The lunch hall floods with students within seconds of me taking my seat at a deserted table. I let my mind wonder on what it would be like to have friends fighting over me, and what I would feel like if more than 2 people wanted the seat beside me.
Instead, I take out my lunch from my rucksack and tuck in, listening to the way my food crushes on my teeth. I knew right from the moment I opened my eyes this morning, that the 27th of April would not be my day.
The room is a buzz of people in matching colours. I breathe in and look around to see if I can see anybody I know, but they all seem so foreign and far away. A group of 7 year 9 girls walk past my table laughing about something that must have been so funny, and then I think about the pleasures of having a group of people that I know everything about.
The taste in my mouth is dry from my loneliness, and I wish to myself that my best friend would walk through the door and say they had a dentist appointment this morning, but instead, the only people walking through the door are everybody but him.
Usually when I eat at lunch, the table I sit on is crowded with other people, mainly all of them being a year older than me. They’re all popular, with pretty faces, wearing their uniform in the coolest way. Barely any of them like me though, because apparently I’m too young.
I’m 15, 16 on the 3rd of October, making me one of the older ones in my year.
I miss the school bus because my teacher keeps me behind after science; I never handed in my homework. Walking home in the rain leaves me cold, damp and fed up. I think about what it would be like to be popular and wanted, and what sort of person I’d be if I was like that. I suppose some people aren’t born that way. My hair flaps in front of my eyes as a lorry whistles past, and in my moment of despair I let myself sob to the beat of the rain on the pavement. Passes by stare.
Walking up to the house, I see my gramps, my dad and Jack having a discussion beside the vegetable garden, and wave to them. As I walk into the house, I smell my mama’s cooking on the hot stove. Macaroni cheese for dinner tonight. In the kitchen I see Karen with her feet propped up against the table reading a magazine, and my mama stirring in the pan. “Hey.” I grunt, and take a seat beside my aunt, who’s only 21, and is more like my sister.
“How was your day?” She doesn’t look up from her reading, so hasn’t seen my blotchy face or sodden clothes.
“Could’ve been better.” My mama turns around, and has to look twice.
“What happened sweetheart? You’re soaking.” She rushes up to me and squeezes my shoulder with her hand. For 55, she’s very fit and gets around quickly.
“I missed my bus and had to walk home.”
“You should’ve rang your dad, I’m sure he would’ve picked you up.” She replies, her voice full of sympathy as she returns to her cooking.
“He wouldn’t have, he’s got too much work on at the minute.”
“You could’ve asked Jack, I’m sure he wouldn’t have minded.” Jack’s Karen’s husband, they married last year. He’s only 23.
“It was nice to have time to think.” I lie. The only thoughts I have at the minute are miserable.
“When will dinner be ready, baby’s starving.” Karen jokes, rubbing her 6 month baby bump.
“Baby only has to wait a few more minutes.” I run up the stairs and into my room, changing into some joggers and an over-sized t-shirt. I plug in my hair dryer, giving my hair a quick dry to warm myself up, then sling on a hoody.
“Megan.” My voice is shouted up the stairs.
In the kitchen, my dad, gramps, mama, Jack and Karen are sat round the table, with two spare seats left. I sit beside my dad and eat silently.
Lying in my bed, I have time to think again. The silence is unnerving, and the darkness doesn’t help me confirm that the strange sensation of being watched isn’t true. In my head, nothing is clear. I know that Dylan is meters away, lying in bed the same as me, but I don’t know that he feels the way I do.
To me, it’s as if everything was so much more simple 20 years ago. My mum and dad met in high school when my mum was just in year 7, and he was in year 10. Despite the age gap, and the fact that my mum hadn’t matured yet, never mind found out who she was, my dad was drawn to her, and they fell in love. They said that age was just a number, but my dad tried to fight his feelings away so hard. They never faded, and hers for him didn’t either. Her mum was so angry when she found out, but her dad approached her feelings subtly, the same way he does now. He spoke with Steve, and made sure he understood how young and fragile my mum was. My mama on the other hand, shouted at my dad a lot, and at one point even banned him from seeing Lucy, by grounding her. She told him that if he came near her daughter, she’d phone the police, and one day that’s just what she did.
Everyone grew up from that, and my mama and gramps grew to love my dad the way my mum did. He used to be round all the time, and played with Karen too, who was born when Megan was 12. They never parted, and I’m not surprised. My mother was beautiful, and even that doesn’t seem to sum it up. Her eyes were a vivid blue, and her hair was blond. It curled in waves, down past her waistline, and was so soft to touch. Her lips were thick and red, like rose petals curling together naturally.
My father on the other hand, was raged and tough. He’d had a hard upbringing as his father used to throw punches at him, and his mother used to scream at the top of her voice into his ear. He’d go to school covered it cuts and bruises, a bust lip and broken limb here and there. When he reached 14, he decided enough was enough, and he started to work out at the local gym, weight training, running, boxing and swimming. He’d go every night after school for 2 hours, and practically live there over the weekend. He soon grew strong enough to fight back. He never wanted to hurt his parents, but if he was attacked, he knew he could defend himself and it gave him comfort.
Now, his face looks old and worn even though he’s 36. His jaw is straight and chiselled, his nose crooked from being hit, and his eyes hollowed out from sleepless nights with me as a child, and the grief of my mum. When my mum was 17, she fell pregnant. The family were devastated. My dad was in his second year of university, but dropped out and began to work for my gramps, who had always run a small farming business selling his produce to the locals since he moved in with Honey.
I was born, and although I was loved, I know I was an inconvenience, and I ruined my parent’s future. Thinking about it, if I wasn’t born they may not have stayed together, but instead, they may have separated and gotten over the hot teenage romance, because that’s all that it was really. After I was born though, they grew stronger through the tiring days; where as other couples may have grown apart, or even fallen apart. From the strong foundations of being together for 5 years, they built a house above it, and their own family was created.
It seems everyone in my family has had their children young, and then I wonder if I will, and if so, who with? Who will I fall in love with, and who am I destined to marry? Still, the biggest question of all will always be, will I die alone a spinster, or die loved and married, with the knowledge of creating another generation.
I can imagine the person I marry; he’s always been in my head. He’d be tall, around 6ft, and he’d be well-built. His face would be gentle and reassuring, and his hands would be big enough to fit both of mine in. He’d know how to kiss me, and he’d know everything about me, like my favourite song, or which side I lie on when I sleep. He’d memorise how my hair spirals, and how my head fits perfectly on his chest, and whenever he wanted he’d be able to think of me and hear me telling him that I loved him. Yet, as far as I can see, I’ll still be working for my dad in years to come, after he’s taken over the family business, and I’ll still be single in this big town. Nobody knows anybody other than the people in your estate, and my family are in the lowest estate, where tough lives are led.
I’ve always been told not to dream too big, but only by myself. I never let my expectations get high, because I hate the feeling of disappointment, and I’d be crushed if it wasn’t what I expected. My mind then flicks to the thought of death, and if anybody would actually miss me if I died. Yes, my family would miss me, but they’d be fine soon, and would be able to recover. Anybody else would simply shrug it off and say, “Oh the poor girl.” I’d be forgotten easily, because with nothing to my name, and nothing special about me, it would be hard to remember. It’s like reading a book without a storyline and title.