Mr. Glover’s class alway smells vaguely of Pine-Sol and mayonnaise. I don’t really know why this is important, but it is. I sling my backpack straps on the backboard of my chair and slowly sit down, trying to let the anxiety I felt in the hall dissipate. It’s sort of hard though, it was louder than usual today. It didn’t help that Melody just had to come and talk to me. Like, what did I even say? A caste system, Lu? Really, you had to use that clusterfuck of words to describe the school.
I wasn’t wrong. But still, nerd much? Give me a break. Melody’s sitting behind me, leaned back in her seat, feet up on the desk. She has a mechanical pencil sitting lazily between her perfectly manicured index and middle fingers, like a cigarette. The little grin she once wore has tired into a little frown. I really don’t blame her. There’s no life in this place, and there’s also not a lot in the people that go here. It’s like we all shut off for eight hours and spring back to life once that final bell rings.
Class starts, and Mr. Glover shuffles on in like a lazy wind up toy, his lesson plan binder is held tight between his spindly, knobbly thin arms. His wispy mullet and receding hairline is on full display underneath the spotlights that are scattered on the ceiling. His tie has a mustard stain on it, and his beard has bits of crumbs in it. Another Jimmy Dean’s for breakfast, probably. I don’t wanna be mean, but he’s sort of the human representation of a bad divorce. The low buzz of chatter dies down once he plops down at his desk. He says nothing for a second, bends down and..just falls asleep.
I forgot to mention he has narcolepsy. His snores were a source of quiet celebration as the cliques rejoined by carefully pushing their desks together. Melody looks at me like a confused puppy who got lost in the tangle of the pack. I grin and shrug.
“I guess class isn’t happening this time around. Consider it a free period.” I told her. It’s sorta the truth. I pull my phone from my sweatshirt pocket and grab my earbuds from the side pocket of my backpack and pull up the Hamilton soundtrack because I just need Lin-Manuel to get through the day sometimes. Melody’s eyes widened. She pointed to my screen and bit her bottom lip. “You like it, too?” She let out a little squeal when I turned down the volume and nodded. She grabs her backpack and sets it on her lap, facing the front towards me so I can see a little enamel pin in the shape of the star. You know, the star.
This girl just keeps on getting better and better.
“The Cabinet Battles rule,” I feel my chest puff out a little when I say that. I have to stand my ground somehow.
She makes a face. “Yeah, but what about ‘Burn’?”
“Yeah, that’s a little too dramatic for my tastes.” I feel my lip curl down a little bit. “But it’s still really pretty, I guess.”
She cups her chin in her hands and looks up at me through her long, strawberry blond lashes. “It’s my favorite,” She whines a little bit. “I wonder if Eliza actually burned those letters though. I know I would if my boyfriend did that to me.”
“Oh?” I ask. “Boyfriend, huh?”
“Oh, no. I’ve never had one.” Melody blushes a little-I can see it tinting her cheeks. “But..it’s nice to think about, right?”
Sure. I mean, a lot of the guys I think about are fictional Japanese characters, but I wasn’t about to tell her that. So I just let out a little ‘mm-hmm’ and force yet another grin.
We end up listening to the soundtrack together on shuffle with my earbuds. We lip-sync to the highs and the lows. And ‘My Shot’, of course. That’s a given. Class ends and we all try to leave at once like the brain-dead kids we are. Through the struggle, Melody slips a neatly folded up sheet in my hand and gives me a little wave. As I’m about to open it up, my phone buzzes.
A notification-huh, don’t get a lot of those. Except for YouTube.
But this time, it’s a text.
Meet me outside once school ends. I found this really cool place to hang out. You probably already know about it though. -Melody. I quickly save her number and make a new contact as quickly as possible. I just call her ‘M’.
It’s mysterious, and whimsical. Like I think she is, I guess.