Out at sea

Anna is a young girl who suffers from the loss of her father out at sea. She tries to cope with everyday life: helping her single mother and younger brother Benji to make the most of life, though it all gets too much. With the stress and anxiety of moving schools, Anna is anything but fine. Her long trips up to the beach are tiring, but they're worth it when she gets to look out and imagine her Dad beside her. But everything seems to result in tears, and Anna realises she's stayed strong for too long.


2. First day

I take a deep breath before heaving off my duvet covers, stretching out my arms and stifling a yawn. It's my first day at Oceanview High today, a school that my mother thinks will be perfect for me. They have straight A students, a massive 'playground' overlooking the sea, and provide a high-class education, according to the website that my mother made me examine before the Big day. I think my Mother is more eager than I am, but I try to keep positive, even when Benji, my younger brother, comments on the 'uniform which makes me look fat'. I could have killed him there and square. But I didn't.

Hurrying down my cornflakes I take a quick slurp of milk and slip on my rucksack. "Good luck sweetheart, I'm sure you'll be very happy at your new school!" My Mum kisses me softly on the forehead and waves me goodbye as I close the front door behind me. I feel the wind blowing strongly through my carefully combed hair and taste the salt from the sea just below the clifftop. A rush of nervous anticipation waves through me, as it does at every start of the many new schools I have been to. This time I hope my mother is right about me being 'very happy at my new school'. I don't think I can handle another change.

As I trudge along I think about what all the other children will think of me when I enter the classroom. Will they think I look fat in my uniform as my brother does? Will they think I'm ugly because I'm not wearing any make-up and my straight brown hair is not perfect? Plus, I'm not a very sociable person - I spend most of my time alone - and people seem to judge me as the bad sort, someone who thinks no one can live up to their standards, so they don't make any friends at all. If anything, I'm the opposite. I come from a poor background, but I think it's quite unfortunate that we do, considering my Father died leaving us with very little money from his will. No one seems to understand my circumstances, well, at least not from any of my past schools, but as I reach the buzzing school atmosphere now, I'm hoping to change that.

I enter the classroom just as the bell rings for registration. The teacher who I now know is called Miss  Wright introduces me to the class before me. I see twenty or so curious faces staring up at me from their seats. Looking around uncomfortabley as my cheeks burn I try to find a seat, to realise the only one free is next to a small, chubby boy with acne covering his cheeks and nose. He smiles at me as I wriggle off my rucksack and sit on the edge of my seat. Restrained giggles are heard from around the class. One girl shouts "Ronny, you're such a pervert!" I realise she must be talking about the chubby boy next to me and sigh. Not such a great start.

After form time, I make my way through the bustled crowd in the corridors, my eyes scanning the timetable I was given in front of me. 'Period 1 seems to be Maths,' I think to myself, before folding out the map of the school, and setting off in what I think is the right direction. People give me puzzled looks as I pass, as if they haven't seen a map before, but I ignore them, carrying on nevertheless, and finally reaching the maths classroom bang on time. I see a few people gathering around something on the teachers desk and I peer over someone shoulder to take a peek. It looks like a printed out seating plan, so I scan the names for mine. Poppy...Alex...Oscar...Anna. I walk to my desk, slinking down into the seat, and wait to see who I will be paired up next to.

My eyes can't help but wonder to my left as a tall boy with ruffled blonde-ish hair comes to sit down in the place next to me. His clear eyes are the colour of the sea, and I feel that if I look deeply into them I can picture my favourite scene down by the beach. I am so entranced by his eyes that I don't notice that he's laughing at me. With the most perfect charming smile you could ever see. I feel my cheeks flush and I concentrate on the teacher, now trying to avoid his gaze. It's not long before I hear him whisper something in my ear.

"You're new here aren't you?" He is waiting for an answer, and when there is none, he says, "My name's Colton by the way."

I look back at him, almost automatically, and its then that I feel as though I might melt on the spot. He's staring at me, giving me time to speak, but all I seem to come out with is, "Yeah." He smiles, shaking his head from side to side, and watching the teacher do mathematical algebraic fractions on the whiteboard. As time passes by, my cheek resting on my shoulder dreamily, I catch glimpses of him looking my way. Of course, when he sees me looking too, he immediately focuses on the teacher again, but its a nice moment anyway. At the end of Maths - after I've collected my homework from the front desk - I start to pack up my belongings, unaware of Colton's figure looming above beside him.

"So, I guess I'll see you later," he says suddenly. I smile casually, watching him walk away, his rucksack flung over his right arm. Then, I tap him on the other shoulder, before he's out of my reach.

"I'm Anna, by the way," I manage to say, mercifully without messing up my prepared lines. He fiddles around in his pocket, pulling out a piece of paper and jotting down my name with an old pencil. I find it weird at first, but then kind of cute.

"Cool," he replies, his teeth glinting in the light. "Will try and remember." 

And with that, he's gone.


                                                             ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


A smile is on my face as I walk in through the front door after my first day of school.

"I'm home!" I shout up the stairs where my Mum usually is about this time, by her laptop in her bedroom. After a few seconds of silence, I shout up the stairs yet again. "Hello?..." No reply. "Mum, are you home?"

I barge up the stairs, careful not to spill anything out of my rucksack and open the door to my Mum's room. And that's when I find her, sitting on her chair in front of the mirror, just putting in some expensive diamond earrings: the ones that Dad got her when they got married.

"Oh, sorry Anna I was just getting ready." Mum says, now standing up showing off a slinky turquoise dress. "How was school?" She asks, not seeming terribly interested.

"What? Mum, what are you doing all dressed up? Where are you going?" I ask, frustrated.

"Sweetheart, didn't I tell you I was going out tonight?" She says, now seeming concerned.

"No..." I say innocently, as tears prick at my eyes. I would think that on my first day of school she would at least pay a little more attention to me.

I hide away in my room as she leaves the house tonight, leaving Benji under my control. I can't help but feel annoyed as I say goodnight to him, and then tuck myself into my own bed. 'Where is Mum going anyway?' I think to myself, but before I can question her dissapearance anymore, my eyes drift to the shining stars in the night sky, and then drift into a deep, deep sleep.


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