To say that my introduction with my roommate went well…would be an understatement, the understatement of the year. For the remainder of the day, she kept her distance and barely looked at me, not that I was asking for another pair of eyes to pry. At dinner, which I conveniently avoided for the sake of my own dignity, the distance from her was pleasant. I didn’t notice her come back late, but noticing Maisy absent from her bed at two in the morning was hard to miss. I searched the room but she wasn’t in sight and the door wasn’t closed properly. A line of light shone through the old room and stung my eyes. That light was not from a bulb.
Nevertheless, I assured myself I was still dreaming and dove under the cover with my iPod playing relaxing music. I fell back into a dreamless sleep about my old school and old friends where I could relax and be happy for a short while. Too soon was I brought back into sad reality.
‘Violet! Violet, wake up! Violet!’ Maisy shook the blanket surrounding me and pulled at my hair. I slapped her hand away and she shrieked in pain. ‘I let you sleep in but then you didn’t wake up and a teacher is coming to get you!’
‘What? I’m just a deep sleeper,’ I groaned, rubbing my eyes to remove crusty elsewhere, and shrugged on a sweater folded at the foot of my bed.
‘Hurry up and get changed because otherwise I’ll get in trouble.’
‘And we wouldn’t want that would we?’ I said under my breath as I crawled off the bed.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Maisy urged me to answer the door, overly exaggerating a nod in its direction, and in return I threw her a blank look that made her frown. I was glad I had discovered the grungy side of my perfect roommate, glad I had burst her bubbles. She backed away, stopping when she hit the dormitory wall with a thud, and wrinkled her nose is disgust.
‘Hello?’ I asked, acting surprised, when I opened up the door. I leant up against the door frame, tying the bottom of my plait with a black tie.
‘Oh, you are up then. Sorry to interrupt, but is Maisy in there?’ The woman made an effort to step around me and I shifted to the opposite side of the doorway to block her. She then tried the other side and I shifted once more, mirroring her every move with a smirk on my face. My narrowed eyes and sneer practically dared her to barge on in past me. Deciding to lean my whole body against the frame, I stretched my feet to the other side so I was in a diagonal position blocking the entrance to our room.
The tall female coughed and placed her hand on my shoulder. Her eyebrow cocked upwards and I sighed, trying to think of something smart to say. Instead, before I could stop the words from coming out, I came up with, ‘Miss, Maisy has no clothes on.’ And with that, the woman gave a swift nod and darted down the hall.
People stared as Maisy and I walked into the cafeteria together, me walking slightly behind, allowing her to lead and attract all the attention I expected her to get. Boys’ heads turned and occasionally food fell from their mouths in shock or forks clattered to the ground or table tops. Girls’ heads sulked and each with a boyfriend tried to attract their attention back. But nothing helped the helpless. Apparently, my roommate was famous for her beauty.
Maisy carried with her a sense of liveliness and security, while to everyone outside she was kind, loving and with a hint of magic. I didn’t mention my discovery - which I was still sure was a dream - to Maisy, as she’d think I was mental, assuming she had snuck out during the night. Still, it scared me to imagine if she’d really snuck out to do who knew what. What was I supposed to think she was doing out of bed in the middle of the night? But maybe I was seeing this in the completely wrong way. What if she had been sleepwalking or sitting outside because she felt sick? I hadn’t ventured out to investigate and had left her to her business, so I bit my tongue and told myself she was probably as normal as me. There was still that strange light through the door, that eerie glow…
My roommate led me to the meal counter, a row of boxes with cereal and hot eggs and sausages. My mouth watered when my eyes met the side of a golden brown croissant and I snatched it up and onto my plate before any one could steal it from me.
‘Everyone, this is Violet and she is my new roommate.’ I felt my cheeks flood. Could Maisy introduce me any louder? While she was at it, how about not introducing me at all? I bowed my head and refused to look at anyone.
‘The name says it all! Nice hair princess!’ A boy yelled three tables down and I flashed him a dirty glare. He bit his lip and squirmed nervously in his chair back to his wingmen. Jerk.
‘Yeah, shut up, Chadding, you freakin’ moron!’ a boy on Maisy’s table yelled in my defence. I sulked down into the seat, not grateful of the gesture the boy had paid me. He smiled nervously at me but I returned a scowl in disgust.
The remaining students at the table were quite normal. Three girls and four boys. Their clothes were plain and ordinary, suggesting they had come from standard families with no disappearing boyfriends or girlfriends, and their features were like mine—completely human and expected. Maisy stood out from the rest of her friends, but they way she pulled off her colourful hair and dark makeup made her almost as typical as everyone else at the table. I felt myself sink further into the chair. I had never felt so alone.
‘I’m Rose,’ a small girl with curly, ginger locks introduced. Her hand appeared beside my croissant and I noticed her fingernails were painted an electric blue.
‘Rose, don’t bother,’ Maisy cut in with a firm tone, eyeing me warily, ‘Violet doesn’t shake hands.’
I strode into Health in a disappointed mood and found the seat at the rear of the room, collapsing into it with a dramatic exhale. Students’ heads turned and admired my unfortunate mood, laughing to themselves. One girl stared at me for a while and slapped the boy next to her, who then turned around and looked blankly at me - the same boy that had acknowledged me in the cafeteria whilst I was on the principal’s tour. The girl snatched his attention and raised her eyebrows in question.
‘No,’ the boy murmured, shaking his head.
So, that brings us back to square one. Please, somebody help me.
School classroom seats had never felt so uncomfortable. I’d had a reckless night of well-deserved sleep and my fatigue bullied me as I sat dazing, vaguely paying little attention to the teacher pointing at me to answer a question I hadn’t heard him ask. The class was silent and clearly bored at the description of the illegal drug the teacher gave, so I sat quite well with the other students.
Sadly, I’d grown a slight interest in Maisy after our brief knowing of each other. She was a curious girl and clearly had her own beliefs, like myself, and in that department I could see we were alike. Even though I could tell that she didn’t like my poor attitude, the girl hadn’t kicked me out of her room…yet. Even when I went completely mental at her for accidentally using my towel for drying herself after her shower.
Chadding, the boy in the cafeteria with the hair jokes, had already discovered my dirty glare I’d thrown him, and even though he was in my Health class, he avoided my gaze and sunk into his chair and desk as soon as possible. My glare, bound to make any victim shy away from me for the rest of their life, had worked well. I smiled to myself and fiddled with my pencil, scratching away at the wood of the desk. Chadding was the next person that would never speak to me again because the strange but really helpful facial expression of mine—
‘Excuse me … Violet, isn’t it?’
The sound of my name being said by such a sweet voice made me cringe and my pencil dropped to the ground with a light rattle. I looked up from the pencil beside my foot to find a girl resting her cheerleader bum against my desk, the girl who’d sat beside the smiley boy from the cafeteria. I blinked and ignored her.
‘Fine, I’ll do the talking. My name is Gabrielle and my friend over there is Sunny—‘
I bent down to pick up my pencil and snorted. ‘Sunny? That’s his name?’
‘So you do talk?’ she said easily, pointing one pretty finger up to my face. I retreated from the finger and drew in the cover of my notebook, but didn’t say anything.
She waited for a while, clicking her tongue and anticipating my next words.
‘What’s wrong with his name? It’s perfectly ordinary, entertaining and, if you knew the whole story, you’d probably find it amusing.’
I raised my palms in surrender. ‘I’m just saying…it’s not my problem his parents have a strange liking of certain names,’ I laughed.
The girl’s eyes narrowed slightly, before they widened and went back to normal. She opened her mouth, ‘I call him that, it’s not really his name.’
‘What is it, then?’
‘Ask him yourself. Now, back to my introduction and don’t interrupt me because…just don’t interrupt me, okay?’
For once, I didn’t interrupt.
‘There is a party being held in the school gym coming up because the Principal thinks we “work too hard” and wants us to “let go”. And Sunny and I – Gabrielle, in case you forgot – were wondering if you’d come? You see, you don’t look like you have many friends and we’re willing to turn our duo into a trio.’
I thought about it for a while, and suddenly remembered shooting my glare at “Sunny” in the cafeteria yesterday. Yet here he was, inviting me to the party - through his girlfriend - and wasn’t completely acting like all his self-confidence had been drained from his body. I secretly snuck a look him. He met my gaze, held it, and I turned away from him. It was weird. For so long my glare had been my private weapon to use on anyone I felt deserved it. I guessed he was immune.
I looked back up at Gabrielle with an unpleasant smile on my face. ‘No thanks, I think I’ll pass.’