A Day in the Life
It’s the forty-fifth day of Neoschool, and two months into the first year that my newest friend, Sodakitten, will be attending my school. We met over the summer at camp, and Kit begged her owner to move here to Neopia Central. Now she and her siblings Dragon, Guilty and Scrappy are in my school and hang out with me.
Sitting in the cafeteria for a while in the morning, I look up at the clock for what must be the eleventh time in five minutes. Kids are slowly drifting in. The ones I notice are the smart, popular kids in my grade: Akuan, Unj and Chellime and her best friend Edwor. I look at them and snort. Chellime is fooling around with Edwor (Waltzing! Really!) and Unj is finishing up his homework. I did that all last night, silly me.
I turn back to the doorway and stare, thinking that if I stare long enough Kit’ll come through. No such luck awaits me. Instead I get the most charismatic Ixi in the grade – Churline. However, charismatic here does not mean good. Churline has a way of taking pets over. I’m sure that every day before school, she does herself up to the nines JUST so that she can get pets going her way. Her bat wings are so sparkly it’s not theoretically possible. Even so, I stare longingly at their table. What does it take to be accepted there, I wonder for not the first time. My semi-trance is suddenly blackened by some beautiful paws.
“Kit? I know you’re there,” I say.
“Aw, how do you always know?” she pouts. I laugh at her.
“You’ve been doing it to me for ten straight days! I think I should know who it is by now!” She sticks out her tongue at me. I then notice that Chippy and Lukey and Paws have entered the cafeteria.
“Chippy! Paws! Lukey!” I shout. They run up to us.
“What’s up?” my red Usul friend asks.
“Not much, Chippy,” I reply. “Kit here thinks that she can trick me, but obviously I’m too good for her.” Kit scoffs at that. Lukey then launches into this story of how he beat Lian at their bike racing contest. Paws smiles, leans on the table and closes her eyes to listen. Kit and Chippy listen too even though Lukey’s told the story so many times it’s as old as King Coltzan was. I half-heartedly try to listen, but something else catches my eye.
A shadow Eyrie walks into the room. I knew him once. He was a very good friend when we were younger. But he was super smart, and I... wasn’t quite as smart. Or as mysterious. When we were in elementary grades, he was drawn to the more popular crowd. I wasn’t. We haven’t really spoken since.
“Demion,” I whisper.
“What?” Kit asks.
“Hmm? Oh, nothing,” I reply hurriedly. She stares at me for a moment then returns her attention to Lukey. I return mine to Demion. He’s talking to Churline, of course. I sigh. The bell rings for class. With Kit jabbering at my heels, I head up to Math.
For the record, my math class sucks. Most of the dumb, super-popular kids are in there. I moan and groan about it to Sodakitten. She just rolls her eyes, then waves and heads to her chemistry class. I sigh again and walk over the threshold to the ends of Neopia. I drop my water faerie backpack on the floor and drop into my seat. Nicklby the red Chia and Curtno the yellow Kougra are sitting in their seats across from me. I don’t mind them. They’re quiet. It’s Lisee I mind. She’s just... for lack of a better word, an idiot. Well, she’s really not, but she doesn’t know it. Instead of listening in class, she talks to Ronoc and copies off my papers. She also thinks that our teacher, Ms. Yasey, should spontaneously combust. But instead of trying to understand her, the silly desert Kyrii sticks to her guts. So understandably I pray for her not to come to school today. Sadly, ten minutes into class she comes in with a cup of hot borovan and a pass.
“Dung,” I mutter. She takes her seat next to me, puts her stuff down and immediately turns and tells Ronoc about some silly thing that happened as she was coming up with her borovan. I roll my eyes and go back to deciding whether x=y/z is direct or inverse proportion.
After deciding that x is directly proportional to y and indirectly proportional to z, I start drawing since Ms. Yasey gives us like half an hour to do a two minute problem. I suddenly feel more closed in than usual. I look up to see Lisee staring at my paper. Unhappily, she’s not admiring my glorious artwork. I stare back at her and she goes back to her desk. But not without something else – my answers. Disgusted, I flip my paper over and continue to draw. After what seems like an eternity the bell rings. I pack up my things and rush out the door to greet Chippy.
Chippy comes out of her classroom right after Lian, as always. I greet her and we start walking down the stairs. I rant about my dumb class; she talks about the math test she just took. I follow her to her history class then scurry off to my study in the cafeteria with my new friends Cari and Alicks.
When I get there, Alicks is at our usual table but Cari isn’t. I see her backpack, however, and deduce that she’s buying a Thornberry bagel. I sit down, say hi to Alicks, open my math book and get out a piece of lined paper. While I’m on problem three the purple Bori comes back. We talk for a while about random things – popular books, other friends and the like. But at 10:00 AM NST Cari has to go to her assisted study. When she leaves, the urge to talk disappears. I’m done with my homework so I take the time to think of my life at the moment. I mean, I have amazing friends... but what about the other pets?
All the other pets at camp didn’t like me. I know because when I got home I asked Sarah to neofriend their owners. She did, and I sent neomails to a few of the pets. But in a mass neomail... one had forgotten that they were ‘friends’ with me. It was horrible to read what they had written about me. It took me a long time to get over that. Another thing: when we are allowed to talk in class, I am always alone if I have no close friends in the class. I admit this is partially because I am super shy, but at the same time nobody takes it upon themselves to get me in the conversation. The stupid boys go to that corner, the super uber high status kids are in that one, the gossipy girls are in the middle of the room, the group that Demion belongs to is in the back of the class talking, the semi-loners are at the front and I’m on the sidelines. Oh, how I wish that more pets took the time to know me. I’m just thankful at the moment that I met Kit over the summer. I wonder who she left behind...
I’m so deep in thought that it takes me a second to realize that the bell rang, signaling the end of third period. Going up the stairs, I remember that it is a gold day. This means that Demion has study in the room next to mine third block. (Our schedule makes it so that we switch a class every day. Today I have study, tomorrow pottery, the day after that study, etc).
I smile as I walk through my classroom door. Settling down, I take my nearly pristine copy of The Gelert Diaries out of my backpack. I am happy that this was the year that my school bought new books; Kit’s copy is all torn and broken, but she chose it so she could fix it up. I don’t understand her sometimes.
Mrs. Chaze tries to quiet the class down with little success and starts talking about how Elwyn’s feelings are in conflict in Chapter 8. “Does he seem rather flighty?... What caused this sudden change?... Who is bossing whom?” are most likely the sorts of questions she’s asking, and answering herself. I feel bad for her. I listen in class and take very good notes, I feel. Yet Anna_Marie, who is super smart and gets As in everything, sits right behind and to my left and treats the class as a study and does her advanced math homework. It makes me so mad to see her do that and still get an A in English.
The class finally settles down and participates in the discussion. Forty five minutes and the bell rings. This indicates to my class to grab lunch and rush out the door, for we have what is deemed ‘second lunch’. Even so, I walk to my locker at the opposite end of the hallway to get my lunch and am there 1,000,000 times faster than the pets I sit with on gold days. I amble out of the classroom and keep my eyes on Demion, who’s padding down the hallway securely as can be. I get pushed along by the stampede coming from behind me and end up at Demion’s side. It’s so awkward. I glance out the sides of my eyes to see him doing the same thing. We quickly pull away and I power walk to locker number 2663. I enter my combo: 32-18-12 and swish open the door with a flourish, breathing hard from my (very) brief encounter.
Slowly I head down the stairwell to the cafeteria. As usual, I am the first one at the table. Feeling uncomfortable, especially when Demion is having a good laugh with his friends Unj and Dranew, I start cleaning the table. Whoever sits there during first lunch is super messy. Eventually I see Purity and Salysa come through the doors and I sit myself down.
Throughout the forty five minute period I somewhat listen to the multiple conversations around me.
“... What are you doing, neomailing him?!...”
“... Oh, but see, she LIKES you...”
“... Shanlita, will you please open my orange juice for me please?...”
“...GIVE ME MY SHOE BACK!!!!...”
But in the end my eyes and thoughts drift back to Demion. What friends we’d been, saving icicles and spying on Sim_Kam. I sigh, remembering it all. The bell brings me out of my thoughts and I immediately get up and stroll through the doors, swinging my lunchbox nonchalantly.
Standing outside my English room, I notice when Demion gets back to his room. I stare longingly at him for a moment, then go back to fighting off Aven. The little skunk Draik is under the impression that girls are flat-out liars and that seeing/doing is believing. The door is always locked when we get there; Mrs. Chaze always goes to the bathroom right after lunch. I know this. He, apparently, doesn’t. So he always harasses me to stand aside and let him try the door. I always reply that unless his strength is godly he will not make the door budge an inch. Then Nyar, a big mutant Hissi, pushes me aside and tries to pick the lock on the poor door. Finally then Mrs. Chaze comes back and opens up the classroom. This exchange happened today as well. Before I walk inside, I stare one last time at Demion longingly. I walk inside and let my thoughts on him stay in the hallway.
We continue to talk about The Gelert Diaries. Rather boring stuff if I do say so myself. The best book that we’ve read so far is The Lone Quiggle. However, at this moment, I accomplish the trying task of staying awake and at attention until the bell rings for fourth block – Neopian History. I grab my things, shove them into my backpack and shoot out of the classroom. I don’t bother to write down any homework; I know there won’t be any. My eyes dart ahead of me, searching, searching... Finally I spot the shadow and follow it down the hallway. Across from the library he gets off the train, stopping at room 271. English, for him. Passing the room myself, I glance in... only to see a Halloween Ixi leaning over to a desk that the shadow Eyrie is setting his things on. I sigh and hurry myself to my own class before Mr. Park gets angry.
As I sit down in my seat I smack my head. I had nearly forgotten that today was the first day of our Y2 project presentations. Thankfully I have my group’s project in my bag – very thankfully, for my two partners will not be here today, I know. Yobbbo has a very bad case of Reptillioritus (so yesterday I had to finish the project all by myself – hmph) and Nadbren left on Saturday for a vacation on Mystery Island, the lucky Lenny. But I also have a part in another project – my friend Kenzy’s. Her group got the topic of fashion, sadly. As any old-schooler will tell you if you wanted to hear, there practically was NO fashion in Y2. Only in Y8 did it really come along. However, a few small things survive in the fashion business to this day, and I am to model one of them along with Kenzy, Fejf and Miek. Not very exciting, since they do all the talking. I have one line: “Oh no, thank YOU, Kenzy!” My big break, indeed. Ah well. Better than just sitting back and watching everybody else’s projects, I suppose. I walk over to Kenzy.
“Should we get changed now?” I ask.
“Yeah, we’re on third,” she replies. So we scuttle out of the room as Unj, Jynne and Rasah are setting up their project. We get dressed, talking about random things like what snorkel bits are and how Neopia was created. We get back just as Unj starts up his part in their presentation. Everybody turns to look at the strange starry Acara and orange Zafara who are now dressed in even stranger and ancient frocks. I feel uncomfortable, but live it down as Rasah finishes up. Jez, Nai and Yoltra are up next with the topic of Sloth’s trail after his unsuccessful attempt to take over Neopia in Y1. They finish and Kenzy’s group is up.
She, Fejf and Miek walk up to the front and I start to go with them, but Kenzy makes movements telling me NOT to go up. I frown, but sit back down. They go through the hats and coats (oh my, Fejf is so funny! Truly missed his calling) and finally get to my dress. I start to stand up again, but Kenzy flags me to stay down. I scowl there for two minutes while they talk about how popular my dress ‘is’. Eventually Kenzy says something about ‘And here in the studio today we have the marvelous designer herself modeling the dress’ and I finally get my chance to go up front. I smile, wave and titter to the less than amused audience while Kenzy reads off the characteristics of my dress. At the end, she says thank you to me, and I start to reply when Fejf steamrolls over me and announces the end of the show.
Glowering at him, I sit down and applaud when they’re done. Those three presentations took an hour and a half, the length of class, and so Mr. Park tells us to be good, be safe, be careful and make good choices. Then he opens the door in time with the bell and we clamor out into rush hour traffic.
After quickly changing back, Kenzy and I make our way to my locker while laughing about nothing. Getting there, I start opening my lock and Kenzy says good-bye; she has to get home by 2:30 PM NST. Just then I notice Kit coming with my green Gelert friend trailing behind her, begging for something or other. Kit puts her paw on her lock and turns it to the number 12. Paws then comes bounding over to me.
“Aroo... I’m sooo mad!”
“Why?” I smile, packing my bag at the same time.
“I got a 95 on my English essay!”
I smile and shake my head at her.
“Paws, a 95 is very, VERY good.”
“No it’s not!! Now I’ll get an A- in English!”
“Oh, horrors, an A-!” I feign.
“It’s her Shenkuu heritage. She always seems to be ‘Shenkuuian failing’ her assignments,” Kit put in. It’s true that Paws was born in Shenkuu and moved here to Neopia Central in the third grade. It’s also true that Shenkuuians seem to absolutely be the best at everything. In the last AC cup, they may have gotten third and partied about it, but every pet was upset that the team didn’t live up to standards and get the first place. Too bad. Paws sticks her tongue out at Kit.
“Come on, you two. Our sibs are probably about to send out a search team for us!” I laugh.
We stroll out the front doors and to our usual meeting spot near the courtyard trees. My siblings, Shynti, Shyntono and HB, who’s a Darigan Yurble these days, are sitting on the ground talking about their days. Kit’s brothers and sister, Scrappy, Dragon and Guilty, respectively, are chattering about who gets to wear what shirt next. Paws’ brother and sister Lukey and Chippy are lying down on the grass, staring at the clouds. Paws goes into pounce mode while Kit and I look like respectable pets and calmly amble over to our siblings.
I hear a loud “YEEEEEOOOOWWWW!!!!!” as Kit questions HB on how the ray is going and I make my way over to the magma Eyrie and baby Lupe. I ask Dragon what he did in Science today, but don't really hear the response. I'm too busy looking over at the apple tree. Demion and his crowd gather there for a few minutes after school every day. For the third or fourth time that day I wish that I still had the charisma I had in pre-neoschool, for then I would be with him. Of course, then I wouldn’t love my current friends...
"Tila? You okay?" Dragon asks me curiously. I stare at him blankly.
"Yes, fine, of course. What were you saying?" Curses. Dragon always was extra keen about my feelings, even when painted baby. We chit-chat for a while, then turn back to our respective best of friends, just having so much fun together. This continues until everyone has left except Kit and sibs. Scrappy and HB, Guilty and Shynti, Dragon and Shyntono and Kit and I are the pairs left.
“Say, Kit,” I start, “do you know how to write an equation for a circle? Ms. Yasey never really did tell us...”
“Simple. X squared plus y squared equals r squared, assuming the center is the origin.”
I roll my eyes.
“DUH.” Then the light dawns on my marble head.
“Ohhhh... I was assuming it was a y equals. It doesn’t HAVE TO be! Thank you, Kit.” I blink at her gratefully but she doesn’t smile back.
“Sorry,” she whispers under her breath.
“You know... oh, never mind.”
“Come on, Kit, wh-”
“YOU KNEW!” she asserts.
“I... oh, the equation? Yes, but I didn’t realize it was the actual answer! I thanked you, remember?!”
“Yes, but...” She stops. “I need to go.”
She picks up her bag and drags her siblings away from mine. I know she’ll forget about it by tomorrow, but...
“What was that all about?” Shynti asks, coming over to me.
“Nothing,” I mumble.
She looks at me hard.
“Well... if you say so,” she says at last, then gallops out in front of me to lead the way home. The Yurble and Lupe scramble up and scurry after the beautiful island Uni.
I sigh and drag behind.
I look over at the apple tree, hoping against hope.
He isn’t there.
Exiled out of that world, yet still living in it, I continue putting one paw in front of the other. Tomorrow, I know, I’ll have another chance. And tomorrow, I know, is today.
Yep, a typical day at school. Don't worry; Shyntila's just being philosphical. She's not really that upset.