My first day was not unlike most. I was brought up in front of the class and told to introduce myself with my name and little information. I felt there wasn’t much to say about me, so I said my name and bowed. The teacher showed me where I would sit and began the first lesson. Of course, there was always a fundamental strangeness being someplace that you aren’t used to.
I sat in the centre of the classroom with some kids staring at me until they got so bored seeing such a normal kid that they returned to looking at the board. It wasn’t so different of an interaction from any other student on their first day. However, there was a set of eyes on me that never left. To my left, one row in front of me, there was a girl watching me. She didn’t seem to stop, so for that entire lesson, out of the corner of my eyes, she stared creepily straight through me.
It wasn’t until the end of the lesson that I turned to look back at her to find she was still staring. I waved my hand in greeting, but she stared at me blankly before the teacher excused us. Once he did that we all packed our bags and left as soon as possible. It seems no matter which school I went to every student took their time getting to class and tried their best to leave as soon as possible. On top of that, there was always a student that followed me.
Once out in the courtyard with the rest of the students I tried striking up conversation with a group of guys under a tree. All seemed to be going well until I noticed that they were looking past me at something else and falling silent. I turned to see it was the girl, backpack on and holding the straps, but eyes firmly locked on the back of my head and now my face.
“Uh...hello?” I greeted confused. I held out my hand to see if that got any interaction, but it didn’t.
I turned to ask the other guys if they knew her, but they shrugged telling me they saw her in class, but she never spoke to anyone, especially not them. I believe all of us were growing incredibly awkward and I felt possible friendship slipping away as the guys left me under the tree with the staring girl. I turned to her with a disgruntled look.
“Can you speak?” I asked her to which I did get a reaction. She shook her head. “So you are mute?”
She shook her head once more and looked down. She seemed sad, but there wasn’t anything wrong with her. Her hair was short, her bag pink and her face serious at all times.
“Can you write to me or something?” I asked her.
To this she nodded and sat down, taking out a notepad and began scribbling away. I waited and looked around, wondering if anyone thought this was weird, but everyone was busy talking to each other or playing their games to notice anything but themselves and their friends. I decided then that if she wanted to be friends I might as well give it a shot and sat down with her. She handed me the notepad.
“My name is Lu Shen and I don’t like to speak,” it read. I looked up at her and other than the name that made sense to me.
“Why don’t you like to speak?” I asked handing back the pad for her to write.
“Speaking is bad for me and others. My voice isn’t good.”
“Like it sounds bad?”
“In a way, but it does bad if I speak.”
Discussing that further seemed to be a dead end and I was starting to believe that the girl was traumatized by some tragedy. I didn’t push the subject as I felt from her expression that it was very hard for her.
“Why were you staring at me in class?” I asked her.
To this she did not reply, but instead flip through the pages and showed me a drawing. It was of me and it was incredible. It appeared to be me in every detail, from the clothes I wore to my expression as I was starting at the board the teacher wrote on and half looking at her.
“Wow, that is...really cool,” I noted staring at the drawing. “Do you enjoy drawing?”
She nodded enthusiastically. We discussed that further, but we didn’t get to go into detail. Talking to her this way was slow, so she didn’t have time to say all the things she wanted to before the break ended. However, from what she did discuss I learnt that her mother was an artist like her and she always practiced as much as possible. She thought I was an interesting subject to draw in class because of my unusual face. I knew she referencing my eye which had a scar across it, the eyelid shut and terrible. It was much worse before healed of course.
Unlike most people mentioning my scar it didn’t feel hurtful or filled with pity. Lu simple stated that it made for an interesting drawing and in that I cannot argue. The day progressed normally, but I had the funny feeling inside of me that I would benefit from being her friend. When the day ended I left to the school offices and with my parents permission I switched one of my subjects for art so that I would be in the same classes as her.
My parents asked what drove me to choose art and I gave them a half-lie and then a half-truth. I posed that I had always been interested in art, which I would say only really applied to comics. The half-truth was I thought there were some interesting people I could make friends with, but in reality, there was one great person there who would become my best friend.
Be sure to follow!