In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The New School.”

And disregarding daily prompts suggestions so that I can continue my story…

I didn’t want to go to that school. One of the reasons was that I didn’t like the uniform. Another was that I had heard that it was very strict. But the main reason was that I wanted to stay with my friends.

The boys also had to travel some distance to a different school so they left before I did, which was lucky because it meant that I had more time in the bathroom. I woke to the alarm and lowered myself sleepily down my steps. I had hung my uniform on a hanger and fixed it over the edge of the hatch, because the attic wasn’t really big enough for a twelve-year-old to get dressed in. I took it into the bathroom, got washed and dressed and went downstairs for breakfast. Mum had made bacon sandwiches. The uniform felt funny. Like wearing somebody else’s clothes.

Mum made sure that I had my train-pass and checked the list of whatever it was that I was supposed to take in my bag, and I off I went. On the station platform, I saw older girls in the same uniform, standing in groups, chatting and larking about. I could taste that metallic taste of trains in my mouth. I felt sick. Eventually the train came and I sat as far away from the girls as I could, watching them so I would know when to get off.

I looked out of the window, wishing all the time that I didn’t have to go to school. As the train lurched to a stop, I followed the group of girls, keeping a good distance behind. Then I spotted someone from my old school. I didn’t know her very well – she was a quiet girl with a rather limp demeanor, who didn’t live near me. I approached her and asked if she knew where we had to go. She did. Her sister was already attending the school, in fact that was her up ahead, with the mass of black curls, joining the group of girls that had been on my train.

608px-St_Philomena's_Catholic_High_School_for_GirlsHer name was Linda and I think her older sister was quite happy to have shaken her off. When we arrived at the school gates there was a very large intimidating lady dressed in a burgundy suit, graying hair pulled back in a forbidding bun, telling the newcomers where to go. We were rounded up into the assembly hall which had a strong smell of new varnish mixed with some unidentifiable chemical. I felt sick again. I had lost sight of Linda. I couldn’t tell you what the assembly was about but it took quite some time, giving me the opportunity to scrutinize the teachers who lined themselves up across the stage. I didn’t like the look of any of them.

At the end of the assembly, our names were called out and we were shown to our classroom. Most of the new girls seemed to know each other and had already picked their desks by the time I arrived. I didn’t feel as though I was meant to be here. I had no choice but to take one of the desks that were still free in the front.  A few more girls came in from the corridor. I recognized Linda, the last to come in, looking timid and lost.  I smiled at her and pointed to the empty desk next to me.  I was relieved that I wasn’t by myself any more.

Photo Attribution

“St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls” by The Saatchi Gallery : London Contemporary Art Gallery – http://www.saatchi-gallery.co.uk/portfolio/SchoolInfo/St+Philomenas+Catholic+Girls+School/534299.html. Licensed under Copyrighted free use via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:St_Philomena%27s_Catholic_High_School_for_Girls.jpg#/media/File:St_Philomena%27s_Catholic_High_School_for_Girls.jpg

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