It was terrifying. Never in my life (or death, whichever was right) have I said that. I walked through the open gate, looking more confident than I felt – I just hoped that wasn’t obvious. A woman exited the building and had obviously spotted me as she was walking towards me.
“Ah, hello. You must be the new girl. And your name is…?” she asked.
I didn’t know what to say. I was so confused. After a few seconds, I said, “Evy Alliker, Miss.”
“Oh, yes. I remember now,” she said. Well of course she remembered! I just told her!
“Thank you for turning up early. I just wanted to show you around the school and introduce to some of your teachers. Come on then,” she said, already walking away, with me running after her.
We walked through a large entrance hall, turned left, then left again, then right and a few more rights and then I gave up trying to remember.
“First, I’ll introduce you to your form tutor. But before that, I must ask you something seeing as you appear not to have been to school before. Can you add and subtract?”
“Read and write?”
“Yes,” I said, starting to get impatient and trying to keep looking calm.
“And finally, what do you know about science?”
“I know all the elements of the periodic table from boron to Einsteinium to scandium...” and I started listing the elements of the periodic table.
When, I’d nearly finished, a man came out of the room we were standing outside of. He was wearing a lab coat and a wig (it was obvious) to make him look like Einstein.
When I finished, he said, “Good Lord. In the twenty years that I’ve worked as a teacher, never hasanyoneknownallof the elements of the periodic table.” I blushed. “How old are you, girl?”
“Thirteen,” I said.
“Mr Purtell, meet the new addition to your form and science class, Evy Alliker. Evy, this is Mr. Purtell.”
“Pleasure,” I said, shaking his hand.
“No, no, my dear girl, the pleasure is mine!” he cried. “We’ll leave you in the Year Eight science class for now and see how you get on.”
I don’t know what he meant by that.
“Onwards and upwards, Evy. Come along,” said Miss... I don’t know what her name is.
“Excuse me, Miss, but what’s your name?” I asked.
“Where are my manners?!” she shrieked. “I’m Mrs Inston. Okay, so on with the tour!”
She showed me around the science labs, the maths rooms, the music department and pretty much everywhere else. She was rambling on about something or other. I wasn’t listening though. I was just nodding and making agreeable noises at the appropriate times.
We got to a room where Mrs Inston stopped.
“Well. This is where I leave you, Evy. I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful day,” she said, wandering off. I opened the door and Mr... Um, Mr Purtell (I remembered!) was sat at the desk. When he looked up and saw it was me, he got up extremely enthusiastically.
“Why, hello again, Evy. Please, come here,” he said, so I did. “Evy, something was troubling me. How can a girl of thirteen know all the elements? So, would you like to shed some light on this very troubling matter?”
“Of course, sir. I would indeed like to shed some light and give you a reasonable answer to your reasonable question.” I stopped.
“And...” said Mr. Purtell, encouraging me to go on.
“But the thing is, Sir, I don’t know.”
“Don’t know what?” he asked. Stupid man.
“I don’t know how I know, sir.”
“Wh-what do you mean by you don’t know?!”
“Exactly that, sir. I don’t know.”
“Teens these days,” he said in what he thought was under his breath. “All right then. Go and sit down. Any seat.”
I chose the seat right at the back and further away from all the other chairs.
“Sir? Please don’t announce me to the class,” I said while Mr. Purtell was walking back to his desk.
“Of course,” he replied, smiling to himself.