After dumping the contents down my throat, a staff member at the door of the canteen asks me how much I've eaten and if I've had bowel movement this morning. I simply nod yes to both questions and walk back to my room to brush my teeth, not realising in the least that my behavior was quite rude and off-putting.
I sit on my bed and continue to wait.
Makayla and Sophia had hit it off this morning, and their shallow attempts at including Ilise and I in their frantic conversations are humorous.
I didn't think much of it, but these girls really made me feel as though I were watching children play. There's nothing antagonistic about their clique-y behavior, it's just embarrassing to watch them choke whenever Ilise and I give them an unsatisfactory response. Ilise is quite playful this way too -- I can tell that she is deliberately messing with them, despite her unmoving expression.
In fact, I think I saw a smile tick up at the corner of her mouth a few times.
Somehow, Makayla and Sophia end up spending the whole morning complaining about the food and the living conditions, and I am unable to cut in to point out that we still have central heating before we are called to the meeting room, or now called the "activity" room.
The chairs from the canteen are arranged in a circle around the empty long tables. There are some girls already seated and chatting loudly. A few shout and punch each other in good humor, only to be repriminded by a caretaker supervising the group.
One of the rules here is to not touch each other. Displays of affection included.
Like last night, I sit immediately next to the door, opposite to the girls already congregated at the far side of the room. Funnily enough, my roommates don't take long before sitting down next to me in solidarity.
I wonder why, I've been so cold to thim all this time, after all.
"Do you know what we're doing today?" I hear Ilise ask the other two with a hushed voice.
"There was a schedule on the outside, and it said there was some kind of music thing today. Today's Wensday, right?" Makayla shot a look at Sophia, who nodded.
I both subconsciously and consciously perk up at the mention of music. That is, I was startled unconsciously, but I continued to be startled even after I realized the fact.
My little movement doesn't escape Makayla, who rapidly catches on, "Oh, do you like music?"
I nod without thinking and mime playing the piano.
"You play piano? Huh, that suits you, surprisingly."
Sophia sounds a bit funny when she says this, and I smile through cracked lips.
...But then nobody says anything, and my lips fall back into a shapeless line.
Which is apparantly to Makayla's dismay.
"Did you just smile?" She squawked without her usual bearings as her eyes widen. "Wait wait, wait, wait! Can you smile again? What the f* k, you're so pretty!"
...Hey, I know what you're thinking. You think that my narcisism is completely taking over this story I'm telling, but that is false! I am stunning, I tell you, STUNNING. It is completely probable for something like this to happen in a room full of adolescent girls.
Not only am I stunning, but I am also handsome, polite, well-mannered, thoughtful, elegant...
"Why don't you smile? Your smile is really beautiful, like, seriously." Someone, probably Makayla, continued and reached out a hand for whatever reason. Unconsciously, I flinch back to avoid her touch.
Makayla looks distraught once more.
"I'm sorry, I acted without thinking, I won't do that again, okay? Please don't be scared of me!"
No, in fact, it's not what you're thinking at all. I'm not traumatized, I'm just keeping the order and establishing boundaries.