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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: First Day of School (06/28/04)

TITLE: Cindy Mason, Freshman
By Beatrice Scalf


Cindy wiped her wet palms on the legs of her jeans. Her stomach churned inside her. She hated this feeling. She thought that by now she would be used to it. After all, ten different schools in twelve years ought to prepare someone to be the new kid in school.

Cindy sat next to her dad, Captain Jack Mason, United States Army. That’s how he always introduced himself, as if the fatigues and crew cut didn’t give him away. Their Buick glided down the street without a care in the world. It was easy to do if you didn’t have to face another throng of strange looks, sidelong glances, and ill-hidden whispers. Her stomach churned harder as she realized they were pulling into the drop-off lane in front of Thompson High School. She listened to her dad’s pep talk about being a good soldier and doing her best, then exited the car with “easy for you to say” on her breath.

The front hall of the building was pretty typical as was the office, which she found easily. She had been registering herself for the past three years and two schools. It was old hat now. The only difference now was that students were manning the desk, and she was going to be in high school. It frightened and exhilarated her all at the same time.

“Hi, can I help you?” She blinked at the nametag worn by the cutest guy she had ever seen. It read: Sean Adams, Junior. There went her stomach again, for pity’s sake!

“I, uhm, need to, uhm…” She let the sentence trail before shaking her head and opening her mouth to finish, “I need to regis-gggrrrrrruuupppp!” Had she actually just done that? Couldn’t it be a horrible nightmare that she had just greeted Prince Charming with a big, fat belch? Mortified didn’t even begin to describe her embarrassment. She raised her head just slightly enough to see that Sean Adams hadn’t even flinched. “I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I just did that. I mean…my stomach, it’s just, well you know…and I’m so nervous…oh please God let this be a dream!” She took a deep breath and waited to hear the inevitable laughter. Only none came. She blinked again. Was this guy for real?

“Register? We can do that in just a couple minutes. Here, start by filling this out.” He handed her a long form and a pen. “You can sit over here and I’ll work on your schedule. What grade?”

“Uhm, ninth.” Cindy finished her paperwork in record time and made it to first period with ten minutes to spare. It was Honors English, which basically meant more Shakespeare and longer term papers. She settled in and enjoyed. It was her favorite class. The incident at the front desk disappeared into a mix of new faces, introductions, books, and lunch. She fared the rest of the day much better than its auspicious beginning.

Finally, it was last period. P.E., her best subject, if you could call it that. Cindy breezed through everything the coach asked of her. After showering and gathering her books she cut through the gym and football field to take the short way home. Not ten paces past the goal line she heard a voice calling her from behind. She turned to see Sean Adams jogging up to her.

“Hey, I’m glad I caught you. I wanted to know if I could walk you home.” Without waiting for an answer he matched her gait with ease. Not until they rounded the corner of Cindy’s street did Sean venture a word. “Did you hear about the “Welcome Back” dance next Friday? Well, would you like to go with me, I mean, if it’s alright with your folks?”

Cindy stopped dead in her tracks, “What about what happened this morning?”

“Oh, well, see when I get nervous, my face gets all blotchy and red. Kind of like now.” He pointed to the color rising on his cheeks. “I guess I just figured we all have something that embarrasses us. I do want to go with you though. Besides, I’ve never known anyone who could belch better than I can.” A huge smile split his face as he paused for her answer.

Cindy was baffled but agreed on the grounds that her parents gave them the go-ahead. As they walked on Cindy thanked God for blessings in disguise and the good day she’d had after all.

Member Comments
Member Date
L.M. Lee07/05/04
great! our youth group has a burping contest at least every road trip...oh the smell...yuck!
Corinne Smelker 07/05/04
I enjoyed this one - fortunately someone was understanding!
Phyllis Inniss07/05/04
Very interesting story. All's well that ends well.
Melanie Kerr 07/09/04
good narrative well told. I felt her embarrassment over the belch.