The next day I arrived in classroom 216 before anyone else was there. It was only Mrs. Grenado and me. I had made it through the first day without an injury, but I still had no friends. But I would continue to do my best and simply hope someone would come my way.
I moseyed on over to the counter to unpack my backpack when I heard footsteps coming towards me. I cautiously turned around. Mrs. Grenado stood there with a slip of white composotion paper, and handed it to me. There were three numbers on it: 12-32-9.
"This is your locker combination. Do not lose it or you will not be able to open your locker. Follow me." She turned around and went out the door. I followed behind dragging my heavy backpack behind me. We walked down the hall along a row of lockers. They were all navy blue against the white floor, and all were in perfect condition. We came to the end of the hall and stopped. Mrs. Grenado turned and reached out to the last locker on the wall, locker number 310, and turned the dial: to the right 12, back to 32, and foward to 9. She pulled up on a notch, and the metal door swung open. The inside was the same color as the outside, and was fairly large. Large enough to fit my backpack and all six books. There was a hook hanging down from the top. I bent down and unzipped the second zipper on my backpack and pulled out the blue sweater. I hung it carefully on the hook and turned to my teacher.
"Don't thank me," she snapped, "thank Mr. Galls. He is the one who had this installed. And I do not expect to see anything on the outside of this locker, is this understood?"
"Yes," I said looking at the floor. As she turned to leave, I asked in a sheepish voice, "Well, where is Mr. Galls? So that i can thank him?" At the same time a door shut behind us.
"Mr. Galls is right there," she gestured with her eyes, and I turned around. Here was a man dressed in denim overalls with a red checkered shirt underneath. His jeans were ripped and torn, but still holding up, and his boots were dirty, but left no trace of dirt as he walked to where we were standing. His hat covered his eyes, but he looked more like a farmer than a custodian to me.
"Thank you, Molly," he said in a gruff voice as Mrs. Grenado walked back up the hall. He eyes followed her down the hall, until she disappeared around a corner, then he looked at me.
"Well, you're a scrawny thing, aren't you?" he observed, looking me up and down. My face turned red and I felt a wrinkle form between my eyes.
"Umm," how was I supposed to respond to that? "Well, thank you for putting in this locker for me, Mr. Galls." I decided to ignore his rude comment.
"Yeah, yeah." He shook my appreciation off. "Listen, I kind of just threw this piece of junk together and slopped on some paint, so if there are any problems with it, my office is down in the basement. Take the elevator by the office and come see me and I will fix it for you." He took his hat off at the beginning of his sentence, so I didn't hear most of it. His eyes, well, they were beautiful. Much like the cafeteria lady's eyes. Except for his were light amber. Light amber, braided into gold. And around the iris was a black ring. Almost exactly as the black ring held in the lunch lady's light blue eyes, this black held in the custodian's amber gold.
"So when you take a left, my office will be on the corner. Remember, left, not right. Ok?" he asked, eyeing me suspiciously with his amber eyes.
"Umm, right. I mean, left, NOT right. Got it." I shook the thought of the suspicious eyes out of my head to get a good look at Mr. Galls without his cap on. His face was full of wrinkles, especially around his eyes and mouth. There were dark circles below his eyes, probably from a lack of sleep. He was very tan though, and smelled of freshly mowed grass. But he looked, young, in a way. Although you could obviously tell he was in his sixties, when he walked away from my locker, there was a spring in his step. He didn't show any sign of old age. No limping or slowness, nothing. He actually walked away very fast. But when the door shut, I looked back to my locker and admired it. Then I started unpacking my things.