First Day

Maya Rizk (Tucson, AZ)

Another first day. At least we’re not freshman. Jon is walking next to me warily, like everyone is judging us already. I’ve only been away from high school for a summer, what could have changed so much? He’s never cared about what people thought or what they could have been thinking “I need to go fix my schedule; I’ll see you in 1st.” I say. He nods his head in response.
I take a look at my schedule for comfort, attempting to delay the impending loss of direction. No matter how much time I spend at this school I always get lost at least once or twice a semester. I think have a pretty good idea of where I’m headed; I just wish that I had a big group of friends around me right now. It makes everyone look a little smaller in comparison. First, I need to go to the front office to make a change in my schedule. Where the hell am I? I totally forgot which office to go into—“Hey.”
Who is she? “Hi” is most similar to the syllable that falls out of my mouth. She has a mocha-like complexion and some sort of a hybrid body of a hot Brazilian warrior and a supermodel.
“Are you lost?” says the mystery girl.
Please close your mouth, and for god’s sake be charming.
“Most of the time.” I say with a smile. Her eyes are like an auburn sun.She chuckles, “Well, if you’re looking for the counselors’ office to change your schedule, I would follow the mile-long line of freshman coming out of that office with the really big sign that says COUNSELORS”.
“Gotcha, what’s your name, mystery girl?”
“Vivian, but my friends call me Viv. And yours?”
“Eryn. Does that mean that I have to earn the right to call you Viv?”
“Flirting with an upperclassman, are we?”
She’s good.
I laugh, “Sorry, I know it can weird some people out when a girl flirts with another girl.”
“It’s fine, it’s flattering” she says with a slightly sheepish smile.
The bell ringing is what it takes for me to stop staring at those striking auburn eyes.
“Oh, I’d better go.” she says.
“Y-Yeah, thanks for the help!” I call to her back. Then I head to English.

Jon sits next to me in first period, “Hiya” is all I can offer when he shuffles through the door with summer all over his tired face. He grunts a response that I translate as a “Hi”. As hard as I will always try to obliterate that sour disposition of his, I never will. Not that I really need to, he’s nice to his friends, he just hates the world around him. I’ve never figured out why.

I entreat our new teacher to hold off on giving us reading homework on the first day of sophomore year. All she does is argue that we will have work that is so much worse than reading in the coming weeks. Yay. We are reading Romeo & Juliet for the first quarter; I’ve always loved the story, besides the fact that it’s a cautionary tale. Sadly, most of the people in class are complete fools that don’t know how to answer a question as simple as “Where does the story take place?”
The whole period, I can’t stop thinking about Vivian. I try to not to think about her, but I just can’t help but let thoughts of her manifest in my head for the better part of the day.

OH. MY. GOD. She’s in my 7th.
Wow, she must be a junior. She catches my eye while waving and chuckling with surprise, “Hey Eryn!”
I smile, “Hey!”
Our science teacher calms the class down as everyone finds a seat; I sit next to Vivian. “We will be doing a lab tomorrow and you will all have to complete a formal lab report on it afterwards.” {Insert a symphony of groans here}, “it’s our first day!” He adds in a conciliatory tone, “but they will be due next week.” We all sigh in relief and cease our zealous badgering.
“What are the odds?” She asks playfully.
I smile and say with a chuckle, “Are you well?”
“I am now” she says with a wink. “And yourself?”
The class is rowdy enough to distract us: Viv and I start talking to friends from last year, Dany & Darren. Dany is one of the coolest chicks I’ve ever known; she is beautiful, smart and has an acumen that could make scholars stutter. Darren on the other hand is an idiot like no other, but he means well and tries his best even when he knows no one is watching. They are in love somehow, despite the fact that they are always bickering. They seem to be at an armistice at the moment, though.
It is unusually quiet.

“Hey Eryn! How was your summer?” says Dany.
“It was really awesome, how was you guys’ summer?”
“Hot. We went to the Gobi desert for a week.” Darren replies.
“Oh, so your whole summer is thrown away just because you were slightly uncomfortable for a week?” Dany stabs.
I roll my eyes. That didn’t last long.
The teacher gets our attention, “Class! I want you guys to do the bookwork for the first chapter; due tomorrow.”
“So, do you like your classes so far, Eryn?” Vivian asks.
“Yeah, they’re all great, especially this one. I think I’ll have a new reason to look forward it now besides the fascinating lifespan of a star.” Did that even make sense?
She giggles, “Wow, you don’t give up, do you?”
I lift my shoulders and hands and shrug and smile because I can’t think of a witty retort.

Once the bell rings, she lets me walk her out while we chat and joke. No matter how many times I make a fool of myself throughout all of our conversations, Viv continues to give me her attention and never fails to smile like an angel. Sometimes I fear that all my confidence is just a façade that anyone can see through. She does see through it, but, she doesn’t judge me for putting on that type of mask. She simply treats me like she’s known me for years, ignoring the act that everyone else sees. Somehow, she manages to talk to me, not the mask.
Once we reach the parking lot, I say,
“Well, see you around?”
As I’m about to walk away, she stops me and gives me a light kiss on my cheek while slipping me a piece of paper, with her number on it.
She then gets in her car, drives away, and leaves me smiling.

About 4 years later…

Another first day. High school truly goes by as fast as they say. I am definitely not in Kansas anymore. It’s hard to believe that I’m starting my sophomore year of college. I might as well walk to see if I can find my elusive first period. I decide to get a coffee before braving the grumpy professors and hung-over students. The coffee here is pretty terrible, but it helps to have a jumpstart no matter how much it resembles swill. As I’m coming out of the Café, I start looking around, trying to remember where I parked my car when I feel someone’s unmistakable auburn eyes on me.
“Are you lost?” she says.
I turn around, smiling at her, “Most of the time.”