I sighed. Another hari of school… when will it ever end? I mean, when anda graduate, anda go to college and when anda graduate from college, all anda do for the rest of your life is work to earn money and then spend it on things anda didn’t even really need. Ugh.
Well, not me. I’m taking off as soon as I’m done with college. I don’t care what my parents think of me. I’m going to start a garage. Hah. I bet that surprised you? Well, I’m not exactly one of the average materialistic teenage valley girls that dominate your high school. I’m just me and that’s all I’ll ever be. I won’t change myself for anything atau anyone. Ever.
Okay, sorry about that. I know my exterior seems kind of die-hard but I’m a nice person. I think. Except for that one time in fourth grade when I pushed Susan Burdock into a puddle of mud because she cut off my ponytail in the woods on a Geography field trip. She deserved it too. Hah, anda should have seen her little blonde head spluttering in the mud, with my ponytail and a pair of scissors still clutched in her perfectly manicured hands. I laughed until I cried at that. I got a suspension, too, but it was worth it.
I shook myself from my reverie and swung my legs out of bed. The cold morning air hit me and I gasped. I always slept with the window open, but it froze last night. I brushed the windowsill with my fingertip, and I felt the crackle of the thin layer of ice that scraped away from the shiny white layer of paint. It melted immediately and I licked the glistening droplet of water from my finger before it fell off.
Running my fingers through my red-gold hair, I separated the messy curls that covered my head in the shaggy mane of sleep into smooth waves which I gently fluffed around my face. Not sparing my appearance another glance, I grabbed a pair of comfortable tan cargo-pants and a plain black tee-shirt. I dressed and went downstairs for breakfast.
Reaching the bottom of the stairs, a familiar foul stench slammed into my olfactory glands. Oh god, dad’s been drinking again. I don’t know why he does it! Whenever he takes so much as a sip of beer, he chucks it out a few hours later and then passes out. He does it far too often too… Once atau twice a week I was met sejak this smell. It meant that I had to do everything sejak myself for the whole day. Of course I couldn’t depend on my mum to help me. She’s a schizophrenic that’s been locked away in a mental facility. I get to see her once every few months. If I’m lucky, she’ll remember my name. She never remembers my baby sister’s name though. She was taken away from her right after she was born. My mother was the reason why my dad was a drunkard. I was mostly left to fend for myself and my sister.
Ah, there it was; the ominous dark stain of vomit on the carpet. I sighed as I sprayed some carpet cleaner onto it and scrubbed it with a towel. Not that it did much good, the whole house smelled of it now because of the many times this had happened over the last few years. Once, two years ago, I tried stealing my dad’s entire alcohol collection and emptying them down the sink. It wasn’t pretty. The bruises didn’t fade for a bulan and my classmates laughed and bullied me for it. That’s when Burdock decided to play a prank on me and cut off my hair, which was the only thing I could feel proud of. Now that it’s gaun out again, it hangs to my waist in a red-gold glory of smooth curls and waves. I kept it all in one length, though it curled lebih in the front than the back, giving my face some shape, which it sorely lacks.
I’m tall and slim with long skinny arms and legs. I don’t give much about my appearance, as long as it doesn’t hinder me in my swimming. My friend says I swim like a dolphin, hardly making a splash as I slide through the water. Swimming was my only release from the daily pains of my life. Swimming, cars, and my baby sister Natalie.
I poured myself a bowl of cereal and chewed pensively while staring out of the window onto the bleak streets of a rainy hari in Seattle. I Shouldered my backpack and swaddled Natalie in her winter clothes before dropping her off at the babysitter’s apartment down the street. I planted a Ciuman on her little nose before handing her to kind old lady who ran the community’s little day-care centre.
I arrived at school in the usual flurry of books, bags and a crowd of loud squirming bodies. I made my way to my locker which was painted an awful shade of orange. The locker seterusnya to me belonged to my best and only friend, Martin. Martin was an Emo sejak name, but not sejak nature. He berkata that the reason he dressed that way was to keep people away from him. When I asked him why, he just shrugged and said, ‘just because not everyone in this world is as nice as anda are,’ winking slyly at me over his tray of cafeteria mush. People had always assumed that we were dating. No matter how much we told them that we were just friends, they never believed us. Soon, we were known as the ‘nemos’ which was our high school slang for ‘lost emo/nerds’. Like the little fishy. Ha. Ha. Not.
I didn’t really care what people thought of me. They were all losers anyway. All the girls looked the same with their straight bleached blonde hair, cakey black mascara, neon merah jambu fingernails, and merah jambu bubble gum which seemed perpetually present in their gabby mouths. Martin was the only friend I needed. He was like a force of nature when anda really got to know him well enough to see past the black hair and skinny jeans. He could always make me laugh when I had a bad hari and he could always comfort me when I ran to his apartment, crying my eyes out about one thing atau another. We tried dating once, just for the sake of trying it out. It didn’t feel any different than when we were just friends, so we eventually forgot about it and the status dissolved between us as it had never existed.
I smiled widely when I felt a pair of hand muss up my hair from behind me. “MARTIN!” I squealed loudly, “don’t mess up my hair!”
Martin laughed loudly and tried to pat it down again clumsily. “Sorry, sorry. Sheesh Liz, anda treat that hair as if it was made of pure emas atau something.” He snorted.
“Yeah, well, it’s the only thing that’s even remotely pretty about me so I’d like to preserve it, thanks.” I rolled my eyes at him and entered the combination to unlock his locker so he could put his backpack away.
“Humph, you’re not ugly,” he retorted with a grunt as he shoved in his backpack, “You’re just not a supermodel, is all.”
“Whatever. What’s our first class?”
He grinned widely. “Sport, that’s what!”
I smiled back at him. Me and Martin loved sports of any kind and he was the only person that would even come anywhere close to beating me in anything so we were always paired up as partners in class. “Awesome,” I said, grabbing my sports clothes and tying my hair up in a ponytail.
Martin put his arm around my shoulders and we made our way through the milling students toward the Gym. As we entered, Coach McKenzie called over to me to give the class a demonstration on the proper techniques of warm-up stretching. I left Martin’s side and joined the teacher to guide the class through a series of movements to get their muscles ready for the arduous training that was in store for us.
Coach McKenzie was a large man. As in large in three dimensions; he was tall, fat, and wide all at the same time. It surprised me how he ever became a sport teacher in the first place.
We finished our exercises and started jogging around the gym. Martin joined me and we happily started our little competition of who could outrun the other. I won, to Martin’s exaggerated disappointment. He pushed out his bottom lip at me as I collapsed on the floor, panting. “You know, I’m going to get anda back for this…” he grumbled at me.
I laughed, “As long as anda don’t put masam cream in my yoghurt again, I’m fine.”
“Oh god, not again!” I groaned.
He waggled his eyebrows at me and grinned. “Nah, just pulling your leg. Say, do anda wanna meet me at the park this weekend? We can go and do some ‘artwork’ if anda like.”
‘Artwork’ was our little code word for graffiti. Martin and I had vandalized almost every square centimetre of the side a Rawak apartment complex and our masterpiece was almost finished. It was a painting menunjukkan a rather bloody fight between a huge hairy werewolf and an emo-looking Dracula who looked a lot like Martin. The serigala, wolf was my idea. Serigala had always been my favourite animal and I was fascinated sejak the legends behind them. I had posters of Serigala plastered all over the walls in my bedroom.
“Yeah, sounds great!” I called back as McKenzie blew his whistle, signalling the start of a bola keranjang game.
I happily skipped to the showers, still on a high from the endorphins that were pumping through my veins. The pancuran, pancuran mandian was lovely and cool and I exhaled deeply as the cool water dripped over my scalp and ran down my shoulders, relaxing every muscle in my body. I soaped my body and rinsed myself off. Grabbing my towel and wringing out my hair, my thoughts wandered to my little sister. I wonder what she is doing now? I thought to myself
I sighed and pulled on a plain pleated red skirt and a white singlet. I stepped out of the pancuran, pancuran mandian and started scrubbing my scalp with my towel and brushing through the wet locks with my fingertips.
Lunch was just like it always was. Martin and I loaded up our trays with disgusting cafeteria slop and went to sit at our own little table. "So," Martin said, "how is your dad doing?”
I grimaced. "Not good. He threw up all over the carpet again last night."
"Oh." was all that Martin berkata in reply. He didn't need to say more. His face expressed the disapproval he felt toward my father and the pity he felt on my behalf.
I finished picking through the unidentifiable lumps of 'food' on my plate without eating anything and I got up to empty my tray. Martin got up too and jogged a few steps to catch up with my long strides. I didn't like talking about my parents.
Without a word, Martin and I left the cafeteria and went outside into the school yard where the football team was having a meeting. Martin looked wistfully at them and then turned away, following me to our usual little spot under the trees where we spent every lunch break. Martin had tried out for the football team almost every year, and each time they didn't let him join. Not because he wasn't any good, but because the team captain, Harvy Graeme, didn't want a 'nemo' messing up his team.
We engaged each other in quiet conversation until the loceng rang and we went back inside to our seterusnya class. The rest of the hari progressed in the same fashion and I whooped when the loceng finally rang, signalling the end of the hari and the beginning of the weekend.
"Movie night tonight?" Martin asked me. Friday movie night was our long-time tradition.
"Yeah, sure I'll be over at seven! See ya!" I chirped and hugged him around the waist. He patted my shoulder affectionately and removed his bag from his locker.
"Seven." He agreed, grinning at me.