It was the first day of school and I was lost. The school was big and loud. Hundreds of conversations flooded my ears. A sea of bodies ebbed and flowed throughout the passageways. Difficult to move and unable to see the stars, I lost my bearings. The hallways seemed endless. White wall, lockers, doors, lights, signs, lockers, doors; everything looked the same. Feeling that I would never find the room; I felt my stomach clutch. You idiot I thought, just calm down. Regaining some composure, I suddenly saw it. 101. This was the room, the door was wide open and so I entered.
To my surprise the room seemed already full. After a careful inspection, there were two desks open. The desks were towards the back and seemed like a nice place to get lost in the crowd. As I reached my destination, I noticed that one of the desks had a pink notebook sitting on its seat, so I decided to take the other chair. It was a plastic seat with a snarl of shiny metal and an un-majestic wood desktop to match. Inscribed on it were, "I love Amy", "Menudo forever", "Jack is bad", and "for a good time call 234-"...it really didn't matter what was written on it, I needed a seat. I collected myself, breathed sigh of relief and sat down.
"Hi, I'm Zoey, do you like Menudo?” she said.
Looking to my left I saw a friendly face, brown eyes, brown hair and a smile to match. She reminded me of my Hispanic elementary school friends in Texas. Oddly, she seemed overly eager to speak with me.
As conversion reentered my mind, I thought "What a strange introduction?" Two weird introductions in one day, what the heck, is everyone here weird?
"Hello, do you speak English?” Zoey asked inquisitively.
"What?" I said. "Of course I do." I started to feel annoyed.
"Sorry, I just drifted a bit; it's my first day of school. To answer your question, sure I like menudo, my dad makes it all the time."
She looked very puzzled and said. ”What? I'm talking about the band".
"What band?" I replied.
"This one" she replied and joyfully showed me her Menudo folder containing all boy members of the band.
Perplexed, I didn't know what to say. Then I remembered that I might have seen a music video once...
"I think I saw a video on Saturday morning after the Smurfs."
Oh crap! I said it. I just admitted I watched the Smurfs. Oh Azrael, help me know.
"Oh my god, tell me more!" she exclaimed. "Aren't they beautiful, and they sing so well and I listen to them in Spanish too."
Whew, she missed it. I thought my freshmen year would be ruined; I didn't want to be known as the Smurf watching freshman. A girl might be able to get away with it, but not a guy. Hoping to bury my shame deeper, I decided to dive into the world of Menudo.
"I don't really remember much, but I guess they can sing." I said.
"They are the best singers in the world, especially Ricky. I love Ricky." she replied.
With that, I realized that I was having a sensible conversation about Menudo. Once again a topic that was bad for guys, but OK for middle school girls. Correction, really bad for a guy! Suddenly, admitting that I watched the Smurfs seemed like a better idea. If another guy heard this conversation... oh crap, think fast.
"In the Philippines, there's a dish called Menudo. It's made with meat, potatoes, and raisins and...” I said.
Suddenly a voice broke my ill-fated conversation. "What's your name?” said the empty chair next to me.
"Mike", I replied as I turned to see who spoke.
I didn't know what to say. Shocked. Stunned. Fate was being cruel today.
Sitting there was Margaret. She had a big smile. Darkness came; I got the feeling that our unresolved library conversation was about to continue. "Why me?", I thought.
Then the room became quite, as the teacher came in.