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.


6. Jealousy

Today, Ruby leads me around, showing me all the different routes to so many classes, and all the places certain people go. She shows me how to get to the canteen, where you can buy food and drink, and she shows me the benches, where she always sits. I open my bag to reveal a Tuna Mayo sandwich, which I munch on for 5 minutes, before chucking the empty packet in the dustbin. Ruby then opens a packet of digestive biscuits, and we share them.

"So, how do you like it here already?" She asks me, wanting an opinion on the school.

"It's nice," I say, looking out over the balcony to the beach, less than half a mile away. "I just, well, it's kind of hard to fit in when everyone already has their friends though, you know?" I don't expect her to answer this question, but she does, nevertheless.

"I know," She says, in the same sad tone, "I've moved schools many times. It all depended on my parents jobs. I could never predict how long I would stay at any one school, but I guess I was lucky I fitted in ok. But when I saw you the first day, I knew it would be hard on you. You're not one of the 'oceanviewers', because the people of this school are...different to you...different to me. They act differently, they dress differently. I think we should be friends. What do you think?"

"Yes, yes we should."

And since that day, Ruby and I became best friends. We walked round school together, we ate lunch together, and we always went round each others houses. She is similar to me: shy, unpopular, smart, doesn't fit in with the crowd. And I like that. I like the way we can stick together and know everything will be fine. It's only when we have maths that day, that she finds out about him....Colton...

We walk into class arm in arm as we always do, a couple minutes early to realise that a suppy teacher is taking the lesson. This, as everybody knows, means you can sit wherever you want because there is only one seating plan, which the supply teacher doesn't have hold of. Ruby and I make our way towards the nearest set of desks, when Colton taps me on the shoulder. A rush goes through me, but I try to ignore it. Ruby goes on, and gestures that she's saving the place next to her for me.

"Hey, Anna. I missed you last lesson." He says innocently.

I smile to try and cover the pain I feel inside- I don't want to remember that day. I wish it had never happened. "Yeah, sorry. I was, um, I was ill." I lie.

He gives me a disbelieving look and smirks. "Are you sure about that?"

Rolling my eyes, I say yes, and try to get back to Ruby who is anxiously looking our way.

"Wait, Anna" Colton exclaims, putting his hand on my shoulder. "I got something for you..."

He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a scrumpled piece of paper. I take it, and swiftly move back to my place next to Ruby. She looks over my shoulder as I unravel the note. 'Anna, here's my number... [phone number]... Call me!! ;-)' Its' written, in his scruffy font. I smile and look over to Colton, who I realise is smiling guiltily back at me. The lesson goes on, and I realise Ruby is being especially quiet. I tap her on the shoulder and ask if she's okay, but she just shrugs it off and tells me to leave her alone. That's definitely not like her. Why is she acting this way all of a sudden?

I think through all the possibilities- but can only find one. That she's jealous of me for Colton.

The bell rings for the end of the day, and I have to jog to catch up with her- as she's already halfway down the hallway. I throw my things in my locker, slip on my rucksack and run after her, calling her name the whole time and gathering some strange looks from the other teens. When I finally reach her, she just says she doesn't want to talk. Foolishly, I ask why. Ruby doesn't answer, and this just seems to make her angrier as she storms out of the building and runs to the bike shed- the way she gets home everyday. We usually go part of the way home together, her riding slowly on her bike alongside me on the pavement. I shout after her as she gets on her bike, then realise that this is going nowhere. I decide to give up.

I trudge home gloomily, my feet scuffing the sidepath, trying to forget about everything that happened between us. I still can't believe she got so angry about one little thing, but then there could be more to it than I think. I'm sure she'll forget about it in the morning anyway, so I continue my walk. When I approach Oceanview junior, I spot Benji crouched down at the gate, his head in his hands. I walk over to him, pulling him up, and we walk silently for a few minutes. And then he lets it all out, tears streaming from his perfectly innocent eyes.

"What's wrong?" I ask him, and we stop at the side of the pavement, me kneeling down beside him.

"Someone was mean to me," he says, and I know a big story is coming up, "someone chucked a piece of paper at the teacher and then got everyone to say it was me, so I was blamed and now I'm in detention at lunch tomorrow."  I ruffle his hair, feeling sorry for him, and then I admit I have had a bad day too. We walk the rest of the way home gloomily, together, and I somehow don't feel so bad, although I never admit it to him. It's only when I unlock the door to the house, and we both walk inside, that I realise my Mother has gone out. I say to Benji that she has probably just gone to post a letter or to get a cup of coffee, but as time flies, I begin to get even more worried. I try to pull it off with excuses, but I know that none of them are true.

When I come down later to help myself to a snack, I notice a piece of paper stuck to the tabletop that I somehow never noticed before. The handwriting: curly and joined at all the right places, becomes more visible as I edge nearer to it. My fingers clasp the edges, bringing it to my face so I can read it. The words seem as though they might vanish at any second, as if I was dreaming that the voice in my head was reading those strange peculiar words. But of course they stay there, stuck on that page, with no where to go. Those words: Be back soon, so mysterious, so familiar, but never true.




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