How many years has it been since my mother died? How many years has it been since my brother got arrested for selling illegal drugs? How many years has it been since my father committed suicide? Why did my life go all wrong? How have I gotten to the point where I can barely remember my own name? I don't have any friends, no friends at all. None, nothing, zero. I'm an orphan, and all the friends I ever had ditched me and made fun of me when my other died. They don't even remember the letter my name starts with. The orphanage that I live at is horrible. You can't sing, have fun, the only thing you're allowed to have is a family heirloom from your parents.
"Dania! Wake up!" Mrs. Gregom calls to me. I pull the covers off my head and hit the snooze button on my alarm clock. I grab the fifty generation old charm bracelet from my side table and clasp the bracelet around my right wrist. I jump out of the bed and go downstairs to the shower room. The orphanage worker always lays out our outfits for today. I go down to my drawer and pull it out. A gray v-neck t-shirt, blue jean capris and a pair of flip-flops. I sigh and take the outfit out. I walk over to the shower and wash my hair with the special shampoo that we all have to use. Mrs. Gregom says she won't go around with a bunch of little overweight hethans who don't have shiny long hair pulled back in some sort of pigtails. We basically have a dress code.
After I've changed into my clothes I head down the hall for oatmeal and blueberries like we have every morning. The only time we ever get pancakes is on Christmas, and we don't even get syrup on them. She won't let anyone here get over one-hundred fifty pounds, and that's only depending on your heigth. I weigh only one-hundred pounds and I'm five foot three. I'm also the oldest girl at the orphanage at fourteen. It's spring here, and extremely hot, we do live in Florida.
"Can you pass the blueberries, Sammy?" I ask the little five-year old whose parents put her up for adoption because they didn't even want a child.
"Sure, Dania." She says quietly. She hands me the blueberries and I sprinkle five on my oatmeal. I take a bite of it and know the only thing giving it any sort of flavor is the blueberries. I barely even like them anyways. Mrs. Gregom comes over and sits a paper bag labeled with my name in front of me. She never lets us eat the school food, it'll only make us gain weight is what she says. She always puts in a cheese sandwich on whole wheat, two strawberries, and a cake that is usually weight watchers or something.
I pull my hair back in two little pigtails over my shoulders and grab the lunch. I walk out to the bus stop and wait for the worst part of my day to begin. The bus numbered thirty-four drives up and the doors pop open. I sling my backpack over my shoulder and walk up the steps to the bus. I sit down on the window seat next to boy whose name is Jonathon. He's on of the many people that like to make fun of me, but he hasn't said anything yet today. Maybe he's saving it for lunch today or something so he can make fun of me for sitting at a table all by myself. I look over at him and he's crying. And it's so weird because I've never seen a boy cry before. I've barely ever seen a boy now that I think about it.
"What's wrong?" I ask him and he looks over at me.
"My dad, he died last night of lung cancer. He smoked, and we all knew he was going any day now. He could barely move." He says and I remember my mother. She never smoked or anything, but she did die of cancer. Breast cancer killed her and it was the most unforgiving moment in the world. She had hold of my hand and tears were running down my face. She closed her eyes and died. Right in front of me. Right there.
"My mother died of breast cancer a few years ago." I tell him and he nods. I start to cry but then look out the window so he can't see me crying.
"I'm sorry I made fun of you. I know how you feel." He tells me and I turn to look at him. The bus driver starts yelling at us all to get off the bus and I jump up and run down the isle and to the steps. I walk to the front door and inside to my locker. The girl whose locker is next to mine comes over with three of her friends. They corner me in so I can't get out and one of them pins me against my locker.
"So, how's the orphanage?" One of them asks me and I look down to the ground.
"I believe she asked you a question." One of them snaps at me. I don't answer and one girl bangs my head against the locker.
"It's fine." I say, untruthfully, and I'm such a bad liar that they all know I'm lying.
"Yeah, that's what you want us to think, little brat. You're such a bad liar that you couldn't even lie to someone about liking their new shirt. Now tell us the truth and we'll go away, and the sooner the better." Another one of the trio says and I try to get out of their grasp.
"I said, it's fine." I say a little more vicously.
"Just leave her alone! What did she do to you?" A boy asks and all the three girls turn to look at him. Jonathon. I smile and blush a little, but why? Is it because he's the closest thing I even have to a friend? Is it because he's standing up for me? The smile drops from my lips, but the blush is still there.
"Oh, so you're standing up for your girlfriend, eh. Yeah, well we won't be telling anyone that." The one that pinned me against the wall tells him.
"He isn't my boyfriend." I say and she laughs. Jonathon grabs my arm and we run down the hall.
"Don't try something like that again, okay. Now what's your name?" He asks me and I smile.
"Dania." I answer and now he smiles.
"Okay then, friends?" He asks and I smile even bigger as he holds out his hand for me to shake.
"Friends." I say and shake the hand. I'm not happy his father died, but I am happy that now I have someone to talk to. That I even have a friend. That now I won't be sitting alone while people laugh at me and point at me. I'll have a friend. A friend.
I walk down the hall and back to my locker to get my science book before I get to my first period class. Science, I hate it. They tell you everything over again, and again, and again. I ace the subject, though. I walk down to my class and take a seat in the back row. If I sit back here, then I can hear if anyone makes fun of me or says somthing about me. I can't wait till fourth period so I can have lunch and talk to Jonathon. One of the girls that picked on me at my locker takes a seat next to me. I know she's been telling people that I'm dating Jonathon, but it isn't true. How could she even tell people that? She doesn't even know our names. Besides, I've been ignoring other people for a while now, and no rumor is going to get in the way of me having a friend.
"Okay class, today you have to read lesson three in chapter twenty-one." Our teacher tells us. I turn to the page in my book, and start reading about electricity. Why? I've learned this for how many years? Seven, I think. Eight if you count this year. I take a few notes in my notebook, and then the bell rings. I don't hesitate to get out of there. After all next I have special topics. I love special topics. It's so much fun. We get to do all this science experiments and stuff. That's the only scientific thing I like, science experiments. I wonder what we'll do today. I get there a little late, but I know Mr. Anthony won't care. He's the nicest teacher I've ever had.
"Sorry, I'm late." I say and take a seat in the back row. He hands each of us some plastic gloves, goggles, and a graduated cylinder. He talks to us about how some things mixed together make certain things. Today we get to come up with our own experiment, and I'm siked. I walk up to the front table and take some soap, toothpaste, and some purple foam. I walk back to my desk and see a note on it. I pick the note up and read it.
Meet me at the far left table in the complete back of the cafeteria today at lunch. -Jonathon
I smile, and put the note in my pocket. I take some of the purple foam and pour half of it in. Then I squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube and then pur a little bit of the soap in. I shake it slightly and wait for something to happen. All of a sudden the foam takes over the whole mixture and the soap makes bubbles, and the toothpaste makes it look thicker. It stops foaming, and bubbling, and thickening when it gets to the very top. I touch and it's a solid. I bring it up to Mr. Anthony and he smiles and shakes it out. I hit it off the table and nothing happens. This is cool, I made an unbreakable solid. Unbreakable, just like I thought I was before my mother died. I thought I was unbreakable, but I wasn't.
I walk out of special topics, and back to my locker to get my book for my next class. I have social studies, and it's better because they actually tell you interesting stuff, not repeatedly like science. It's kind of like a mystery book where you're skipping pages just to find out what happens next. Third period, fourty-five minutes till lunch. I am so happy. I think Jonathon might have social studies for third period, too, though. I walk down the hall to my class and sit down in the last row. I wait for Jonathon to come, but he doesn't. He must have fifth period with me, which is gym. Yay, gym. I hate it, it isn't that much fun, but since it's near the end of the year, we might do something a little more fun like dodgeball.
"Okay today you need to read chapter fourteen, lesson three, on page three-hundred seventy. I turn to the page, we're learning about the history of Florida, which is always fun. I love to learn about it's history. Right now we're learning about when the Spanish had Florida, not the United States. I read and read and take notes and take notes and then the bell rings. Lunch! I am so relieved, I run back to my locker and throw my social studies book in and grab my lunch. I run to the cafeteria and back to the back of the cafeteria with my lunch. I see Jonathon waiting for me right where he said he's be. I walk over and sit down next to him.
"What took you so long?" He asks and I laugh.
"Well for one thing, my locker is about two miles from my social studies class, and then two miles to the cafeteria." I say as I open my lunch. I was right. A cheese sandwich on whole grain, two strawberries, and some special weight watchers cake or something.
"The woman who runs the orphanage must be strict about your health." Jonathon says observing my lunch and I look at him.
"Actually she says, 'I can't let you girls go around looking like overweight hethans who don't have shiny long hair in some sort of pigtails.'" I say in my best high pitch voice and he laughs.
"Well, she isn't letting it happen anytime soon, Dania." He tells me and I laugh. I look down at my dark auburn colored hair with some natrual brown streaks in it, and notice how shiny it is. I remember my crystal clear gray eyes and laugh again.
"Yeah, besides, she tells me I need it especially, she says that it would take her the rest of her life to count all my freckles. And that I'd be lucky to even find a boy decent enough to go to spring formal with me." I say and he laughs. I wonder if I will find someone to fo to spring formal with me? I already have a dress picked out, too. A sleeveless silver one that matches my eyes exactly and a little snow white sweater to go over it.
"I'm sure there's some boy that would." He says and I push his shoulder a little.
"Are you agreeing with her?" I ask him and he nods. "Hey! At least agree with her when I'm not here!" I yell and he laughs.
I was right, we're playing dodgeball. Jonathon and I are on the same team, and I've got a few people out. I look over at him and smile. A girl on the other team throws a ball at me and I jump to the side just before it hits me. I fall. Jonathon laughs and helps me up. I pick up the ball and throw it at the girl who threw it at me and she gets out. A boy from that team throws a ball at me and it hits me right in the head, and I fall down, my hands to my head, and black out.
When I wake up I'm in the nurse's office and Jonathon is standing beside my bed. I look up at him and smile. He gets on his knees and looks me in the eyes. "That boy hit you really hard, didn't he?" Jonathon asks and I nod, which hurts a little.
"My head still hurts real bad." I say.
"Yeah, the nurse said you got a really bad bump." He says and laughs at the worry on my face. He sits down on the edge of my bed and we talk for a while.
"Mrs. Gregory, the woman who runs the orphanage is really mean." I say.
"Then how is it Mrs. Gregory?" He asks putting emphasis on the Mrs.
"She's divorced." I say and he laughs.
"Go figure." He says and I smile.
"So have you ever dated anyone?" I ask him.
"Nope. You?" He asks and I shake my head. We both laugh. How did that topic even come into my mind? I sit up and lean my head on his shoulder like I used to with my older brother all the time.
"Aren't we losers." I say and he laughs.
"Nope. But everyone else is." He says and I smile. He has a good sense of humor. Good thing, too, I need it. Mrs. Gregory, actually no one at the orphanage has a good sense of humor.
"Yup, everyone else but us." I repeat. I take my head off his shoulder and turn to look at him. He smiles and I smile back. For a minute I feel like everything else around me isn't there. Then the nurse comes in and tells us to go to class. I walk to my next class wondering about what had just happened. Did he and I just have a moment? I don't know. I know we're friends. I don't know what he thinks, though. I can't wait for after eigth period, so I can talk to him.
It's after eigth period, and I need to talk to Jonathon. I can't figure out what happened in the nurse's office. I don't know how I feel about him. He's standing by the water fountain and I run over to him. He grabs my arm and pulls me onto a bench.
"What happened, Jonathon? In the nurse's office?" I ask him and he shrugs.
"I don't know if there's anything between us. Do you think so?" He asks me and I shrug.
"I can't figure it out. I don't know if I even want anything between us. Maybe there is. I can't figure this out, not now, not here." I tell him and he scoots over a little closer to me.
"What do you mean when you say I don't know if I even want anything between us? Why not?" He asks.
"I don't mean that. I mean. We couldn't know." I tell him and he takes my hand. I look down at our entwined fingers and start to lean in. Our lips meet and I feel something. I feel a warmth in my chest, and it feels so good, and it spreads through me. When we break apart I look him in the eyes and a tear comes down my cheek.
"Pretend it never happened?" He asks and I nod. He lets my hand go and we walk in different directions. Only one thing is wrong, I don't want to pretend it never happened. I like him. A lot. I turn around and run back to him. I grab his hand and turn him around.
"I don't want to pretend that the kiss never happened, because it did." I tell him and he nods.
"I know, but, why don't you want to pretend it never happened?" He asks.
"Because I like you a lot. You're the first person to be nice to me in a really, really long time." I tell him and I start to cry.
"Don't cry, Dania. I like you a lot, too." He says, and I smile. He pulls me in close to him and I rest my head on his chest while he strokes my hair. His free hand makes it's way to mine and I squeeze it, and I start to cry again. "You're so nice, Dania." He tells me and I push up against him. He puts his hand on my back and pulls me in close.
When the bus pulls up to take us home he and I walk hand in hand on the bus. When we sit down and his arm goes around me and I lean my head on his shoulder. He keeps whispering things in my ear, and they all make me smile more and more.