Inhaling deeply, I looked up at the seven story building with a slight grin. It isn’t the first time I’ve stared up at each floor but this marks the last time it will be the first time.
Seems like it was just yesterday I set foot on the property for freshman year, scared out of my mind knowing not a soul that walked the halls but at the same time had a sense of rejuvenation about all its possibilities.
Each floor was designated for every student’s corresponding year. The first two were for freshman and sophomores while floors three and four were for junior and seniors. The sixth floor housed the freshman and sophomore class gym while the top floor was the gym for junior and seniors.
The fifth floor was mutual ground- the cafeteria.
Fresh faces walked up to the intimidating tall front doors, apprehensive about walking in. I know the feeling, man. Just take it a day at a time. That’s all you can do in high school.
A benefit to it being my senior year is having the security guards know who I am. Sergeant Rivera waved me in as he quickly prepped the walk-in metal detector. No beeps, so he waved me by. Kids who did beep had to wait on a line to be manually scanned. Freshman year was the only time I ever beeped. They’ll learn soon enough.
Crowds of students of different sizes passed through the hall while staring down at a piece of paper- class schedules. Having studied mine the week before- another benefit to being a senior was receiving it early- I proceeded to the elevator with a sign that said Senior Use Only.
Ten other students boarded along with me. I knew them all but only by association. They knew me as last years Varsity Champ for the school’s baseball team. To them I was a rock star. I hated all the attention. It felt fake, much like the so-called crushes the female student body brags about having on me.
Home Room was the last door down the hall, opposite the women’s bathroom. As I approached the door two senior girls cooed and waved.
“Hi Chase. Mr. Martinez isn’t here yet.” Sonia said.
I knew her from having the majority of the same sophomore classes. She also made a name for herself by getting three of the male teachers fired for sexual harassment, which came to light in a newspaper article that made the front page of the school’s paper. She’s now the chief editor of said paper.
“Anyone say what time he’ll be in? Today’s a short day and I already can’t wait for it to end.” I asked, looking to Sonia and then at her friend Jenn.
“Midtown traffic’s a bitch this morning. I almost didn’t think I’d get here.” Sonia said.
“Must be nice having a driver.” I said, and walked into the empty classroom taking a seat in the back row near the middle.
The student body at Wentworth High School consists of trust fund babies, with the exception of about 1% being scholarship kids. I happen to fall within that 1%. Lucky for me I have the appearance and air, whatever that means, of the former. Must have picked it up from the couple who adopted me at age nine.
I still feel like a little boy living with his drug addict mother, however. There’s nothing special about me. I’m just good at school and happen to be left-handed with an above average fastball. To me it’s above average. To Coach Tilden it’s the best one he’s seen in fifteen years. No wonder he’s helping me get a scholarship to play college ball.
I still don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life, much like the rest of my friends. I mean, how can you expect a kid to make such a hasty decision and not regret it one day? Least me and the rest of my classmates have that in common.
Mr. Martinez came in five minutes after the bell rang to a full classroom. Conversations ceased as he took a seat without removing his tweed blazer. “I’ll take attendance now. After you’ve heard your name you may leave the class.”
My name was called fifth and as instructed, I gathered my things and left. A minute later a voice called from down the hall, female. Upon turning I discovered it to be Denise Maxwell.
“Hey star.” She cooed like the rest of the female student body. That had become a sort of nick name for me last year.
“Oh. Hey Denise.”
“You don’t sound too thrilled to see me.” She said in a tone with mock sadness.
“Tired is all. How’s your schedule looking this year?”
“Five classes, three of them AP.”
“Congratulations. I only have one- history.”
“Me too. With Merrit?
“Looks like we’ll be classmates again.”
“So it seems.”
Denise smiled in a way that suggested anything but this being friendly conversation. No thanks, Denise.
“Well, see ya in class.” I said and before she could respond I headed for the nearest staircase to wait for the bell to ring while escaping further flirtation.