Ravaging through my room I exclaimed “ Julia Farley, where the hell is my phone?” . This always happened, she would take my stuff without asking and claim she lost it when I asked for it back. A sigh of frustration escaped my lips as I ceased the search in defeat. My bedroom door slowly creaked open and my younger sister, Julia’s head popped through the small space. A devious smile etched across her face before the oh so familiar words came out of her mouth.
“Okay don’t get mad at me but” she took a deep breath “I may or may not have misplaced it” and the door slammed shut without a second thought. Her hurried footsteps could be heard as she rushed out the front door and off to school.
I almost choked on my saliva as I came to realisation that I had gotten carried away and was running late for school. I hastily descended down the worn down stairs whilst gripping my book bag for dear life.
“Honey, slow down you’ll hurt yourself” my mother implied. That didn’t stop me though, I hastily tied up my shoelaces “I’m going to be late, if I waste another minute”.
My mothers squeaky, exasperated laughter filled the air, “ Slow down, I’ll drop you off on my way to work”
“That would’ve been nice to know, earlier” I huffed breathlessly “ It’s not like my lungs are now failing or anything”
I trailed behind her towards our worn down vehicle.It creaked as we took our seats ” When are we getting a new ride” I groaned.
“Hey, ol’ Betty is still in good condition” Whenever somebody mentioned something about my mothers car she would become highly defensive. She’d had the car ever since she was 17 and I was convinced she loved it more than she loved Julia and I. I hadn’t noticed the car had come to a halt in front the standard sized school until mum’s voice broke me out of my trance.
“Donny will come over and check on you girls, I'm working a double shift tonight”
I mentally groaned in angst, just what every girl needed; her mothers creepy boyfriend coming to a house containing two young girls whose guardian is not within the vicinity to protect them from a potential predator.
My mother or as she preferred to be referred to as Francine, hollered an ignominious ‘love you baby’ before she sped off in her butchered 1998 Bronco. I could feel the yearning stares from my fellow peers. My eyes darted to the ground as I made my way into the premises. I was greeted with the fresh and refreshing smell of textbooks which was soon tainted with the smell of condensed male cologne. These teenage boys needed tips on how to apply cologne as soon as possible.
I made my way towards my locker in order to accumulate the school necessities for my first lesson, History. My eyes darted up when I heard rapid footsteps progress towards my direction. “Tate, Ms Schneider wants to have a word with you” Gertrude huffed breathlessly.
“Gertie why are you running around like this”
She stood upright with one hand clutching her stomach “ She said if I fetched you before school begun, I didn’t have to show up to after school detention”
I composed myself and bid my adieu to Gertie before i made my way towards the Humanities classroom. I let myself in knowing that I was expected anyways. Ms Schneider, shut her laptop and slid off her glasses as I walked in. I took a vacant chair and placed it in front of her desk.
“What’s good Ms?” I jokingly questioned. My smile faltered as her facial expression was solemn, it was evident that she wasn’t here to play games, something serious was taking place.
Ms Schneider cleared her throat before she informed me on what was happening. “ Miss Farley, i’ve summoned you here in order ask for a favour”
My head titled in confusion. I was not prepared for any sexual relations with my history teacher, no way.
“ A particular student is on the verge of not graduating, they are missing quiet a few points that allow them to do so. fortunately, there is an end of term History exam that will allow them to graduate if they receive over 82%. The reason this is so important is that they aren't allowed to participate in soccer if they continue to fail and they are a crucial part of the team as they are one of Northdales best players”
I was confused as to why out of a 2,000 students, I had been chosen to tutor some dull-witted kid who didn’t care enough to maintain his grades.
The tension in the air became heavy, I wasn’t comfortable with any sort of commitment. It made me feel trapped. “out of all the students, why me? in fact what’s in it for me?” .
The teacher let out a knowingly chuckle. “ Tatum Farley, you are one of the most intelligent students at Northdale high. You are basically passing with flying colours and the teaching board strongly believe that you have what it takes to help the student out” she paused then inhaled deeply “This is mainly the principals request, he is willing to pay $50 an hour for you to tutor him”
I played with the hem of my uniform. I remained quiet whilst deciphering whether I wanted to do it or not. Ms Schneider kept giving me words of encouragement. By doing this I would be assisting someone reach their full potential and I would have the moola and satisfaction of knowing i was responsible for a part of their success.
I caved in “ I’’ll do it” I sighed deeply.
I jumped in my seat as the agitating sound of the school bell sliced through the air. Students began to make their way into the classroom. Ms Schneider handed me a portfolio which I was guessing withheld the basic information of the currently anonymous and what I required to educate them. Ms Schneider informed me that the student would meet me in the Library at lunch for an introduction session since they wouldn’t be arriving at school in time for the first period because of morning soccer practice.
I trudged towards the desk i had taken the chair from. Curiosity kicked in and I had to find out who I was supposed to be tutoring. I placed my backpack on the ground and the file Ms Schneider had given me on the table. I flipped the first page open.I skimmed the page until a familiar name caught my attention. In bold italics laid the name of the person I wanted to be away from the most.
I could feel the pit of my stomach churn. I felt sick. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t have negative feelings towards Malachi. It was safe to say that I wasn’t the most confident person when it came to associating with a person I used to fancy. My mind flashed back to 8th grade when the whole school discovered my secret obsession with Malachi Werner, I remember refusing to show up to school as someone had started a preposterous rumour that I had made a shrine in my backyard which i’d worship every day before I went to sleep and after I woke up. After that incident, Malachi looked at me with different eyes, we were never close but he got even more distant, if that was even possible.
“ Miss Farely, are you okay, you appear a bit queasy” Ms Schneider commented earning judgmental stares from my peers once again.
“ I just need some air” I exclaimed . Miss Schneider gave me a nod of approval to be excused out of class. Avoiding the unwanted attention, I made my way out of the class. Once I was alone in the corridors, my frail body leaned against the wall and slid down. Repetitive words raced through my mind.
What the shit
It felt as if the day had passed by quickly and the moment I had dreaded had arrived. Nick and Gertie’s figures were evident near my locker as I got closer to the two. “Jesus, Tate, I haven’t seen you all day, were you hiding in your shell my little turtle” Nick teased whilst patting my head.
I explained how I felt a bit queasy after I was assigned to tutor Malachi Werner. Nick release a loud roar of laughter as he recalled the embarrassing memory “ I can’’t believe you still like that pot head, girl you deserve better” , Gertie's face twisted in disgust at the new information “ I would never go for someone like him, strangely I agree with our good friend Nicholas here, you deserve better”
Their assumptions triggered a dark feeling within me “Stop jumping to conclusions, I do not have any feelings what so ever for Malachi Werner” I snapped muttering a quiet ‘back off ‘as I made my way to the Library to meet Mr Werner.
I entered the quiet premises, the librarian shushed me as the door I entered the automatic doors. loosen up you old fart. I picked a couch which was visible from the entrance so Kai- Malachi , could find me.
The wait felt like eternity, what was taking him so long?. There was 5 minutes of lunch left and he was nowhere to be seen, just as I was preparing to leave, The oh so familiar face protruded towards my direction. It had been so long, although he had been at this school for a couple of months now, I always ignored him out of fear. The pitt of my stomach wrestled a mysterious element. My hands moistened rapidly.
He had changed a lot lot physically, his skin had gone from a pale colour to tanned, his stature had gone from slouchy to a straight confident posture, I didn’t notice how tall he was until his demeanour towered over my small frame. i hadn’t noticed that I was gazing into his dreamy eyes until he exclaimed a snarky remark aimed at my creepiness “ dude, are you alright.. you’re not having a seizure right?”
I felt the humiliation spread through my body, I looked down embarrassed by my actions. “So are you going to teach me anything uh… what’’s your name” he continued.
I could fill my heart sink, he had forgotten my name. “ Ta- Talia” I lied, I didn’t want to relive the embarrassment that I endured in Middle school. “Why were you late, I waited for 30 minutes” I questioned.
Malachi looked at me as if I had said the most moronic he’’d ever heard in his life. “ I had better things to do” he let out an obnoxious laughter that was shushed by the librarian.
He continued his imperious rant “ Listen babe, I don’t really give a fuck about this whole thing. I’’m only doing this because Im trying to impress my mother okay?, let’s just pretend i learnt something today and move on with our lives yeah?”
I stood there dumbfounded with the amount of disrespect he unleashed towards me. I hadn’t noticed that he had vanished until I was snapped back into reality by the librarian telling me that I needed to head back to my last two classes as lunch had finished. I equipped my backpack and made my way out of the library which was placed separately from the classrooms. Just as I stepped out, the smell of smoke filled my nostrils and caused me to cough incessantly. I followed the smell which lead me to the back of the library and I was genuinely surprised to see Malachi perched against the wall smoking a cigarette. I guess what Nick had told me was true.
“You know class has started?” I chimed in, slightly startling the troubled adolescent.
A pique grunt left his lips before he spoke “Yeah, so what are you still doing here?”
“Why are you doing this to yourself?”
“I need it” He rolled his eyes, he rotated his neck so he was facing me. From here I could see his face in full definition, he looked rugged. Whatever he was doing was slowly was killing him.
“No you don’t, Malachi”
“listen Talia, some people have their ibuprofen or Panadol, this right here” he huffed out cloud of smoke , “this is my medicine, my temporary fix”