"Ms. Lane, can you stay for a second?" Mr. Jenson, my English teacher, asked. The last person was leaving the room as he said that.
I felt my heart starting to pound and my hands producing sweat, something that happens when I get nervous. English is not my best subject and on top of that, when people talk to me I get nervous thinking that they are going to try and make me say something, or give me that hopeful look as if pleading me to talk. That look makes me feel uncomfortable. It is as if they are reaching for my soul with their eyes.
"I have noticed that ever since the beginning of the year your grade point average in this class has dropped little by little. It has never risen and right now you are barely passing with a low 'C'." Mr. Jenson explained and I nodded my head in acknowledgement, "That is why I think you should get a tutor. I have a student who is passing this class in a breeze."
Everything in the room seems to freeze. I look at Mr. Jenson to make sure he is not joking. I can't have a tutor! I don't want a tutor! What if she tries to make talk? What if I can't handle the pressure? Many other what-ifs ran through my head an I shook my head. Mr. Jenson looked at me with uncertainty.
Mr. Jenson paused before saying, "Ms. Lane, you do understand you need four credits in English to pass high school, correct?" I nod, "Well you aren't doing well in my class and I fear that you will have an 'F' by the end of the year."
I sigh because I know he is right. "You don't have to make a decision right now, but you should let me know by the end of the week." I nod my head and he says, "You may go now."
As I walk out the door I hear him say, "Think about it." I head to the entrance of the school ready to leave. English was my class of the day.
I look into a window of a classroom near the entrance and look at the clock. Crap, Mom is going to kill me. I hurriedly rush out of the school. My house is only a few blocks away from Welder R. Terrance High School. It should not talk long to get home.
I rush past the many people and cars still in the parking lot and make a left turn. I speed walk the rest of the way to my house.
"Where have you been?", my mom questions with a pointed look on her face when I close the door. Crap, I'm in deep trouble. I look at my mom closely to see is she's intoxicated, or not. Even though it should be easy to tell if she is intoxicated or not, she has been getting better at hiding it. "Amerlia!" she yells. She's definitely drunk right now if she got my name wrong.
"I'm sorry. Right when I was leaving I remembered that I left my math book." I write on the dry-erase board I hurriedly took out of my book bag, quickly conjuring up a lie.
Honest to God, I despise lying to my mom, but if I do not want to face her wrath, that is the only option. Plus, it is easy to lie to my mom when she is not herself. My mom looks at me before nodding her head. While she goes into the kitchen, probably to get herself another drink, I rush to my room.
The rest of the week passed by in a blur; people ignored me, teachers did not called on me to answer questions, and I was by myself at lunch. I have thought about whether I want a tutor or not. I know that I cannot bring the grade up myself and the thought of staying alone with Mr. Jenson is unsettling. Plus, the lecture on poetry was completely incomprehensible to me. And it is not like I have a strong hatred for poetry, because I do not, it is just that I can never figure out the meanings behind them.
After the bell rang signaling the end of the school day, I get my book bag and walk up to Mr. Jenson.
"So have you decided on whether you want a tutor or not?" Mr. Jenson asks and I nod. "Do you want a tutor?" he asks and I nod once again. He smiles and says, "Great! I'll see if I can introduce you to him. He has basketball practice right now, but we can see if he will, or can, spare us a couple of minutes."
Wait a second, did Mr. Jenson just say him? My tutor is a guy? I thought he would pick a girl! Mr. Jenson holds the door for me and we walk to the gym. And he is a basketball player too? This guy better not be some cocky bastard.
We walk silently to the gym, the only sound that could be heard was our resonating footsteps, echoing through the halls. The closer both Mr. Jenson and I got to the door the louder the squeaks of shoes and bouncing of balls could be heard. He opened one of the doors and we stepped inside. A couple of people stopped what they were doing to see who had entered the gym and resumed their drills when they saw us. Mr. Jenson headed straight to Coach Denver to ask to see one of the players who is apparently my new tutor.
I took a seat on the bleacher closest to the door. I looked around and realized I have not been in the gym since ninth grade, when physical education was a requirement. Not much has changed; the walls were still the same yellowish-whitish color, the poster of our school's anthem was still in the same spot and so was the contraption used to train volleyball players on how to spike. The only difference was the posters that were already up for junior and senior prom. The school held two different proms out of respect for the seniors and the demand for a prom for juniors. I find it ridiculous and that people should wait until senior year. A prom is supposed to be a special once-in-a-lifetime thing.
My mind went back to my soon-to-be tutor and my leg jittered nervously. What if he doesn't like me? What if he won't tutor me because I'm a mute and he'll find it too challenging? What if- My muddled what-if thoughts stopped once I saw Mr. Jenson walking to where I was with a tall dirty blonde walking next to him. Should I stand up and meet them halfway, or stay where I am? Should I shake hands with the guy? Has Mr. Jenson told him that I was a mute? They looked like they were having a serious conversation, so I am guessing that Mr. Jenson is telling him that I am a mute.
I get up from where I am sitting when they are a couple of feet away and walk the last few steps toward them. I put a good two and a half feet between us. Mr. Jenson gives me an encouraging smile. He must know how difficult it is for me to meet new people. I am well aware that some people talk about me and my lack of voice and he must know I have no friends.
"Mr. Grey, I'd like you to meet Ms. Lane." Mr. Jenson says. I give a small smile to my soon-to-be tutor and he returns it.
"So I'm guessing the old coop wanted you to get a tutor?" he asks. I look at the guy with bewilderment. He laughs at my reaction and Mr. Jenson cracks a smile. " 'Mr. Jenson' here is my uncle." he says smiling, and I nod in acknowledgment. "You don't talk much do you?" I look at him in the eye and shake my head. The light-hearted mood instantly dropped. "Well that's alright, so when do you want to meet up?"
I quickly get out my dry-erase board and a black marker from my book bag. "Whenever is possible." I write.
"So Monday during lunch?" he asks and I nod.