I had been excited to start a new school when I started high school. Middle school had not been kind to me and I was excited to start a new life. I had grown my hair out to as long as my parents would let me and had worked all summer at the nearest McDonald’s so I could save some pocket change for some new clothes. Nobody came in and harassed me while I worked so I guess there were some benefits to moving to a new town right before starting a new school. No one would know me and no one could pester me with questions about my past.
On the first day of school, my dad dropped me off early so I could go by the office to get my schedule. I felt comfortable knowing that every ninth grader would be in the same position as I was – starting their first day at a new school. As the bell rang and students started to file into homeroom, I analyzed their faces to see who I thought I could become friends with. I usually had no qualms of talking to strangers, but I wanted to make sure I talked to the right strangers. A few friendly faces smiled at me and I was beginning to relax until suddenly, I wasn’t. As soon as Grady saw me, he smiled. I thought my tortured days of summer camp were over when I moved away. Now I knew they would begin again.