My head felt heavy as I lifted it off the cold, faux wood desk, only to find that a page from my binder had stuck to my face, glued there from the drooling I’d done down my cheek. Instantly I felt a blush rise to my cheeks and without thinking, I ripped it from my cheek painlessly. I glanced around the dark classroom behind me to make sure that no one had noticed the display of humiliation that I'd unconvered from myself. As my gaze drifted I noted that hunched over next to me on that same desk, was Michael, also asleep and snoring just loudly enough for me to hear. A small giggle escaped my throat; unable to stifle it and a tender smile spread liquid-like across my face. When I finally turned forward once again to regain a concious idea of the class's purpose, I found a large pair of weathered hands on our happy, little bed - I mean desk.
Following the arms up to their owner, I found Mr. Samson leaning over the table. His eyes dark like, an owl’s and just as wise were glaring down at us and then they wandered over the hump of clothing next to me that was rising and falling in a silent snore. I hissed at Michael to wake him up without any movement, but when that didn't work -as hard as I could- I kicked his calf with the toe of my sneakers.
Michael's eyes flew open with a blast of the ocean colored glare and he twisted in his seat and squeezed out a slight snarl in my direction before he finally clued into the dark figure haning over the table, he gave me a little hopeless grin and then an overdramatic shrug and looked up at the teacher. Restraining myself from laughing, I watched as Michael turned his full attention from me to Mr. Samson, obviously he hadn’t been any more aware that he'd fallen asleep than I had.
This could be bad.
Slowly, Michael’s glare faded and he turned his head to see Mr. S standing before us. A grim look seemed to seep into Michael’s eyes at first - just as it always did before he decided to use his 'charm' to help him out of the situation - but it subsided into a look of amusement. “Hello Mr. S.” Michael sounded casual as always. This time I smirked, failing to hide it.
Mr. S shook his head and pulled his hands off the table as the bell went. I coudl tell that he wanted to stop and yell at the two of us for sleeping through ‘Bowling for Columbine’, but it never happened and he watched as Michael and I packed up our things and prepared to move to our next class. We moved pretty quickly considering he wasn't the only one watching us as we scrambled to gather our things and make a mad dash to a less boring class.
I glanced at Michael, his hands slipping over his binder and shoved it into his onyx backpack. His face was cast downward as dark locks of hair curled around his face, making his eyes pop with a dull glow. I had always known him to be handsome, but I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Girls flocked to Michael, his good looks and ridiculous sense of humor a large attraction. But he’d turned many of them down. It was getting to the point that I thought he might be gay.
“What are you staring at? Is there a zit on my nose the size of France?” Michael gave me a wry glance.
“No. I was just thinking about something.” I tilted my head playfully with a smile, Michael responded with a twitch of his left eyebrow.
“Some days I wish I could read minds. Others, when I see my Mom giving my Dad 'the look' across the supper table, I really don’t want to know.”
“No kidding?” Of course my tone was licked with sarcasm. I bet even 'the look' between your parents would send you dodging for the bathroom.
The bell went and Michael cast a look towards the ceiling. It was a pale white and had cases of lights strategically place along it, but it was normal and boring. We slipped into the hallway and said a silent farewell as we separated.
He had Pre-Calc at that moment on the main floor just by the office. So I lied, my next class was fun. While his was.... well.... math. I had Art at the far end of the collegiate on the main floor. It was quite the walk, but I really didn’t mind.
Ms. Riley had taken a liking to me on the first day I had arrived in Grade 10, moving to the small town from Vancouver. It was a large change- not meant to be literal considering this school was SO much smaller - but my Mother had told me it was necessary, for what reason she never mentioned.
Walking from one part of the school to the next was always a surprise, going down the south stairs there were murals splashed on the left-hand side wall and directly in front of you. Both were filled with colors and had intricate stories behind them, one that I never seemed to see.
Many of the walls had murals on them, from Senior Art classes years passed. They were all different and brightened the black and white spattered tile hallways. Something that never changed was how crowded the halls were; most of the younger grades got pushed and shoved, just because of their status.
I, myself, was no exception; I hated the ninth graders, but acted as if they didn’t exist. Most of them were dressed like strippers and normally hung all over their senior boyfriends, their tight pants and bleach blonde hair marking them for their high school cliques. Many of them thought they ran the school and flaunted their parents’ money, making other students tense and glare. I personally didn't have anything to flaunt, not a lot of money or a nice fancy sports car to rev up and speed away in - not that this school had many of those - but I did have one thing and that made me happy enough. I was practically the only one in the school who had the power of invisibility.
Making the transition between the North end of the school and the south end was painfully humid in the September heat, most of which still hung around even though the summer months were long pased, the smell of autumn was right around the corner. The two ends separated the air-conditioned rooms, here: body odor hung in the air like a bad clean scent and damp, clammy shirts clung to skin. Some kids looked like they’d been outside running the rocky track, the one thing I was grateful for in their high school. They only had to run the beep test in the air-conditioned gym, but still it was running and mandatory.
Past the bathrooms with the neon orange doors and the Home Ec. room that always smelled of baked goods, and the library and the Band room positioned across from each other did I take-up my locker.
It was across from the physics room where I also had Biology with Mr. Dyck. Twisting the black knob with the faded white etched numbers on the silver lock, I recalled the combination. The numbers were easy enough to remember.
I heard it click and it fell loosely into my pale hand. In the locker, I pulled out my thick sketchbook and replaced my English binder with it pages. Its weight somehow brought me comfort and with that and the slamming of my locker, I stalked down to the end of the hallway into the cover of the Art Room.
Ms. Riley looked up from her desk and smiled at me - she seemed to be able to see through my invisibility cloak no problem, it made my wonder if she had some sort of Superman power of her own. Most of my classmates were already there, talking amongst themselves - loudly might I add however, they never reached out to include me. It didn’t hurt. I was alien to them, but it was to be expected. I took up a seat at a vacant table on the far side of the room away from the chattering group.
I tucked a strand of platinum blonde hair behind my ear; exposing the five piercings I’d begged my Mother for, since I’d turned 10. My Mother had pierced my ears when I was born, giving me, my first set of shiny studs when I was just a year-old. My Mother had one ear, pierced several times and I had always wanted that edgy look. So year after year I’d gotten another piercing or a lecture about my body. But it never stopped me.
“When did you get that bar put in?”
I looked up to find one of my classmates inspecting the silver bar that went through the cartilage part of my ear twice. The girl had brown, hazel like eyes, with golden flecks closer to the pupil, black hair spiked up at the back of her head and hung straight in the front, cut extremely short fitting her round face perfectly. She wasn't unusually pale considering the amount of sunshine they actually got here on the prairies, but the under tone of her skin was a little gray. I wonder if she's sick or something?
“For my sixteenth birthday.” I answered.
The girl who stood across from me beamed, as if she wasn’t expecting me to answer. “Awesome. Where?”
“A tattoo shop in Vancouver.”
“Oh.” Now she just seemed disappointed and her face dropped a little. Just as quickly though, she piped back up. “I want to get it done, but I don’t know where to go.”
I grinned, tediously stepping over words that made me sound cruel. “Winnipeg?” It really was a question I was searching to get answered. I really hadn't spent that much time out of the little town since I'd moved here and it was killing me.
“Ya. But I’d need my Mother to take me there first.” The way she said 'Mother' made me cringe a little, like she was using the word out of hate.
I just nodded in response, but the girl seemed determined to socialize a bit longer. “I don’t believe I’ve ever known your name.”
I frowned a little. I don't know your name either and here you are standing in front of me my inspecting my earlobes. As if that's not weird... and now I'm talking to myself. “Olivia Jade.” I answered quickly, hoping I hadn't spent too much time conversing with myself.
“Skylar.” She winked.
What a pretty name. I blinked hard. And all I got was ‘Jade’. I do have to say though, my last name rules. Sommerland.
Skylar’s mouth moved but her friends called her back in an apologetic tone, pleading for her forgiveness. She left, leaving me feeling used. I’d get over it.
Class started and Ms. Riley announced our assignment. “Sketch someone you know, without getting them to pose.” A wide smile licked at my blue eyes, while the rest of the class moaned and whined. A normal response.
I planned out my assignment; I’d picked Michael just because he was the closest person to me in this strange place and even the thought of drawing my scatter-brained Mother made me flustered. As I finished my planning the buzzer went. My throat swelled. P.E.!
The gym was on the very end of the opposite side of the school down a straight hallway packed with students, which slowed me down, and then I still had to change. Most of the girls wore shirts and brightly colored T’s, while I preferred my baggy track pants and my Mother’s over-sized shirt that read 'Everything's Bigger In Canada' with a picture of a caribou hovering over a deer. It was comfortable and airy, with room for mobility.
Michael was waiting for me at the risers, grinning like a Cheshire cat and I eyed the baskets by the stage.
Dodge ball? I screamed inside my head. Michael read my expression.
“Dodge ball.” With a nod his smile grew wider, exposing perfectly aligned teeth that glistened in the gym’s expert lighting. I caught myself staring at him again, thinking about how I was going to capture that smile in black and white.
“Stop staring Ollie.” Michael caught my eye. It startled me a bit but only because his eyes were so intense as his body filled with adrenaline.
“Sorry. I was just thinking.”
“About?” Michael pressed, honestly interested this time.
“My Art project. And you’re going to be my subject.”
“Do I have to pose nude?” Michael winked.
“Only if you want.” I smirked. We joked around like that all the time, considering we’d only known each other for a year now, since last August in 2005. For some reason it felt like longer, but it hadn’t. The entire student body had come back to school only 2 weeks ago after Labor Day for the 2006 – 2007 year to start.
“I think I’ll bring a towel, just in case.” Michael winked and slung an arm around my shoulders protectively.
“Good idea. Just to be safe, bring your housecoat too.”
“Excellent idea.” Michael cheered in a fake British accent.
“I do say so.” I followed suit and sat in my squad while Michael went to his. Some girls turned to look at me, their faces full of questions. It would appear that I was losing my inhuman ability to stay invisibile. I rolled my eyes a little.
“Are you dating Michael Wiebe?” A red head asked, seeming hurt or disgusted.
I stifled a laugh and brought my knees to my chest, staring back at them with intense blue eyes. “No.” My tone was flat, but not one of them looked away.
“Does he have a girlfriend?” The red head persisted.
Feeling more annoyed than anything, I narrowed my eyes and turned away from the girls. I hated when people asked about Michael, as if they were afraid to ask him themselves. It wasn’t like he was a hard guy to talk to, though they’d been around him for years, most likely since kindergarten, and I had only known him for one of those.
Just answer them, Ollie. I mean, what could possibly go wrong, besides the fact that they discover you’re talking to yourself?
“No, he doesn’t. I think he’s gay…” They’re expressions all seemed to change at once right before me. My eyes grew wide, realizing what I’d just said.
“Are you serious?” The girl with the flaming red hair gasped, her eyes expanding to the size of her fists.
“Well no, I was just kidding.” I bit my lower lip, drawing my knees tighter to my chest, begging silently that the girl would just take it as jealousy. But the girl’s chattered among themselves, hands flailing and lips moving as their lip gloss wore off. They were obviously talking about Michael, because they kept glancing over at him and then back at me, their noses turned up.
Oh COME ON! I was just kidding. Maybe it’s better this way; he wouldn’t go out with them anyway.
Five minutes and the class had been divided and the plush balls placed in the center of the gym. The whistle went and people charged towards the middle, grasping at their squishy weapons. Michael and I were on opposing teams, I stood back and watched while he tore forward and flung the balls furiously at my team.
Okay Michael, please don’t hit me. That looks like it hurts. I winced as my teammates got pelted.
It wasn’t until I opened my eyes did I see the red head from earlier flirting with Michael. Flames shot up in my throat and I picked a yellow orb up off the floor, subconsciously, and pitched it, using all the force I had. What surprised me was that it soared towards the girl like a missile at top speed and hit her in the gut. The red head fell backwards from the blow, coughing and gasping.
Immediately the whistle went and our gym teacher, Ms. Falon jogged towards her in a panic.
“Are you alright?” I heard her ask, but she saw it, the girl was unconscious. She was sprawled on the gym floor by Michael’s feet, her chest rising and falling slowly; but not an inch of her other wise, moved.
Michael and another guy on my team walked towards me now, Michael’s intense aqua eyes hit me like a giant wave, the water stealing my breath.
“Was that you who threw that?” Michael asked, eyes sparkling.
But I was frozen and didn’t know what to say to that question. Had I been the one to throw it? Ollie, you’re not even strong enough to move your nightstand, little alone chuck a ball that hard, that far.
“Ollie?” Michael pressed, teasing me with that pet name.
My teammate stared blankly at me, but I sensed a smile tugging at his thin lips.
“That was awesome!” He finally surged.
“Um, I don’t even think I threw it.” I shrugged.
“I saw you do it.” He nodded vigorously.
“Really?” Michael glanced at him in disbelief.
My hands were shaking; I brought them to my face expecting them to look different. But they were still pale with five fingers in slender lines off the palm. “But how?” I muttered.
“Baseball?” My teammate quizzed still ecstatic.
“No. I don’t play sports.” I shuddered.
Did I really do that? But, how?