I'm the girl you see sat alone in the dinner hall. I'm the girl who does her homework the night she gets it, who puts her hand up in class and actually studies for exams. I don't go out at the weekend except to the library or to volunteer at church. To put it simply, I'm the weirdo, the saddo, the loner. And my name is Mia Curtis.
I wake up every morning at 6 o'clock and walk my dog, Alfie. Across three streets of the estate, through the gate to the fields, into the woods and back again. Then I have a shower, get dressed, have breakfast, pack my bag and leave for the bus stop. I look in the mirror everyday to see a short, slim girl with long, curly brown hair; hazel brown eyes and freckles. I twist my ringlets into two braids and pop a beanie on my head. Next I throw on an oversized sweater, some jeans and my converse. That's me set. No wonder I have no friends.
- The first day of term -
I sit through the first four lessons of the day, double chemistry, spanish and history. At lunch I grab a sandwich and take it to the music practice rooms where I lock myself in. Just me, my guitar, a piano and my BLT. I pull out my notebook full of scribbled lyrics and scrumpled up song sheets. I flip open my guitar case and pull out my pride and joy. And for the next half an hour I while away the minutes strumming chords and singing made up melodies. Its here that I feel at home.
I hear a shuffle outside the door and I am dragged away from my playing to look up. I see no one so I continue. After a couple more minutes I move onto the piano and play even more music I have made up over the years and it feels so good to have somewhere like this where I can be myself. Again, I hear a shuffle outside the door. I can see the shadow of someone's feet under the door.
"Come on man lets go!" I hear a distant call from a boy down the corridor. The person outside the door walks away. 'Who was that?' I think to myself. 'Probably some idiot listening in and laughing at me.'
Later that day I am sat on the bus home reading my book when something comes flying from behind me and hits me on the back of the head. I hear it squelch. Reaching up to remove whatever it was I hear hysterical laughter coming from the back row. It was the usual bullies: Max, Kieran and Danny. I realise it is chewing gum, it's all sticky and some of it has stuck to my hair and hat. The bus stops and, grabbing my bag, I get up to leave. 'This isn't even my stop' I say to myself but I knew I had to get out of there.
Fortunately I get off only a block from my house at the stop outside the corner shop. I walk in to buy some milk as I remember we ran out this morning. Next to the dairy products is a tall boy with dark hair gelled perfectly into a quiff. He turns to look down at me and nods. I nod back.
"You know you've got gum in your hair, right?" he says in a low voice with a hint of sarcasm. Oh my gosh...how embarrassing. I start blushing and fiddling with my sleeves.
"Umm...yeah...I..." I stutter nervously.
"I love your braids, they're cute!"
"Thanks." I can feel my cheeks burning. "Well, I'll see you around." No point prolonging the embarrassment. I grab some milk and walk away.
"Wait." he says, grabbing my arm and turning me around to face him. "What's your name?"
"Mia." I twistle my hair and look down at my feet.
"Justin." he replies. "See you around, Mia."
"See you around...Justin."