Picture the scene: a lone coke can stands in the fridge of a busy school canteen, rejected by everyone and completely alone... for very good reasons. Then along comes the new girl to pick up the wrong drink.
Clueless (or so she'd have us believe) as to what she has started, she relies on help from a local boy who's less than willing to give it. Can they avert a disaster years in the making? What exactly is this girl hiding? Oh, and one more question...
What does the Coke can think about all th
It’s a hot day. Sun blazing down, the sky the shade of clear blue you would expect from mid-Summer, not early November.
The weather doesn’t suit the time of year and it certainly doesn’t suit the events of that day. Not that I am aware just now, as I wander down an unfamiliar street, that the day has some interesting developments in store for me. But even now I am suspicious of the weather. There’s one more thing it doesn’t suit: my mood.
First days are always difficult, but there are varying degrees. There’s the first day where a group of other new people are present and as nauseatingly terrified as you (relatively easy). Then the first day where you know someone in the place who is willing to show you the ropes (again, easy). Then the first day in a place where you know nobody and have to wander around looking lonely and helpless until someone gets sick of watching you and helps (awkward but eventually fine).
But then there’s a whole other league of first days (my situation) I:
- Knew no-one in my new school.
- Was starting in the middle of term-time.
- Am generally socially awkward.
- Was in a tiny town where everyone except me knows everyone except me and the only way anyone was likely to help would be shooting me to put me out of my misery.
So, I’m not in a good mood, the weather is for some reason. You get the picture.
I walked into the school to find it was really just one L-shaped corridor. No more than ten classrooms. I nearly grabbed someone on the corridor to actually ask to be shot. Out of all the places I had to end up it had to be a town so small that the school had less than three hundred students.
Three hundred is far too small a number for me to stand a chance of making friends. I guarantee at least a quarter of them are complete weirdos, so they’re out. About half are too young for me to be bothered with. And at least another fifty will hate me on sight. I’m pretty and I know it; I’m used to that reaction.
So that leaves me about half my year to choose from, if I’m lucky. I’m sure, even at this point, that I’m going to have a pretty lonely existence until I get out of this place.
Class I can cope with, I can pretend to be one of those people that’s so absorbed in concentrating on their studies that they have no time for anyone else in the class. I am definitelynotone of those people but I am a rather good actress. Years of practise have assured me of that. On the corridors I can always ask random strangers for directions if I get lost. There’s no getting away from the new-kid syndrome at lunch though. I’m standing in the line by myself, looking forward to sitting at an empty table by myself eating the unappetising substance which they are serving up as lasagne.
But then I see it and, although I’m not aware of it at the time, that particular version of the future ceases to be.
There is... a Coke can. A truly unexceptional object, but one that I actually identify with at that moment. (You know you’re in trouble when you can identify with an inanimate object) You see, it was sitting there, all alone, like me. It was the only drink in that fridge when there was another fridge only half-full beside it. And... I wanted to save it. It looked lonely.
Later on, I questioned whether I ever actually felt any of this or if my thoughts and emotions were out of my control. But it doesn’t really matter now. All that matters is that I did take that Coke can out of the fridge.
And then all hell broke loose.