My new best friend with the beads in her hair is still back there. She started this new game a little while ago where she hums some song really, really softly and then slowly gets louder and louder. The farther away you are from her, the longer it takes until the volume increases to where you can hear her. As soon as the teacher reacts to the sound, she stops. Then she waits a while and then starts all over again.
This is the third time she’s done it, and I’m just starting to pick up a little tune that’s very similar to a very “empowering” Avril Lavigne song about how she didn’t give it up to whatever mean boy she’s just been dumped by. Or that she’s dumped. Whatever. It can’t be easy being an angry hot girl.
Anyway, my friend’s humming and she’s humming and she’s … ah! Just stopped. The teacher’s been staring at us for almost two minutes, trying to figure out who’s messing with her. My new best friend’s beads make not a sound. She’s awesome.
The other notable person in the room is this weird nerdy guy sitting right up front. I can’t tell what kind of identity he’s going for. He wants to be a punk, but he wants to be hip-hop too. In truth he’s neither. He has really scraggly long hair and huge glasses and the kind of extremely unfortunate acne that hits some kids superhard once their hormones start messing with them. I think he’s trying on different things to see where he fits. I’m sure he’s not done trying yet.
He tried to sit in the back of the room at first, but we all got rearranged as soon as the bell rang, and it was his dumb luck to get put in the very front. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s always the kind of luck he has, dumb and unfortunate.
I don’t mean that in a mean way. That’s just the impression he gives. Like the way his whole body has an uncomfortable, burdened look. His shoulders are hunched over like he has a huge weight across them. And he sits so awkwardly that it makes you think he’s never sat any way that wasn’t awkward. He’s all sprawled out, slouched way down in his seat to where his butt’s almost completely off the desk and he’s practically sitting on his back.
He’s wearing dirty, torn jeans and a cheap, oversized sports jacket, the kind of jacket a young b-boy might get if he asked his grandparents for it for Christmas. It has some brand name sprawled across it in hard-to-read lettering, and that’s because it’s supposed to look like a name you’ve heard of, but it really isn’t. There’s something very thin and vinyl and bargain-store about the jacket. Plus, it’s dirty enough that you can tell he wears it all the time.
I don’t think the guy’s done any homework the whole time we’ve been in here. He just sits there and draws pictures that look kind of like his best pen-and-ink renderings of acid trips. There’s so much ink on the pages of his notebook that the paper’s kind of crinkly and heavy. And he’s got these smears of blue ballpoint pen ink on the sides of his hands from where they’ve rubbed the pictures while he’s painstakingly coloring in all the blobs and explosions he’s drawing. But he hasn’t stopped drawing for even a second unless he’s been shaking down the ink in his pen or turning a page. He just draws and draws. Maybe that’s the way the world looks to him. Who am I to say he’s wrong?