I sat in the back seat, next to my sister as I looked out at the dark clouds that rolled thickly over the Cleveland sky. They were saturated with moisture, threatening to explode at any minute and make cold rain fall from the sky. I sighed as I looked out there; I missed the sunny, clear blue skies of California already. There was a thick forest that surrounded us, trees that rose ten to twenty feet on either side of the road. I stared outside, unmoving. I hadn’t said a word to my dad since we departed days ago. I sighed frustrated as sheets of shimmering rain began to pour from the sky. Fog began to coat the windows as the rain became heavier and heavier. Cleveland was a city in the U.S, with the appropriate nickname of the Forest City. It oversaw Lake Erie, and so winds brought the water from the lake over into the city, where it rained constantly.
The large city was home to overgrown forests, whereby I would be living—in the small, negligible fraction of Cleveland. The rain was heavy, the population was rare to come by, and I hated the smell after rainfall. It was like worm crap mixed with piss on cardboard. The forests that lined our inevitable path only lowered my mood even more. It upset me that we were nowhere near the city, which was where I wouldn’t mind being. Our school would also be in this secluded part of Ohio. I frowned as we slowed to a stop in front of an old house. It was two stories, but the planks at the front of the house were old and worn away—rotting from the rainfall and not being cleaned for what looked like a century. The stairs were cracked, and one was missing, and the gutter was spewing water out at a relentless rate.
Overall, a horrible sight to behold.
I pushed open the car door and grabbed my stuff from the trunk before I hurried onto what was left of the front porch. I’d only been out in the rain for two minutes, and my clothes were soaked through with water. I walked over to the door and tested the knob. It creaked as I turned it, and nearly popped of as I wrenched the door open, stumbling inside. “No need for keys,” I mumbled as I stepped into the house. To my right was a small TV room, and straight ahead was another large room that acted as a living room. Behind that was a kitchen. I walked up the overly creaky steps and crept towards what I knew would be horrible: the rooms. When I got onto the top landing, I walked into the open doorway and looked at the decent space that was unoccupied there. I set my stuff down and sat in the middle of the floor. It’s going to be a long year.
After being driven to school by my dad, I stepped out into the cold, damp air, wrapping my rain jacket closer to me. I walked forwards, Jen standing right next to me as we looked at the school that we would be attending for the rest of high school. The school was small compared to what I’d been going to in California, and everyone seemed to be used to the horrible rainfall that had occurred the night before. I exhaled noisily, slowly taking steps that would soon take me through the door of Reign Heights High School. We got into the school with all eyes on us, and we looked around through the building, trying to locate where the office was. “I think it might be in a different building,” I said. We turned and walked back through the door that we’d entered, walking out into the damp air again. We looked around, and I located a building that had the large words: REIGN HEIGHTS FRONT OFFICE.
We headed towards the building, not speaking a word as we walked through the shimmering wet parking lot towards it. Crowds of people pushed past us on their way to their classes and we were honked at for no reason several times. When we finally managed to reach the smooth brown door that led to the Front Office, we walked in and went to the front of the desk. We gave out names to the secretary, and she gave us what we needed to navigate through the school.
I got my schedule and headed over to a building that had a gold plaque over the door that read: BUILDING 3. I had English Lit in that Building, so I threw open the door and walked into the brick facility. Not a pair of eyes left me as I trudged up the stairs, eager to just get to class without someone talking to me. While my skin was tanned due to the sun in California, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Everyone else around me was a peach skin tone.
Unhappy already, I found my classroom and walked inside. The teacher greeted me warmly, and I tried to avoid being introduced to everyone seeing as it would be easier to be devoid of anyone recognizing me in the halls as ‘that new kid’. “Class,” said the teacher, drawing attention to the fact that I was there. Everyone looked up at me. “This is Zack,” he said. “Zack came all the way from…”
“California,” I said.
“Ha! A Cali!” said a boy who sat at one of the desks. “How’s the weather down here compared to there, Cali?” mocked the kid. “Do you want your mommy yet?”
“Hold on,” I said. “Let me lower my I.Q. so I can enjoy your company.”
The class made a loud ‘ooh’ and was silent as I said it. I sat down at the front of the class, regretting the fact that I’d already made an enemy out of someone in about three minutes of attending the school. I turned in my seat, and the kid glared at me through his brown hair. His baseball cap held his hair back, and his face was full. His body was muscular and he was broad-shouldered. I guessed that he was a football jock. I turned back to the front and listened to the English lecture that was being told, even though I was ahead of all of the people in this class. They’ll have put me in an A.P. class in about three days. I sat in my seat and completed a quiz that showed what I knew about stanzas in poems, a review of predicates and simple stuff like that. I raced through it, knowing full well that I would probably get a perfect score.
I tried not to look around too much, for fear that I might catch the eye of the football player whose ego I’d just greatly diminished verbally. So instead, I sat there, in my seat, thinking about what terrible surprises Cleveland and its residents might hold later on in the day. I guess I’ll visit the forest later on today, after school, I thought to myself. I didn’t say a word as I waited for the bell that meant that I’d have to get to Biology—a class that I hoped the football player was too dumb to attend.
And so I sat there until the bell, and then I rushed out of the classroom so I could get to m next class before would get cornered by the football jock and get beaten up for dissing his I.Q. I ran around the floor frantically until I discovered that my Biology class was in Building 1, which was a large, orange-bricked building that held the cafeteria, the gym, Calculus and Biology classes.