6. Stardust

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 As soon I entered the classroom, I saw Andrea Fioretti sitting in the first row. First row, I should have expected that. But him being in my class? No. Fucking. Way. Even seeing him downtown or in the hallways made me cringe. Not because I hated the guy (no one wasted their energy on hating him), but because I never knew what to do. What do you do when you see someone who used to be your best friend? And when they despise you because you now hang out with the wrong crowd? Yeah, guys like Andrea used that phrase.

So what could I do? I looked at him, he looked at me. Something in his eyes sparked. And that was it. Or maybe not. Maybe something in my eyes sparked too. Nostalgia? Anger? Regret? Perhaps it was just surprise.

Andrea Fioretti. I had known the guy for eight years, so why is it that I didn't even remember the sound of his voice? I knew that his mother was nice, his favourite colour was blue and that he always had so much to say about Spider-Man. He hated it and thought I loved it and always wanted to debate over it. But I didn't love Spider-Man, nor hated it. I just didn't care.

I scanned the classroom searching for her. And there she was. Not in the last row like yesterday, this time she was sitting next to the window, two desks away from the blackboard. And just like that, she made Pietro Rossi sit in front of the teaching post, an idea he would have considered absurd at any other moment of his life.

"Hi," I said. "Can I?"

She looked up and froze for a moment. "Of course."

I put my helmet on the desk and unzipped my hoodie. The door slammed shut. Everyone stopped talking and moved their gaze to the person that entered the room. A young woman with a backpack and three purses stood in front of the blackboard. It looked like her morning was an interesting story, one that she would easily share with us. Wearing blue Oxfords and a yellow dress, she obviously didn't know what teachers were supposed to look like. Or what they were supposed to say.

"If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced."

Those were her first words, which of course made my classmates giggle. God, I hated teachers like this. They made me feel sorry for them and I hated it. Because then I couldn't stand people who mocked them, yet sometimes I wanted to do it myself.

She cleared her throat. "Hello class, I'm Miss Ferlon. I'll be – "

"Are you French?"

There we go. An asshole from the last row was already interrupting her. He was supposedly the class clown of 10th B. He wasn't funny, he wasn't witty, and I couldn't tell who was more awkward between the teacher and him. I think the guy's name was Enrico. And what I didn't like about Enrico is that he was a sweet, little nerd with teachers like Miss Libertini and a douchebag to people like Miss Ferlon. Dude, if you want to be a rebel at least be consistent.

"No, I'm not French, but thank you for your question. Anyway, uhm, what we're gonna do today is... I wanna get to know you, okay? So all you have to do is tell me something about yourselves."

She walked around the classroom and put blank sheets of paper on every desk. "I don't wanna know your names, your age, your nationality or your favourite TV show. I just wanna know you. Who you are, as a person. And words are irrelevant when it comes to that, they're simply not enough. So what I'm asking you is to find a different way to communicate who you are. Visual communication. Art. You can draw anything you want, from a Mona Lisa to a simple dot. And it doesn't have to look good, that's not the point. It has never been the point. It just has to be real, it has to represent you." Once she finished her speech, she sighed of relief and wished us to enjoy our assignment.

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