I wasn't lost. I'd simply ended up in someplace that I hadn't intended to, nor did I recognise. But the last thing that I was going to do was pull out my map like some nerdy little year seven. Instead, I assessed this alien location. There was a solar panel covered building before me that I hadn't been in yet, but the one behind me looked a lot like the back of the science labs. Beyond that was a hint of a field, and then another block.
The sound of a dying whale erupted from somewhere, namely my stomach. An acute, ravenous pang struck me, strong enough to make me momentarily desperate enough to consider asking someone where the hall was. But with that desperation came the realisation that I may have passed the unknown venue. If I retraced my steps and found my way back to the English block then-
I opened an eye to find I was staring up at the sky and I appeared to be much closer to the ground than I had a few seconds ago. A kinda familiar figure was crouched down beside me, flicking strands of hair out of his hair as he anxiously examined me. "Hey, are you alright?"
I tried to place him, but my brain was still recovering from the shock of being whacked to the floor. Having caught my breath, I gave a nod, though he didn't look fully relieved.
"Look, I didn't mean to- I had no idea you were gonna turn around or that I was even swinging the folder..."
"It's fine," Sitting upright, I brushed off the dust that coated my blazer.
At first I wasn't entirely sure why I appeared to be so unscathed, until I stood up and discovered that a throbbing sensation surrounded my butt. Not that I was about to admit that to this guy, who was becoming increasingly irritating,, by the fact that he wouldn't leave and I couldn't work out where I knew him from.
"I'll walk it off," I assured him as my body decided that my lack of food was a more pressing concern than my aching behind and so gave another rumble.
"The food hall is that way, round the corner and then past the gym," He said, gesturing lamely before adding, "I'd show you, only I've gotta take this folder to Art before I get a detention."
"Thanks," I staggered in the direction that he'd pointed, hearing his footsteps almost sprinting past me as he darted off.
By the time I reached the hall only a stinging remained, and walking had grown less painful. A handful of students were waiting, most of them considerable smaller than me. At least if it was only lower school in the hall then nobody would force me to sit with them. Having been subjected to several minutes of the inane, high-pitched chatter of year sevens, the sullen dinner lady finally granted me access to the watering hole of the school jungle.
A brief glance around the crowded hall confirmed that this school had the most complicated lunch system I'd ever experienced. Going to the shortest queue, my gaze wandered along the aisles. I knew I had attended far too many schools by how easy the cliques were to spot. In between all the miniature figures, I spotted a clump of older students that lingered over two tables.
The gang of boys were like buffalo. Each built broadly, they slurped their drinks at a table that was messier than if five year olds had been eating there. One gave a loud belch as if to prove my categorisation. Their raucous banter flew across the table as fast as the rugby balls they probably flung to one another on the school field.
Sat beside them were the popular girls: lions, rulers of the jungle. But their shrill, itchy squawks and the way they picked their peers apart like meat upon bones reminded me more of vultures.
Everybody else was just another animal within the kingdom. I was well aware of how this kingdom perceived me, assuming the role of an insect. Never truly desired, always avoided. Viewed as some kind of exhibit to be marvelled over, until they decide I'm a freak.
YOU ARE READING
"If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then it is a duck." Taylor Adams and Lily Baker: complete opposites in almost every sense. Taylor Adams: completely themselves when appearing and acting as androgynously as their name suggests, even if i...