn’t
realize I was crying until the nurse offered me a tissue and a place to sit down while they rushed us to the hospital.
“Wh…wh…what happened?” I stammered trying to catch my breath.
“He drank an entire bottle of Purell. The acids in the product started choking him. Lack of air caused him to go into a coma. I’m sure once we get him to the hospital he’ll be just fine.” The kind
I sat there speechless. A zillion questions flooded my mind. Why would he drink that? Is he gonna be okay? I know the nurse said he will but is she just saying that, or will he really? Didn’t he
see the Not-For-Consumption label?
I’m not sure how much time had passed when we got to the hospital but it didn’t feel like we got there fast enough. Marcus didn’t even look like himself. So weak, and blue; it wasn’t him.
I tried to push my self into the operating room with them but the nurse turned around and stopped me. “He needs immediate care, we’re going to save him, but you need to wait out here. I’ll come and
get you as soon as he’s okay.”
“Bu…bu…” I stuttered.
“Wait out here, he’ll be fine. Go sit down.”She ordered.
I turned and sat. Still stunned; nothing was registering in my mind. How could this have happened? He promised me he’d be fine. My sweet little brother; I couldn’t lose him! He promised!
Tears started flowing down my cheeks once more, but this time I could feel it. I cried until there were no more tears left. My eyes burned, my throat stung, my body ached, and I just wanted this
all to go away. I wanted to wake up back at home so I could go downstairs and eat pancakes and eggs with Marcus, so this would all be just a terrible nightmare.
I’m not sure how long it took, but after what seemed like forever my mom walked through the hospital entrance. She sat down next to me. I put my head in her lap, and waited for more tears to
come. But they wouldn’t. I was all out of tears, and my eyelids hurt. They felt heavy and I slowly drifted off into a dreamless sleep.
I woke up to find myself in a completely different hospital room. My first thought was “Is Marcus okay?”
I bolted into an upright position. He was lying there on the hospital bed in front of me.
I got up and walked to his side. His lips were once again their normal color. But he was still out. He looked like he was asleep. I looked to his right to find his heart-rate monitor. He was doing
Just about then a nurse walked in the room. She checked his monitor and left the room. “Great service they’ve got here.”I thought to myself sarcastically.
I kneeled down by his bed side so I was closer to his head.
“Marcus.” I whispered carefully.
He smiled. I took this as a good sign.
“Marcus, can you hear me?” I asked hopefully.
He nodded, with his eyes still closed.
“How’re ya feeling bud?” I longed for an answer just so that I could hear his voice.
“Not so hot.” The words were barley audible, but I could still hear him. His eyes were still closed and that was starting to worry me.
“What happened?” I asked the question I had been dreading. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know the answer.
“I drank the bottle of Purell.” He whispered.
“I know that sweetie, but why?” I used my best mom voice, because apparently my mother was nowhere to be found.
“I wanted to fit in. I wanted them to like me. They said it was cool.” Marcus admitted in a strained voice. “I’m sorry.”
‘Oh Marcus! I’m just glad your okay!” I blurted.
He gradually opened his eyes. ‘I love you Claire. I’m sorry, I broke a promise.”
I felt the terrible throat wrenching feeling before you cry, but I wasn’t going to in front of him. He needed me to be strong for him.
“It’s okay honey. I love you too.” I stroked his hair.
If only he read the warning sign on the bottle, no friend was worth this. But I knew he would be just fine, and I was just glad that he was okay.
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