We had been sitting through my form tutors lecture about something physics related for what felt like only minutes. I had followed him straight here after form, him being my physics teacher was good like that. He always reminded me when our lessons were and I was never able to forget my homework because he was always around making sure that I remembered it.
This was an annoying lesson for me. Bob was in here, she sat one row back though. There was a space for her next to me. Well, it wasn’t next to me, but if I swapped places with Heather then she was next to me. She wouldn’t sit there though. She wasn’t really allowed to but some glares from a teacher never stopped her doing what she wanted before. I think she just liked sitting where she was. She was sitting next to Paddy, but Paddy had other friends there who she talked to for half the time so it’s not like Bob was surrounded by friends like she would be if she sat with me. There were two more of our friends if she sat with me.
“Alright, fill in the sheets.” I was surprised to hear the room fall into silence for a moment, as though no one had been listening, before everyone continued with the chatter that had been ever present beforehand.
I doubted that anyone was filling in their sheets; no one had been listening to start with so they wouldn’t know the answers even if they tried to do the work. We were lazy people for a class who were meant to be a top set, but we got the grades so it didn’t really matter if we did the work or not, not really.
“What’s the answer to number three?” Heather asked me, looking at my sheet in surprise as she didn’t see any answers.
Of course it was my friends who were actually doing the work when everyone else was having fun messing around with the things one can find in a physics room or just talking to pass the time.
“I … um…” I looked at the question, trying to figure out what it was asking of me. “Well it must be A. The gamma is stopped by smoke so makes the alarm go off…” I started to circle the answer.
“Wrong. The smoke stops alpha particles. Lead piping stops Gamma. Smoke wouldn’t do a thing against it.” Bob rested her chin on the far side of my table, trying to read what was on Heathers sheet.
“You were listening?” I asked, talking about the information we had just been given.
“No. I just know this.” She smiled like it was true then left, having got the answers she needed.
I circled the answer Bob has given me, she was normally right about things like this, even if she had no clue what she was talking about. It would have been nice if she would sit with us though, then she wouldn’t have to get up to tell me that I was wrong, which was all the time. She spent more of the lesson walking to my table at the front than actually working or actually listening to anything she was being told.
The rest of the lesson wasn’t much more eventful. I saw Bob occasionally when we had to retrieve light bulbs and buzzers from the cupboard, and then again when she came over to fix the wiring I had done wrong without realising it. Other than that, Heather talked to me, trying to make me do that work, so I did. And then Heather talked to Jane, so I tried to listen and be a part of the conversation, but I didn’t. Annoyingly I thought about how if I was Bob I wouldn’t have to listen to what they were saying, they would be listening to me. Or if they weren’t I would just be able to pick up on things that they were talking about, and I would know all about it already. And if I was being quiet, like I was now, it wouldn’t be odd. I wouldn’t look anti-social; I would look like I just didn’t want to do it. But I wasn’t Bob.