Read and...you know the drill!
I was expecting a blazing row; I was expecting slamming doors and smashing plates. Okay, maybe not the plates but definitely shouting.
It never came.
Mom was in The Biggest Sulk Since Last Time I Screwed Up TM and therefore not talking to me. Dad? Dad just asked if I’d had a good time at Mia’s. I didn’t set him straight.
The two girls walked together on the pavement. One had tumbling red hair, the other jet coloured hair that was pulled back in a messy bun.
“Yeah, I know a few people,” Joanna replied, her hands deep in the pockets of the jeans she wore yesterday.
Emily nodded. “Who?”
“Who? Oh um…” Joanna floundered for a name. “Fredrick,” she said triumphantly.
Emily frowned. “Don’t think I know him.” She shrugged as they approached the school. “Oh well. Do you wanna go meet the girls?”
“Um…yeah,” Joanna decided. “I got geography first so where’s that?”
Emily beamed. “I’ll show you in a bit. They’ll be over there.”
To tell the truth the ‘girls’ were starting to annoy me slightly. They were just so shallow. They were nice, yeah, but all they ever talked about were boys, make up and the latest fashion. And it was just so…fake. So superficial. So…unlike my old friends. We used to talk about ideas, not just people and places. But it wasn’t like my old mates were really keeping in contact. Our friendship obviously hadn’t, couldn’t stretch a whole ocean. I guess the girls were ok. Good people to have round in a fashion crisis, not so good for intellectual conversation. Well no, that’s not fair, they weren’t thick. They just thought that people and places were more interesting than say…a debate about why rap sucked.
“Hey Jo,” Mia said as Joanna and Emily approached. “Em said you might be trying out for the squad.”
“Um, yeah, probably,” Joanna replied slowly. “Cause of the whole gymnastics thing.”
“Cool! Mia squealed. “That would be so great! You could come to all the parties and stuff.”
Joanna took a step back, a wary on her face. “Uh, yeah. Sure.”
“Oh and then you might get asked out by Drew. Oh you two would be so perfect!” Mia exclaimed. Joanna raised an eyebrow.
“Who’s Drew?” she asked bewildered.
“Only the hottest single guy in school,” Trina interjected.
“Star of the soccer team,” Sally agreed.
“Or there’s, oh what’s his name…” Eva began.
“Benji,” Kelly exclaimed triumphantly.
Eva smiled. “One of the school’s top swimmers.”
Joanna was getting befuddled with the names and positions in the school hierarchy being thrown at her and was thoroughly relieved when the bell rang for form.
“I gotta go. I’ll, uh, see you later.” And she sped away as she heard Emily call after to wait at the front gates.
Lessons passed in a blur, the way lessons do when you’re trying to blend into the background so the American kids don’t try to trip you up and the teachers don’t ask you questions. I wasn’t looking forward to lunch. The noise and loneliness that I’d experienced yesterday didn’t appeal to me.
“Anna! Anna!” There was someone insistently calling her name, but she didn’t turn round. Who knew her nickname? It was probably some other Anna. Suddenly there was a boy standing in front of her. He was taller than her, and had beautiful eyes.
“Rick!” she exclaimed, her mouth curving into a smile. “Hey.”
He shook his head, almost incredulously. “Didn’t you hear me call?”
“Well yeah,” she admitted, “but I didn’t recognise your voice. And Anna’s pretty common.” He put a gentle hand on her shoulder, steering her through the throng of people.
“Come on. You’re sitting with us today,” he told her gently.
“Do I get a choice?” she asked sarcastically.
“Nope,” he replied cheerfully. They stopped as they reached a table occupied by three people, two boys and a girl.
Now she was a punk. Definitely. Tartan trousers, safety pins all over them, a black vest top, a nose ring, baseball shoes, and turquoise streaks in her dark brown hair. So punk. So cool.
The two boys were in baggy jeans and band T-shirts. One proclaiming a love of The Clash, the other, Metallica. I knew The Clash. London Calling was one of my favourite CDs.
“Guys,” Rick said. “This is Anna. She’s English but don’t hold that against her.”
The all looked at Joanna. “Hey,” The girl said. “I’m Maria. The Clash fan is Mikey and Metallica is Will.”
”Hi,” Joanna tried. Will gazed at her for a few more seconds before announcing, “You’re in my Maths lessons. You’re good.”
She blushed slightly. “Thanks.” Rick sat down opposite Maria and Joanna, following his lead, sat down between him and the one called Mikey.
“I, um, really love The Clash,” she ventured.
“Yeah?” he asked, sounding unimpressed. “Which albums?”
“London Calling’s my favourite. But The Clash is pretty good as well. Well, they’re all good but Sadinista! is a bit, you know, posery.”
He broke into a smile. “Rick.” He began. “You found a good one.”