I sat in the library most of the time, for it was right next to my class. I sat and read Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy. I hated romance novels, what with all the heart ache and lovey-dovey talk.
And then the next disaster came around. Unable to acclimatize myself with my new syllabi, which was a whole load higher than my previous ones, I got my lowest ever in the examinations, which were held a week after I joined in. I was used to getting in the nineties. For the first time, I got sixty-two percent. I was bad at sports, fat and short, and ugly, and academics were the only thing I had going for me. And now, even that slipped through my fingers. If the marks had stopped dropping at that, maybe I would have recovered sooner. But then I failed in the class tests.
I was worse than depressed. I missed my old friends, my old school. I missed me. This strange quiet creature was not me. Never me. I had no idea how I survived the six months in the middle school. I withdrew into a shell. After a few weeks, I was unable to recognise myself. I used to get scared at the idea of going to school anymore.
And then, relief came, and I finally climbed back to my somewhat original position in academics. I got eighty-five percent in my finals. I had realised by now that people were fickle. No one cared in school, and it was useless to try and fit in with people I was sure could never accept me for who I was. I started seeing a double meaning in every gesture anyone made. I was convinced that while trying to be nice, they were laughing at me behind my back. And I wasn’t wrong. They were.
When we went on our first school trip, I was put in a room with girls who barely knew me. They tried to set me up with someone, and I believed them like a brainless duck. I had never felt so lonely before in my life. Friendless, away from home, stuck in another city with roommates who didn’t like me, and a crazy juvenile diabetic guy who thought that it was just too funny to ask me out every now and then. He even persisted after I told him to hit the road in clear, precise language, and that I wasn’t interested. It made me bitter, my experience did.