You don't have to go to school today if you don't want, my mother's words echoed in my mind. Why don't you wait a week, give yourself time to settle in.
And be left in that creaky old house alone? I did not think so! Yet as I stepped inside the classroom and felt twenty pairs of eyes latch on to me, I began to regret my decision. I shuffled towards the teacher who was facing the blackboard. He appeared not to have noticed I had entered the room.
I forced myself not to flinch as he dragged the chalk across the hard surface, producing an irksome sound that made my skin crawl.
"Sir," I said.
Without turning away from the blackboard the teacher replied in a low, bored tone.
"Third row, second seat from the back."
Masking my offence at his ignorance, I bit down hard onto my bottom lip and started to weave my way through the desks.
I tripped over a bag strewn carelessly across the tiled floor. Snickers erupted as I collided with the corner of someone's desk. I did not look up to see their reaction, but carried on hastily, feeling my cheeks burning.
I sat down at the desk, fixing my eyes on the scratches gouged deep into the worn wood surface. Eventually,the usual classroom chatter started again.
Unlike in my old school, the teacher did not once turn to the class and snap at them to be quiet. He continued scraping away at the blackboard, completely oblivious to the paper aeroplanes soaring across the room and the students who had positioned their chairs so they were closer to their friends.
"Hey," I heard somebody call from behind.
I twisted around in my seat and saw a girl leaning back in her chair, filing her nails.
"You must the new girl," she said, too busy inspecting her nails to look at me properly.
"Yeah," I replied, trying not to let my disdain show in my voice.
I knew her type. A well kept public appearance, a sickly sweet smile that never reached her eyes and an ill habit of backstabbing every friend she had ever made. Back in the city I would have avoided girls like that. I pitied those who hung around with them. But here in the village I had no one. Here I was a loner. So that was why I answered her when she asked me for my name.