The dreaded sound. That irritating tune that played from her phone every morning. The stupid alarm that disrupted her slumber and reminded her that today was a day where she'd wish she weren't alive anymore.
Thankfully, tomorrow was Friday. And then, Maria would have two whole days of peace. But her thoughts intruded by the nagging fear of the possibility that one of them would find her social media accounts.
Maria stood up and rubbed her eyes, patting around the bed to try to find her phone. She stopped the alarm and looked at the time. She had a whole hour of peace before the storm. At least there was that.
Maria stood up and looked around her room, trying to find her glasses, to no success. Sighing, she dressed up, braided her hair, and walked out her bedroom.
"Mom, have you seen my glasses?"
Her footsteps echoed in the house as she slowly walked down the stairs, careful not to trip.
"Oh, no, sorry honey."
Maria sighed. "I was sure I put them on my bedside table, but I guess I was wrong.."
A man, her father, walked to her, and smiled.
"Oh, I have them! They were in the bathroom."
He said as he handed her the glasses. She took them and pushed them up her nose.
And without a word more, she took some cereal, ate it as quickly as she could, then went back upstairs, brushed her teeth, then went to her room, and sat there, on her phone, anxiously waiting for the hour to pass until she had to go.
And then when it came, her heart sank, but she sighed and, reluctantly, grabbed her backpack and shoes, and walked out the house. She barely had time to hear her parents' usual encouragements. She was feeling a bit more jittery today, for some reason. The it'll be okay! and we love you! were only distant noise in her mind, as they were pushed back by all the fears and anxiety that were crawling to the surface. Quickly, she grabbed her headphones, and started her music. The loud guitar immediately lowered her paced breathing and drumming heartbeat and she smiled very faintly, walking towards the bus stop.
It'll be okay, yeah right. It's never been okay, not once for these five years.
There was a raven sitting on the stop sign. It looked at her, and she looked back, taking her camera out of its bag, and quickly snapping a picture of it. One more for the album.
The bus arrived and with it the dreaded feeling came back. Increasing the volume of her music, she walked in the bus, briefly passing her card on the monitor, then sat at her usual spot; the first seat on the first row.
Nobody ever sat there, they all preferred the back much more.
Already in, and she couldn't wait to get home.
The ride was, as always, too fast. It ended too soon. If only she could have a moment more alone…
She got off the bus and, head down, walked up the road to her school, large shoes rubbing against the asphalt. Then students piled around her, loud and cheerful. She wishes she could feel like that.
Then her foot got caught in the other, and she felt herself fall, flat on her face. She heard a few gasps and snickers around, although they were muffled by the music in her ears, thank god. Maria stood back up with difficulty, and sighed. Damn those feet.
She walked in the school, the ambient noise of all the students talking and laughing almost surpassing the one from her headphones, and went to her locker, removing her headphones and hiding her phone in her pocket.
At this point she could practically count the seconds before-
"Hey look, it's a goblin!"
There it was.
Maria stayed silent. Three guys walked behind her, slowly, snickering to themselves
"Is it me, or did her pimples get bigger since yesterday?"
"Nah but her feet did!"
Then laughter ensued as they walked away nonchalantly.
Maria caught her breath, cursing the rules of the school for not letting her keep her headphones on at all time, and tugged her scarf on her face, embarrassed.
Hopefully this day would end quickly.
The bell rang and the stress only got bigger. Come on. She could do this.
As Maria walked to her first class, already the mood was horrible. Her classmates parted as she walked past them, hurrying to get to her seat, luckily located at the very back. She could hear whispers and a few muffled laughs. At least once the teacher arrived, they would shut up. She sighed and sat at her desk, crossing her arms
Maria felt a piece of paper land on her head and tumble down on the desk. She shouldn't even bother reading it. She could guess what was written inside.
Then the teacher walked in, and everyone quieted down. Maria looked up a bit, and got her things out of her bag.
Thank you teacher.
During the class, she doodled in her sketchbook. That raven from earlier was really beautiful. Maybe when she came back home she'd see it again.
A few minutes later and the doodle was done, so she tried bringing her attention back to the class. No success. The stress was making it too hard to concentrate. What was the teacher saying? His mouth moved but nothing coming out made sense to her.
Beat down, she let her mind drift, and her gaze dance around the classroom. It went up to look at the stained egg white ceiling, then to the wall and the windows, and then-
Was this guy staring at her?
She quickly averted her gaze, a bit taken aback and embarrassed, then looked up again.
He had his eyes down on his paper now. She sighed softly and looked back at her drawing. Maybe all that stress was making her hallucinate. Unless that guy was planning something bad, there's no way in hell he'd been looking at her. Maybe he was looking at the girl in front of her and she simply mistook it. That must've been it.
Then class ended, and quickly she stood up and walked off to the next.
Then lunch came.
Maria went to her locker to take her lunchbox, happy that nobody was here waiting for her that day. At least there was that.
But as she sat on the bench outside the school, staring at her sandwich, she realized she wasn't even hungry. The most she could eat was maybe a granola bar, and juice, but she couldn't get the motivation to stomach a whole sandwich.
The stress was making her stomach hurt. If she ate it, she might vomit, and then the bullies have one more reason to laugh at her.
She decided to go to the library, the only place on this damned building where she actually felt a bit less like shit. Maybe she'd have time to relax, draw a few more birds, and calm down before the next class started.
As she looked around the shelves, trying to find a specific book, she bumped into someone. Her feet caught themselves in each other and she fell, her glasses falling and her head hitting the carpeted floor.
"Oh! I'm so sorry!" The person whispered.
Apologizing for hurting her? That was rare.
Silent, she pat around the floor, trying to find her glasses. Then she felt someone gently take her wrist, and drop her glasses in her hand. She looked up, pushing the accessory back on her nose, and her mouth made a "o" when she recognized the person. It was the guy who was possibly staring at her during the first class. "Are you okay?" He whispered, reaching out to help her out. No way she'd take that hand. He might very well be pretending to be nice.
"Yeah. Sorry for bumping into you.." she answered softly, standing up and quickly walking away. Curse those big feet of hers...
As she walked away, she grabbed a random book, and went to a table, sitting down in a chair and started reading.
Who even was that guy? He looked like a typical jock, with his hockey shirt and muscular build. Was he new from this year? He probably was, she couldn't remember his name.
The bell rang, interrupting her thoughts, and, reluctantly, she stood up, put her book back, packed her things and left.