The lunchroom of Bridgemountain Middle School was beautiful. The two walls adjacent to the lunch line were white, and the two walls opposite of that, adjacent to the gigantic stage in the back of the room, were navy blue. The stage was as big as a theater's with ruby red curtains hiding the back of it. There were cushioned chairs in front of the stage, and the chairs lining the rectangular wooden tables were made of plastic, but looked like they were comfortable. The entire floor was of white tile, and was spotless.
Students walked into one side of the lunch line and were handed navy blue plastic lunch trays, each already stocked with utensils and a napkin, a cloth napkin like you would find at a fancy restaurant. They would emerge on the other side of the wall, their trays stocked with food and drink. At the door of the room I looked around for an empty seat. Again, I could feel people staring at me, glaring at my appearance in their lunchroom. it felt as if the entire 8th Grade was looking at me, warning me to stay away from them. So I finally spied an open table in the corner, far away from anyone else. I decided i would sit there for the time being. But I jumped into the end of the lunch line, paper bag in hand, only because I needed something to drink. I said no when the lunch aid held out a tray to me, and quickly followed the lunch line into the safe haven of the kitchen.
Everything looked so good! These were the kind of foods you would find at a 4-star gourmet restaurant, not at a lowly middle school! (Not that anyone in their right mind would call this middle school lowly.) Stuffed chicken, salmon, steak, with caesar salads, exotic fruits and assorted finger sandwiches were sitting on the counter. There were also soups and other appetizers available. Cakes, cookies, and mousse made up the desserts. For drinks they had all the fruit juices you can think of (all with 0% sugar and no artificial juices), all the major sodas, flavored waters, and, of course, milk products. Seeing good ol' milk made me remember that this was, however extravagant, a school. I grabbed a chocolate milk and was at the cash register in the blink of an eye, fighting the urge to chuck my PB&J and use my emergency money to buy school lunch.
The girl in front of me, who had gotten bored of staring a this new girl, punched in a number on a keypad and walked away. She didn't even have to say anything to the lady manning the station! i moved up in line and waited for the woman in the white apron to say something, ask for my money, or anything, but she didn't even look up from the computer screen. I cleared my throat.
"Just type in your lunch code please," she said in a monotone voice.
"Umm," I hesitated, then said, "I don't have a code yet, I'm new here." She looked up for the first time, and I saw her eyes. They were a piercing blue, lighter than the sky on a summers day, but with a black ring surrounding the blue, as if it was holding the beautiful blue in.
"Oh," was all she replied, but her voice seemed to have a friendly edge to it, like this was the first time she had talked to someone all day. She looked at the computer screen again. Her hair was reddish-orange and was a wave down to her shoulders. I imagined she was in her late fourties by the wrinkles around her eyes and the age spots on her cheeks. She was tall, and a little large, but didn't look old. She worked on the computer for a few more seconds, and looked up again. "So is that all you're getting Jenn?" she questioned while eyeing my milk.
"Yeah, I actually packed a lunch." I held up the bag. "PB&J." I smiled when she smiled and said,
"Ok. Well, I see you have milk money. I won't make you pay for it though. These kids here don't drink milk. They're all for the sugary sodas," she told me, looking me straight in the eye.
"Oh, thanks," I said, a little shaken, and walked away. Something about her wasn't right. Those eyes didn't match this body. It seemed as if something was off about her....