A Second Chance

Chapter 1: Blueberry Sweet Tarts

The bus turned onto my road. It pulled up to my house and I climbed on ready for another boring day. The rain was falling like tear drops. I heard a boy in the back of the bus make fun of me. He called me “hollow head,” just like everybody else. Everybody else except my teacher and parents…even the old bus driver called me that dreaded name! I can’t believe he does that but therefore I can never look to him for help or anything. I slouched down in my seat trying to look invisible. Well it worked. Sort of. Everybody ignores me anyway. Even then I could still hear them whispering, “hollow head”. It was like a song that gets stuck in your brain after hearing it ten times on the radio. I wanted to really scream out loud. Scream at the top of my lungs and get back home to write everything into my diary that they were saying. My diary was my companion since my best friend moved to Kentucky. She didn’t call me names and she taught me how to stay strong and fight back. I don’t remember much about that. Everything has died down since the move. The move. I remember that day. She drove away and the last thing she said to me was candy cane. That was our secret way of saying goodbye. I do remember one thing she taught me. She said that there was more than one way of fighting back . . .
Patricia was called a mean name too: she was called “sweet tarts”. It sounds nice, but it wasn’t. It was terrible. It was because she went to a birthday party two years ago when we were in third grade and blueberry tarts were spilled all over her new shoes. The shoes were bright pink and they said SWEET on the side. The stain lasted forever and is still there. That’s her story and soon I’ll speak of mine. Of why they call me hollow head. She was lucky. She was able to move out of this wacky old town. I wished I could.

Chapter 2: Hollow Head

The bus stopped at my house and I jumped off. It was Friday!!! I fled up the stairs and into my bedroom where my diary was waiting for me. I skipped through the pages until I got to my forbidden story. As I mentioned once before, kids find it fun to call me hollow head. My real name happens to be Rachel. Rachel Staw. But that doesn’t seem to matter to anyone. I don’t like talking about the story of how it all happened but here goes. In second grade I had a birthday party. [Yes, another birthday party story!] Well Patricia and I both received our nicknames at birthday parties, but dare I say mine was a little more dramatic? Once all of my guests had arrived, they all asked me if they could see my room. Before you knew it they were all waiting at my door for me to open it. I turned the knob and the door swung open. Everybody’s mouths dropped open - except Patricia’s. A girl with a big mouth yelled, “BORING!” Two girls started whispering. I blushed. Did they think my room was that bad? You see I did not have a decorated room at all. My walls were all white, my bed was black, and so was my closet of clothes and my lamp. There was not much more to my room except the white carpet and a window by my bed. I didn’t think it was as bad as they did. Andrew, the class clown said, “it’s like you don’t have an imagination at all - it’s almost like, like - your head is hollow!” Some kids giggled and I decided to say what was on my mind. I explained to them that if I decorated my room one way now, I wouldn’t be able to change it without working so hard when I grew bored of it. They didn’t find this very convincing. “So what?” said Cam the tattletale in the back. “Yeah!” Said Melanie, the popular blond. That Melanie came up to me and asked me if everything in my room was that way, like my clothes. I was shrinking inside. I wondered why she really minded. I replied that I didn’t think so. That was all I could think of; don’t blame me, my mind just went blank. At that, she asked me to prove it. “But how?” I asked back, trying to gain some time. She held up one finger at me and strutted over to my closet, opened it and found black and white all over again… “Shocking!” She said. She was the girl who went to school the next day and told almost everybody. Word spread and more people began to call me hollow head. After a few weeks of whispering and passing notes in class, the whole school knew. Sadly, even the bus driver stared when I got on and off the bus. So that’s my story, and that’s how it all began. It was just me, Patricia and my diary facing the crowd.

Chapter 3: Jigsaw Puzzles

Today at school, my teacher asked us to go down to the first grade classrooms and teach the first graders how to master jigsaw puzzles. I was excited to do this because I just love jigsaws. So I went down and started playing with a fifty-piece puzzle with a chubby little first grader. He was pretty smart and figured it out in a wink. Once he had finished I was supposed to move onto a seventy-five piece one with him and so I did. It turned out this one was a picture of a kid getting bullied, and this first grader began to cry. I quickly pulled out another one and thankfully it was just a forest deer so I let him at it. There wasn’t much to teach him so I was free of work for now. Unless he cried again that is. That last puzzle was helpful to me though, because it reminded me of my mean nickname. You know, the bullying and all. I thought about the whole jigsaw puzzle part and an idea popped into my head. Maybe the way to make them stop was just all in a puzzle…that was it! I was still thinking about this idea when the kid tapped my shoulder and asked me if we could do another jigsaw. We moved onto a one hundred-piece puzzle and after that we were done and I carried on with the rest of the day. All I could think about through every subject was my idea. My answer!!!

Chapter 4: Lies???

Yesterday, I was discussing the puzzle with my parents and listening to their advice. They said I could decorate my room! They also said they would give me an allowance to buy some new clothes…but only if I did some chores for it. That part threw me a bit…
Today I tried out my idea. I stood waiting for the bus, letting the wind rush through my chestnut brown hair. I had washed it and was wearing mom’s red shirt and my little cousin’s red shoes. In the fog I could see the yellow school bus approaching. It stopped and I walked on in hope that my plan would work. Unfortunately the bus driver looked confused and started knocking his head on the steering wheel just to be sure he was ok. Well that was rude. You’d think he’d be surprised, but happy. Oh well, it was the kids that I wanted to impress. I cheered myself up and jumped back on my confident horse. I strutted over to a seat just as Melanie did at my birthday party. I sat down in a seat closer to the kids in my grade than usual. I was determined to show them that my wardrobe wasn’t that boring. There was a catch however. I would have to give the clothes back and then I’d be back to nothing. But if they were impresses today, I would get new clothes. I also wore this color so that I could convince them that my favorite color was red. I hate red really though. A girl who mostly avoided a seat with me climbed in next to me and stayed quiet for a while. Eventually she asked me why I was wearing this color and I was glad. Now it was time to look convincing. I sat up straight and came out with it like it had been that way forever. “Em… I like the color red. Get it?” I asked. I tried to seem as if it was obvious. “Oh, really? She asked back. I nodded. She didn’t look convinced. She shook her head. “You’re just trying to fit in” she sneered. At that my head dropped. I closed my eyes, covered my face with my hands, and said under my breath, “Why can’t you just accept me?” I looked up when all my anger had faded and she had snuck off. She had left me and she was ready to tell everybody. I sighed. Lies don’t work. They just create another problem.

Chapter 5: Good News

I woke up the next morning to the sweet smell of eggs and bacon coming up the stairs from down in the kitchen. Really? Normally its just cereal unless something good just happened or it’s a special occasion. I couldn’t think of anything. I shoved my slippers on and headed down the stairs with sleeping crumbs still in the corner of my eyes. Maybe mom got a good grade on a test at nursing school or something. The kitchen door was shut and I slowly turned the knob. As soon as the door cracked open my mother popped up in my face. “Who wants to know the news?” she asked, all hyped up. I sat down with a plate, some eggs and bacon then asked her to lay it on me. She hummed as she spoke flipping an egg on the stove. “Guess who’s moving?” She said. My mouth dropped open, just like my guests had at my party in the second grade. “No way.” I said. “Us?” She nodded her head and my eyes widened. Now I get the chance that Patricia got when she moved!!! To start fresh! This was the start of a new beginning and it was the last piece of the puzzle. I could hardly believe it but it was true. And just to be sure, I even pinched myself. Everything stayed the same. It was like I sprouted wings and I could fly!!! I would have freedom from the nickname - that is , if we were moving to a new district. Turned out we were. We were moving into the other
end of the state, into the Catskills. My heart was beating fast as she told me all of this. We were going in two days and today I should start to pack! I got straight to it, thinking of how happy I would be in a new place.

Chapter 6: The Big Green Truck

To begin packing, I got out my big black suitcase. I pulled all my black and white clothes out of my closet and stuffed them into the suitcase. Once all of them were in there, I found that there was just enough room for my bedspread so I stuffed that in too. Now all that was left was my rug, and lamp, which I decided not to pack. My furniture still sat there but the moving truck would come tomorrow and deliver it to the new house. It was Friday, and we were moving on Sunday. I took the day off school and Thursday had been my last. I had no friends to tell the news to so as for the rest of the day, I ate my favorite desert, mango smoothies. I did have an appetite. Who didn’t?

On Saturday I woke up exited. All of the furniture was being taken away. In the morning at 9 am the big green truck arrived and parked on the street. I could see that it was big enough to fit our entire luggage in it but was it that strong? I wondered about this for a while when my dad yelled at me to get one of the workingmen in the yellow uniforms and put them to work with my bed. Two tall men walked straight into the house and came out with a bare bed and another with my closet. “That’s all”, I said. It only took five minutes but they were useful and all that was left in my room was that white carpet. I had my black suitcase in there too, but I would take that in the car with me. After another half hour I looked out the window and saw the green truck drive away.

Chapter 7: A Happy Day

Now it was moving day. I trailed my suitcase out the door. I was ready to move. My parents got into the car and I was sitting in the back exited to see the new house! It was only forty-five minutes away and during the journey I listened to holiday music because it was December! “Have a holly jolly Christmas” the radio sang. It carried on, “its the best time of the year.” I was happy to be celebrating the holidays in this way.
We arrived eventually and drove up a long driveway. I was surprised. The house was huge! Five stories? Boy oh boy did I like it. I jumped out of the car and ran to the front door, twisting the knob and running up the flights of stairs. I found a bedroom on the fourth floor that was perfect for me! I went back outside to get my stuff when I noticed the pretty brick on the house and the back yard with the tire swing and pool. I ran back to the bedroom and sat on the floor thinking about what to do next. I would explore the whole house. Floors one through five. I had never had a pool before, not even a tire swing. My old house was made of wood. This one was brick! Oh how much room I had too. Tons of playing ground outside and a wood behind it all. I thought about the holidays. They were coming up soon and we all had presents to buy. My mother said that I would go to my new school after the break because there was only four days of school left and that was simply not enough time to settle in. First I ventured to explore the fourth floor. A bathroom two doors down, two guest rooms and an office for my father. Then the third floor. My parent’s master bedroom, a bathroom, a storage room and the clothes wash room. The floor below that had a kitchen, a lounge, a dining room, another lounge with a piano, and the front and back doors. Underneath that was the bottom floor with a TV room, a bathroom and a small games room. I have however forgotten one thing. The top floor. This was the most wonderful floor of all. It had a room that was connected to my room from a secret staircase in my room! I spent the rest of my day unpacking everything. Then I played on the tire swing and started to venture outside.

Chapter 8: Christmas Eve

By Christmas Eve I really felt settled into the new house. Christmas is my favorite time of the year. My room had been painted! I decided to go with my parent’s advice and used a nice darkish green on my walls. It looked very pretty and my black bed even looked nice with it. The other furniture looked good too and I had a lovely wooden floor. My daddy ordered me a dresser table and a mirror. It was wood just like my floor and the mirror had a beautiful gold rim and hung above the dresser. There were two windows one by my bed and the other looking out to the woods behind the house. A closet sat at the far end of the room with the same clothes in it for now, but for Christmas the money I hoped to get I would use to buy new ones. I was already thinking about what colors to pick...I had also asked Santa for a special gift, a surprise, but I secretly wished for a cell phone - I wanted to text Patricia and other friends that I hoped to make. I would tell her about the new house and how happy I was. Happy this way, here. Where I was now.

Chapter 9: Christmas Day

When I awoke it was another frosty winter morning, but it was not like any other. Iit was Christmas! I scrambled out of bed and down the flights of stairs to the living room on the first floor where presents awaited me. When I walked in I was truly jumped at by my parents screaming “merry Christmas” at the top of their lungs. That shock thrilled me a lot. I just nodded yes back at them and smiled. Then I plopped down on the couch. This couch was my favorite. We had owned it ever since I was born. Presents were everywhere, some on the floor by the tree, some by the fireplace and others just scattered on the floor. I reached for my stocking. Out of my stocking I pulled a Necklace with an R on it. R for Rachel. My mother helped me put it on. I smiled. After that I pulled out three more things: a book that I had been eager to read, a pair of stripy winter gloves that fit just right, and a cap. The cap had written on it: IF YOU THINK THIS OUTFIT IS COOL, YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT MY WARDROBE!! I especially liked that one.! My stocking was empty by now, and we all picked up the gifts that relatives like aunts, uncles, cousins and grandmas bought or made us. I received a game with cards, a Christmas sweater, and an accessories kit. This was the best Christmas ever. But it wasn’t done. Then I gave my parents their gifts. I got mom a long sleeved shirt, and dad a watch. I hope they enjoyed those. Then it was time to open Santa’s gift. It was a small box and I carefully unwrapped it bit by bit, not ripping much. The box fell open. It was a cell phone! Just my wish! I quickly put it on charge and while I was learning how to use it, I went to the kitchen for a glass of milk. When I came back you wouldn’t believe what I saw. Right there in the middle of the room sitting by mom with a bow around its neck, was a puppy! I almost dropped my glass of milk. Putting it down on the table, I ran to hug the pup. It was a he. He was beautiful. There you have it, a pup just for me only a month old. He was a golden brown with white polka dots all the way down his back. He licked my face with his wet, soft tongue. What should I name him? I know. Einstein. Because he was someone who made something new. A scientist. And this puppy would start my new life with me! Not my sad diary as a companion, or Patricia, but him. I would rip all the pages out and throw my diary away because it was the past, and I’d entered the present. A year for second chances. A year to start new, and at school, I would be the kid with the cutest dog, not the kid with the lame imagination. So this is how I survived, moving, and starting fresh. But don’t get me wrong, I texted Patricia all the time and we kept in touch. I told her my story, and she loved it. P.S.- we still used our secret language in texts and emails, and we have never given up, not on anything whether it was keeping a friendship from far away, or fighting against a mean nickname, we never gave up.