Schooling

A story about a guy going through the school making and breaking relationships along the way.

Matt Goodwood’s experience of school so far was one of not real importance. Go to school; sit through lesson upon lesson of dull, uninteresting topics which bared no real importance in the real world, silently sit in the hot school hall writing down everything you could remember and then getting a report telling him that, rather unsurprisingly, he’d done well.

Matt was, as he teachers would say, a bright and intelligent young boy who showed promise for the future if he could just build up his confidence. He was never one for class discussion or answering questions verbally. In addition he never really revised anything. He felt that he didn’t need to and most of the time that proved to be correct.

After a long six week summer of playing computer games he found himself waking up on the day that no pupil wanted to arrive; the first day of the new educational year. Matt was now entering Year 10 and was approaching his fifteenth birthday on the twenty third of September. He turned off his alarm, which he had set for 6:50AM, and decided that another five minutes in bed was what he needed before embarking on yet another unbearably dull year. He blinked and looked up at the clock, which had made the previous year in his technology class, and with his bleary eyes he read 7:10AM. Well not exactly five minutes, he thought, but not problem.

“Right, time to get up. Come on, up.” He said quietly out loud.

He found the most effective way he could manage to get out of bed early in the morning was to tell himself to verbally. It seemed to work, well most of the time anyway.

He got himself into the shower and enjoyed the sensation as his senses began to awaken by the hot water as it hit his bare body and ran down his skin. Ten minutes he was back in his room trying to find the blue and green striped tie that seemed to disappear at the end of every school holiday under a pile of washing that he hadn’t hung up or behind the books on his bookshelf. This time it had managed to lodge itself between an old box of toys and the box for his phone right at the back of his wardrobe.

After trying to remember how to tie it, he had completely forgotten over the six weeks of not having to do it, he tied it so the school emblem was not visible. Although against the rules of the school, it was the law of the playground and Matt new which was more important. If you had the emblem showing you were considered a teacher’s pet and socially rejected from certain groups.  Although Matt was not a top pupil in the year socially, he held the middle ground between the groups in the school.

Matt continued his morning routine; he liked being in a routine, by going downstairs and making himself some Vegimite toast. One of his teachers, who was Australian, had once brought some in for the class to try and ever since he was almost addicted to it. He ate it straight off the bread board, vegemite with no butter. He figured there was no need to create more washing up that absolutely necessary.

Next on the routine was to dry his hair. So he went back to his room and picked up the hair drying and started the ten minute job. As he looked at his own reflection in the mirror he saw his dark brown, almost shoulder length, perfectly straight hair. He’d been meaning to get it cut but he could never been bothered to phone up the hairdressers to book an appointment, besides it wasn’t getting in the way too much. Looking into his own blue-green eyes he saw both the disappointment of having to get up early for no good reason and the slight excitement of going back to see all his friends and get up to the usual pranks in the playground. Looking further down he saw his slim build and his pale complexion, even though it had been summer it had still not tanned in the slightest. A crumpled plain white shirt combined the tie and the black trousers covered most of this up. With his hair now dry he picked up his blazer off the floor, picked up his empty schoolbag, he carried a pen and pencil in his pocket, and his keys, opened the front door. Stepped out and breathed the fresh polluted London air.

Matt’s parents had left long before him as they both worked at least an hour away from their home in the southern suburbs. Eric Goodwood, Matt’s father, was a psychologist who worked for an institution in Central London; Matt didn’t really take any interest in his father’s work claiming it just ‘wasn’t his thing’.

Samantha Goodwood, Matt’s mother was head of Human Resources in an international company that build software for aircraft systems so he never really got to see much of her as her job required her to stay abroad for day, sometimes weeks, at a time. Even so Matt really missed his mother, not that he ever admitted it out loud but he always made sure that it made it into her birthday and Mothers Day card.

Locking the door behind him he began to walk at his usual quick pace towards the bus stop on the high street. Remarkably it was only 8:15Am and he didn’t have to be in for another half an hour. As he got closer to the bus stop he saw that it was crowded as usual but not by any of his friends, or in fact anyone in his year, but by all the small Year 7’s that were starting their very first day of secondary school.  Ties down to their trousers, shirts tuck in perfectly and hair looking very combed. Chances are most of them had have to had their photos taken before coming out so their families, in the future, could say things like; ‘You looked so grown up…so sweet…so cute’ followed by something like ‘Where did it all go wrong?’ or ‘Why could it have lasted forever’.

Matt kept his distance till the bus came about two minutes later when he made sure he was the first to get on to made sure he got a seat. After three years of travelling on busses during the school rush he knew what and how to do things in order to be as comfortable as possible.  He sat on the seat on the top deck at the front and a flurry of Year 7’s followed. Most of them looked nervous and excited but a couple here and there were crying. That reminded Matt of his first day. It had been pretty emotional, not that he would ever admit that to anyone. He didn’t cry but he very nearly did on a couple of occasions.

The bus moved away from the stop, now full to the brim with people, majority being young, small, loud, annoying school kids. They were being so loud in fact that Matt couldn’t help over hearing a conversation that two Year 7 girls were having behind him.

“I heard that if you forget a pen then they will give you an hour’s detention after school” The first girl said with an air of someone who was trying to impress.

“Well my brother told me that if you don’t keep your exercise book perfectly neat then they will lock you in small room, I think he called it an iso..” The second girl hesitated. “An isolation room I think he said, all day!”

“Really? Well I heard that if you get caught throwing paper airplanes…” The first girl continued.

Matt refused to listen to anymore. He blocked it out by playing some of his favourite rock music in his head, losing himself in the beats his memory conjured up for him.

Before long the bus arrived at the school stop. After the mass of Year 7’s exited from the bus Matt got off and walked towards the gate. Passing the sign for Westborough Secondary School and Sixth Form College for Continued Education Matt wondered if it was usual to suddenly have the happiness drained out of you as you realised the day ahead. This feeling usually eased off by break time.

“Hey Matt! Over here” A voice shouted.

Turning to look in the direction that the voice came from, not that he needed too, he’d recognise that voice anywhere. As Matt pin pointed the source of the voice he focussed on one of his closest friends, Tyler. They had gone to the same primary school and were the only two to progress into Westborough so they had stuck together in the first year and never really parted.

Tyler was as skinny and even slightly scrawny looking, with short shaved blond hair and a carrot style tan. Today he was sporting an almost perfect school uniform; untucked shirt, tie no longer than 10 centimetres with no emblem on show and a small rip on his left trouser leg. What the school regarded as a perfect uniform was not what playground looked for in uniform perfection.

“Hey Tyler, how you been doing? Long-time no see” Matt said with genuine pleasure, he had missed his friends.

“Yes not too bad mate, just got back from three weeks in the Caribbean” Tyler said smugly.

“Oh, so that explains why you look like a carrot in clothes.” Matt smiled.

“Well it’s what the girls like you know and this year I plan to get myself a gooden” Tyler said with a slight edge of defence.

“You’re certainly not going to get any with your pale skin mate, you’re practically see through”.

Up to this point in time, it’s true that Matt had never attracted any girls but at the same time he hadn’t really been looking for them. There just weren’t any that attracted his interest. Besides in a school which had three boys to every girl in the year if you spotted one you usually had to fight for her. Of course, there were exceptions to this; there are always some girls that no one really wanted. Matt often felt sorry for them but that was yet another one of things he like to keep to himself.

“Well you never know mate, some girls do go for personality over looks you know” Matt said with a smile. He didn’t know why he smiled but for some reason he was.

“Anyway so how was the Caribbean?” Matt asked.

They continued to talk about what they had been doing over the summer right up till the bell went, occasionally trading an odd insult. The insults were never meant, it was just the way you had to talk at school to fit in with everyone else.

As they got closer the main entrance of the building they’re form room was in previously they saw a sheet of paper pinned to the notice board outside which read:

Last years 9LK in G5 now go to K2

“Oh, that’s just great!” Tyler huffed.

“That’s all the way on the other side of the school; it’s going to take five minutes just to get there”.

Matt sighed

“O well, it could be worse, it doesn’t say that out tutors changed. I mean Mrs Kyla is alright, we could have ended up with Mr Hersham”.

“That’s true but couldn’t they have told us closer to the gate, you know, be helpful in any way” Tyler said.

“Well school hasn’t changed then” Matt replied.

It was true Matt noted. Nothing had seemed to happen over the course of the summer, not even a lick of new paint to spruce the place up a bit. Matt was a little surprised at this, they usually did all the maintenance over summer while the students were off on holiday.

Five minutes later they arrived at K2. The school was made up of four separate buildings; Olson, Genva, Apollo and Kensington and then each room was numbered within them. Matt wondered if the people who had planned the layout for the school had chosen to do this for convenience of finding your way around or if they were just trying to get as many people in trouble for being late as possible. If it was the latter, then it had a been a very successful goal.

The End

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