“A New Beginning” by Shannon Yehl

“There’s one!” I shouted.

The rusty yellow taxi cab was coming in our direction. My mom whistled for it to come to us. The cab came to an immediate halt. We ran as fast as we could with our large bags in our hands, hustling to make it in time. The cab driver opened the door and took our bags for us. I sat myself on the seat and peered out the window. I shivered. It was 35 degrees, typical New York weather in December, that I, however, was not used to.

“Where to?” asked the cab driver in a deep voice

“594 Euclid Lane.” My mom replied.

As we pulled out of the airport and into the city, I couldn’t help but feel so nervous. I tugged on my curly brown hair. So much had happened to me this fall, I didn’t know what would lie in the New Year to come. The first thing was that my father had died. He had been fighting lung cancer for 3 years. When he died, my mom told me that we would be leaving Santa Monica, to come to New York. When I asked why, she responded, “Santa Monica reminds me too much of him. We both need a fresh start.” Like always, I had nodded and never asked why again. When we left, I had been leaving my friends, neighbors, and my house behind. I knew that I would have to make new friends, and get used to the island of New York City. In addition, my mom had worked for a hospital as a nurse, and she had managed to find a hospital that could take her at the last minute. She also found us a small 2-bedroom apartment that fit our belongings. Also, she had found me a private school, Constance Billard School on the Upper East Side. My mom seemed to have everything planned out for our “new future.” I felt like the whole world was sitting on top of my shoulders, every plan and every decision. I closed my eyes, trying to remember what it felt like to live in the world I used to live in.

“Beep!” honked a nearby car.

My eyes flew open. I guess this is what my new life would be like.

 

*****

 

I stared up at my ceiling in our apartment later that day. My room smelled putrid. The room had a small bed in the corner of the room, a bookshelf on the wall. However, it had a window that faced the entire city. It was beginning to get dark out and the New York City lights had already looked like twinkling stars in the distance.  The city was ablaze. I sighed and looked at the boxes of my belongings sitting on the floor. I should probably unpack. A loud knock interrupted my thoughts as my mom swung open the door.
“Ready for dinner?” she asked, holding up a frying pan. I nodded and escalated out of my bed.

The next morning, I woke up at 6:00 am. I was greeted by a loud shriek, “WAKE UP IT’S YOUR FIRST DAY!”  I groaned and pulled the covers over my head. It couldn’t be the first day. It just couldn’t.

As we drove to my school, the sun had begun to rise over the New York City buildings, I was exhausted but completely nervous about school, most kids have their first day of school knowing what friends are going to be there and what teachers they have. My head was spinning like it was on a roller coaster of thoughts and questions. But it would be completely incommensurable for me. We pulled into the front entrance of school. The top read Constance Billard: Home of the Tigers! My palms began to get sweaty. All of a sudden my whole body was shaking. And I felt like a zillion butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. My mom turned around and smiled.

“You’re going to do great, Sweetie.” she said. “I know the first day is rough, but you will get used to it.

“Thanks, I hope,” I replied.

An old man with a dark gray suit was knocking on the car window. He had grayish and white hair. A girl was standing next to him. She had long black hair and was wearing the same uniform I was. All of a sudden, I stepped out of the car and shook the man’s hand.

“Welcome to Constance, we are delighted to have you here,” he smiled. “What is your name again?

“Ava,” I replied

“Well, Ava, this is Jacqueline,” he said pointing towards the girl. “She will be showing you around Constance today to help you feel welcome at our lovely school. The girl was wearing dark eyeliner, and had a two piercings on her ears. She wore silver bracelets all over her arm. I smiled plainly. She rolled her eyes in frustration. Well, so much for trying.

She walked to the entrance and I followed. We opened the large doors to the school.

“So, you moved here from Cali?” She asked. She grabbed gum from her pocket.

“Yes, recently.” I nodded.

“Wow, aren’t people from California, like, really rich?” she asked.

“I guess. I don’t know.” We moved down the large hallways of Constance. The lockers filled hallways and classrooms doors had been shut. The school looked different

“So, last week I got detention for bringing my lighter into school,” she said, almost bragging. “So, wanna help me steal it back?”

Her dark brown eyes pierce deep into my dark green ones. She stared at me waiting for an answer.

“I . . . uh . . . err,” I attempted to find the right answer. I couldn’t get in trouble for something on the first day. But was I that desperate to find a friend? Maybe it wouldn’t be that bad.

“Ok,” I nodded. Jacqueline smiled and blew a bubble. Pop!

“Let’s go to the detention room.” We walked on.

The detention room was at the end of the hall. We peered inside the room. An old lady was sitting at one of the desks. She was sleeping and let out a large snore. The classroom was empty.

“There it is!” Jacqueline whispered.

She pointed to a small plastic box that marked BANNED ITEMS. The small red lighter sat in with a bunch of phones and other devices.

“Ok, here’s the plan. You stay here and keep watch, while I take back my lighter. If anyone sees you, bang on the door as loud as you can. Got it?” She asked.

“Alright,” I felt even more scared than before. What had I gotten myself into? And why was this going to be the way I wanted to make new friends?

Jacqueline quietly opened the door. The old lady kept snoring. Jacqueline tiptoed across the room to the box. She reached for her lighter and waved it in the air. I heard footsteps. A teacher had been coming towards the room. My heart started to beat fast like a moving train. When I was about to start banging on the wall, the teacher turned the corner and was gone. Jacqueline came out of the classroom. She had a big smile on her face.

“We did it! Oh my god, let’s go steal more things! It’s so much fun!” she cheered. I looked at her strangely. It all hit me at what I really wanted. I didn’t want friends who forced me into things, and I didn’t want to end up like Jacqueline, with her gothy makeup and dark jewelry.

“No, I am not a person who doesn’t follow the rules and thinks that they can get away with it,” I snapped. Her smiling face turned into a dark scowl. “I want to make real friends.” She looked at me up and down and flipped her black hair. I turned around and ran as fast as I could.

“YOU’RE WEAK!” She shouted. “YOU WILL NEVER MAKE IT HERE!” But I didn’t care.

I ran outside to the steps of school. It was lunchtime and everyone was eating their lunch.
“Hello?” a voice behind my said.

I turned around. A girl with blond straight hair was standing right in front of me. She had a kind smile on her face, a different greeting that I had gotten before. She had blue eyes that sparkled like the ocean.

“My name is Caroline. Do you want to come sit with my friends?” She asked. She pointed to a group of girls sitting at the lunch table.

“Someone told me you were new here, so as SGA president, I wanted make you feel welcome.” Welcome, there was that word again. I didn’t know what welcome meant anymore.  But maybe I should take a chance. So many changes were happening to me so maybe to make them seem less scary I had to take changes. I took a deep breath a squeezed my hands.

“Ok, my name is Ava by the way, and yes, I would love to sit with you guys.” She smiled and we walked to the table. Maybe my new beginning wouldn’t be so bad after all.

 

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