Hello, my interweb friends.
This week, I’ve been working on a new idea for a YA book that’s loosely based on my own (rather traumatic) High School experiences. Here is an excerpt of a true story from my pre-pubescent journal. You tell me if you think it would make a good story or not.
The Freshmen Freeze Out: Part 1
Will Rogers once said, “Everything is funny, as long as it’s happening to someone else.” This has always been true in my experience. As long as I’m not the one who is getting mercilessly beaten by life’s bully, the world seems like a wonderful place, full of cookies and jump rope. Unfortunately for me, I have often found myself to be the one who life decides to give a wedgie in front of everyone in the cafeteria. One such occurrence that stands out in my memory as being particularly horrendous took place during my first week of High School.
I walked down the hallway, struggling my way against the current in a stream of loudly chatting human bodies. Everything was so much bigger here. The air pulsed with noise and excitement. Former grade-schoolers wandered around helplessly, wondering what to do with themselves, while the older, more experienced students strode confidently toward their classes. I was a buoy. A sheep in a herd of cattle. I didn’t know what I was doing or where I belonged. The feeling of helplessness was unbearable. Then, I spotted my friends walking down the hall. “Ashley!” I called. “Brianne! Amanda! Kristine!” I was overjoyed to see them, and they had come not a moment too soon. I called to them again, and they slowed to a halt, one by one turning to meet me.
My best friend, Ashley, the five foot eight goddess who was fifteen but looked twenty, raised an eyebrow and flashed me her annoyed look. “Where have you been?” She demanded tersely. “I had a hard time getting past all the people in the halls.” I quickly explained, eager to assure them that my lateness was unintentional. “I would’ve been able to find you sooner, if all these human sacrifices hadn’t been in the way. The teachers must be getting hungrier.” I added, trying to lighten the situation with a joke, as I usually did.
To my surprise, this time none of my friends laughed at my slightly twisted sense of humor. I tried to pretend I didn’t care, and suggested that we all go to find our classes together. Moving down the hall once more, this time a part of a tightly knit group, I began to take a more thorough look around. One thing that I immediately noticed was how “in place” everyone looked. They all seemed to have come pre-packaged, with their own little group of friends included. Their clothing even looked as if it had been coordinated to identify which group they belonged in. It was like a commercial: “Barbie and Friends go to High School.” Looking down at my own clothes, I wished I had called my friends ahead of time and planned what to wear. My friend Brianne obviously had no problems. She looked like she had just stepped out of a sports wear magazine. Always the athletic one, she brimmed with confidence. Kristine and Amanda had also done their best to outdo each other that day. Looking at our group, it was probably obvious that we were all trying too hard. But fitting in was a part of life. And if you had cool friends, you were always better off.
We had all been best friends since 5th grade, and we were absolutely inseparable. No matter what happened or how unsure I was of everything else in my life, I knew we would always be part of a package. And that was all that mattered.