September 22, 1999
So I'm officially a freshman now, along with 359 other confused and deranged teenagers in a school full of power-hungry narcissists. For the most part, everything I had heard about high school has proven to be true. There is a strict hierarchy within the system; more specifically, I'm the epitome of your average freshman ("fresh meat") Not only does this class system favor the careless and empty-minded athletes and preps, it completely ignores and isolates anyone and anything that doesn't fit into the status quo. I've never paid much attention to the broken system in our public systems (it would just add unnecessary stress and pain to my already damaged brain), so there wasn't an adjustment to make when entering high school. Maybe it was my false sense of hope and security that things would be different when I entered a new and unknown terrain…or maybe I was so wrapped up in the possibility of running away from several of my demons that I was so delusional and hopeful for a temporary haven.
My day wasn't completely bitter, thankfully. I'm settling easily into English composition; I've already went ahead and finished the necessary summer readings and started peeking into the course syllabus for the rest of the semester. If you ignore the amount of patronizing stares and whispers exchanged from around the room (it looked more like a cheesy round of the game 'telephone' more than anything, to be honest), English was quite relaxing to say the least. My teacher seems like a nice man (or at least one that actually cares about the curriculum, his reading list is pretty impressive) but I was surprised to see how thick the syllabus was. Most of the content covered in the syllabus consisted of our readings and assignments for the entire quarter. You can tell several things about a person based on the way they set up their syllabus.
Take my woodshop instructor for example; his syllabus barely passed for a syllabus. I almost mistook it for the table benches because of how much wood dust it was already collecting on top of it. His syllabus was straight forward and concise. In 200 words or less, his contact information, office hours, and his rules for passing the class barely covered half of the page. The remainder of the page was reserved for a cheesy drawing of a woodpecker wearing safety goggles and a backwards hat. I guess that was his way of trying to connect with the kids or something. Regardless, the man was monotone and too occupied with trying to take attendance that he failed to notice several of his students carving profanity on the wooden tables in the back of the classroom.
I don't know how I feel about the class. I'm not a big fan of big noises or things that can cause me to lose a finger or two (I'd like to keep as many of my fingers intact because my foot and eye coordination will never be impressive enough to learn how to write without fingers) but my doubts were replaced with small glimpses of hope when a young boy with curly black hair walked lazily into class. He was carrying a few heavy textbooks, chem and pre-calc, I think. He didn't look like he wanted to be here, but here he was anyways. Never had I seen a human being so despised to be in a classroom as much as he was. Whatever happened to him prior to class must have really took a pit on him because he brought a storm cloud with him into the classroom. It wasn't until I saw the teacher connect eyes with the boy that I realized the situation between the two; boy fails class, teacher sees boy again, boy hates teacher, and teacher shares equal hatred towards the boy. For whatever reason it was, I felt like I knew Patrick from somewhere. He was familiar, and for a brief second that he strayed away from glaring at the teacher, he looked over towards my direction and flashed a sympathetic smile. It was a smile that I recognized from a while back. It reminded me of my old best friend, Michael. Michael used to smile at me with his goofy smile of his. Even if the sky would flip upside down and cause terror and confusion in the world, Michael would continue to smile that goofy smile and tell me the sky will smile too. I hadn't seen that smile since he…left. Even until the very last moments with him, he was smiling before the sky turned my world upside down. For the remainder of the class, I just stared at the pitiful conversations exchanged between Patrick and the teacher, but deep down, I wish Michael could have been there to meet Patrick. I think they would've gotten along well. I miss him. I miss Aunt Helen, too. Will you smile like Michael, for me?