The Better Side

by Greta Frischling, age 13
The Better Side Greta Frischling is 13 years old and after this school year, she is going into 8th grade. She loves to play soccer and perform on stage/sing. This is her first time doing Writopia but she plans to do it in the future a lot. She writes many things but her favorite is writing realistic-fiction and short stories. Also, she lives in New York City but during quarantine, she is in Southampton.

“Today is the first day of high school and I am COMPLETELY TERRIFIED. Not only because I am scared about high school, because I am sure most people are, but I am scared that this year is going to be the same as every other year. And I am going to be looked at the same as I was looked at for the past eight years. A ghost.”

Lucy

Some people would not know who I was if someone mentioned my name. Or, some people would recognize me (I hope) but I wouldn’t mean anything to them. I feel like I am nothing. And this is the way I have felt all my life. Since day one in kindergarten, I have felt like nobody cared about me and nobody wanted to be friends with me. Today is the first day of high school and I am COMPLETELY TERRIFIED. Not only because I am scared about high school, because I am sure most people are, but I am scared that this year is going to be the same as every other year. And I am going to be looked at the same as I was looked at for the past eight years. A ghost. 

Jordan, who is my brother, drives me to school every morning because his college is right around the corner from school. This is lucky for me because if my brother had to go to college far away, I don’t know what I would do with myself. He is basically my best friend, and because nobody talked to me at my school, I could at least talk to him because he actually understands me. We were parked outside of school and I had my blue backpack on my lap, not wanting to go inside. I knew it would be the same as it always was. I would walk into the hallways and not one person would hug me or say, “Hi Lucy! How was your summer?” Because that’s just how it was. 

Alexander

Today is the first day of high school and I have been looking forward to this moment my whole life. I feel like high school is thought of as a trainwreck of four years, but I feel like these four years are going to be awesome. My girlfriend, Jessica and I have walked to school together for the past two years. Her house is two houses down from mine and we have been dating since 6th grade. She screams, “Alex!!!” from all the way down the block. I have not seen her all summer because I go to sleepaway camp in Maine and she goes to sleepaway camp in Texas. We began the short walk to school together and Jessica would not stop talking. 

“How was your summer? Mine was great! I made all of these new friends at camp. Did you? I missed you! Not excited for school though. I hope we have the same homeroom! What did you have for breakfast? I had waffles.”

She did not even give me a chance to answer anything! I tried my best by saying, “My summer was good. I made friends at camp. Missed you too. I also hope we have the same homeroom. I had fruit and water.”

That is basically how our relationship goes. She asks and I answer. There is no need for me to ask anything, because she will always make sure it has been said. Once we got inside the doors, I was tackled by all of the boys on the basketball team. 

I would say that I am pretty liked by my whole grade, but I have definitely earned that considering I have tried and tried and tried to just fit in. My family is not the type of family that I would call “normal.” Not one member of my family cares about their reputation or my reputation at all. They are completely EMBARRASSING!!!! Which is why I walk with Jessica to school every morning. 

I couldn’t believe it was finally here, the moment that I have been waiting for all my life. Somehow, I was not at all nervous to walk into homeroom and I don’t understand how some people are.

Lucy

I’m so nervous to walk into homeroom! I am watching some kids like Alex Brown just walk into that classroom with a handful of friends around him and then there is me. Alex Brown has brown hair and brown eyes and I don’t think he has once had to worry about not having friends. I have had a crush on Alex Brown since the first grade and I bet that he has never heard the name Lucy Goldberg once in his life. If only I had at least one class with him!! Then I could maybe try talking to him. I don’t even know what I am thinking, considering I am me and he’s Alex Brown. We don’t need to talk about how he has a girlfriend. 

My homeroom is room 207 which is of course the longest walk from the entrance. This walk is basically going to be the walk of shame for me considering I know that I am walking to a room that is not going to notice me or care about me. It’s basically just a pointless walk to nowhere. I wish I were homeschooled. That would be waaaaaayyyyyyy easier. I began the long walk to room 207 as I watched all of the friend groups reunite, wishing I were a part of one. One friend is all I need and I don’t even have that. At least I have my brother. I don’t know why I can’t make friends. When someone like Jordan really gets to know me, they will know I don’t become shy at all when I am around them. I think it’s just scary having to make friends. 

As I continue to walk, thoughts rush through my head. What if when I walk into the classroom there will be people that might actually notice me? What if some of these people want to be my friends? I finally get outside of room 207,  I grab my books and take the step in. This was it. The moment I have been dreading my whole life. 

Alexander

 My homeroom was in room 210, pretty far from the entrance so I was happy once I finally got there. Mr. Goldberg, my teacher, seemed pretty nice, at least as nice as a teacher could get. I somehow recognize the name Goldberg, but I don’t know from where. I sat down at my desk in the front of the room (how fun), but luckily Jake and Connor were next to me. We played the same introduction game that we play every single year. I thought it would stop once we at least got to middle school, but it didn’t. And then high school is here, and we are still playing it! There isn’t even a new kid in my class. I have known these kids since I was 6 years old and you would think I would know their names. 

After homeroom, I went to find my locker. I put my bag inside and took my books for my next class, math. I suck at math and I always have. My parents have tried everything, tutors, study groups, special help from my teachers, literally they once tried teaching me. I just can’t get it. As I grabbed my graph paper notebooks and my pencil case, a girl ran into me. She seemed pretty familiar but I didn’t know her name. “Watch where you’re going!” I said. 

She replied, “Oh my gosh oh my gosh oh my gosh I’m so sorry.” 

Lucy

Math! My favorite class. In math I feel as if the rest of the world doesn’t matter and it is just me, a whiteboard, a pencil, and numbers. I don’t need to worry about being more social or making friends. I was on the way and I was very late. I HATE BEING LATE! So I ran. I was running and bumped into Alex Brown.

“Frick!” I thought to myself. He snapped at me.

“Watch where you’re going!” he said. Even though these were the first words he has ever said to me, I was so happy. He noticed me! He probably already forgot this moment but I will remember it forever. 

I got to math and sat down at my desk which was thankfully in the back. I looked around and to my surprise I saw Alex. I wonder if he likes math. Sadly Alex’s head was facing me so I couldn’t see him fully, and he couldn’t see me. I bet he will never know I am in this class. Math was only the second period of the day and I already had so many thoughts. Would Alex talk to me more this year now that I have a class with him? I really hope my parents aren’t going to flood me with questions about today when I get home. Should I join a sports team? No I should not, I can’t play sports for the life of me. Maybe I will write a book. What will happen if I just start talking to people more? Do I not have friends because I am shy or because nobody wants to be friends with me? 

All of these thoughts were going through my head when I realized that I had to start paying attention, there was already a whole board filled with do-now problems that I did not know how to solve. Shoot. 

Alexander

Math did not go well. At all. Now I need to meet with my teacher after school and I do not want to. I don’t know why, but it is awkward when I am alone with teachers. 

Lucy

After math class, I had to go up to our teacher Mrs. Corrine, and ask for a meeting time after school because I “didn’t understand the concept.” She said that I could come but she already had a student coming so we would have to meet the three of us. I was fine with that because it makes it less awkward being alone with a teacher. 

Next I had a free period, where most kids go hang out with their friends or get work done. If I really really really wanted too, I would go over to where some of the girls in my grade were sitting and maybe talk to them, maybe. But, I would rather journal in my notebook. I like making lists and today my list was about what I wanted to accomplish by the end of freshman year.

Lucy’s Bucket List for Freshman Year 🙂

By Lucy Goldberg 😀

  • Get at least one friend
  • Join a team or club of any kind
  • Talk to Alex Brown a lot more
  • During free periods do more than journal
  • Be more confident
  • Matter 

Alexander

The rest of the day was the usual except for the fact that I knew I had to meet with Mrs. Corrine after school because I can’t do math. Once it was the end of the day, I felt like I was moving in slow motion. I moved as slow as possible, one step every 3 seconds down the hallway to grab my things out of my locker. Mrs. Corrine’s classroom was sadly only two classrooms down from my locker so I wasn’t even that late (sadly). I put my bag around my shoulders and walked inside the classroom, and I saw the girl who ran into me in the hallway. I have never been in a room pretty much alone with either of them before, so this would not be fun. 

Lucy

WHAT IS HE DOING HERE. I can’t focus when he is around me. I know myself and I know that I am going to only be worried about how I look and if I am doing the problems right, instead of actually paying attention because that’s what I am here for. “Lucy focus. You don’t want to come back a second time and explain to Mrs. Corrine why I had to come back for a second time to re-re-learn it.” I told myself. I have to focus. I have to. 

The hour in this classroom is going by so slowly and Alex doesn’t seem very good at math so that is making it even slower. I glanced up at the clock on the ceiling in front of me. 4:15. 4:18. 4:22. 4:29 and 55 seconds. Finally after the clock hit 4:30, I ran out of the classroom and I regret that decision already. I could have at least been respectful to Mrs. Corrine and even talked to Alex. I need to really get better at talking to other people.

My brother was waiting outside in the car perfectly on schedule like always. I’m not one of those kids who have to wait for their parents to come get me 2 hours late, because I have Jordan. 

“How was school today?” Jordan asked. 

“Okay,” I said. “I had to meet with my teacher after school which is why I am late, sorry.”

“Why? What happened?” he asked. 

“Remember Alex Brown?” 

“Yeah.”

“Well, he is in my math class and I keep getting distracted and I ended up missing the 

whole math lesson and had to meet with my teacher after school and then, get this. Alex was in my lesson with Mrs. Corrine after school because he doesn’t understand anything,” I told him. 

“I’m so sorry Luc. Just try to focus and know that math is your best subject so don’t let 

anyone else get in the way of that,” Jordan told me. 

The rest of the car ride we listened to music very loudly and drove home without talking to each other, not because we were upset, but maybe because we both had bad days and were sick of talking. 

Alexander

Luckly, I have basketball tryouts now so I don’t have to go home. Somehow I’m not at all nervous for these tryouts and I think it is because I already got my math meeting over with, which is what I had been dreading all day. I walked into the gym and right away saw Jake and Connor, who are two of my best friends. They are in my homeroom and we have been playing basketball together since forever. Our coach, Coach Wessel, blew his whistle and explained how the tryouts were going to go. I went and changed into my basketball clothes and the tryouts began.

Besides me getting a nosebleed halfway through the tryout because I got hit in the nose with a basketball, I think I played very well.

“The teams will be posted tomorrow via email,” Coach Wessel said. “It is very hard for freshmen to make varsity, so freshmen keep that in mind, but I hope to see most of you on our JV team!” 

Just like that, the tryouts were over and it was time for me to wait for my parents, and it normally takes them two hours, because those are the types of parents that they are. 

Lucy

The next day at school, it was the same deal, except I had some hope. My main goal for the day was to talk to someone besides a teacher, and talk to them, not because I will run into them like yesterday. I love Tuesdays because there is still room to make the week the way you want it to because it is only the beginning. If you make a mistake on Monday and need to fix it to make your week still amazing, Tuesday is the day to do it. After homeroom, it was again time for math and I was excited. Mrs. Corinne let us choose partners for the in-class problems. I always hate choosing partners because people run to their friends right away and I never have anyone to go to. 

Everyone started scrambling around and trying to follow my goal, I went to the one girl who I recognized that did not have a partner. Her name was Lizzy and we had gone to school together since kindergarten. 

“Hey,” I said. “Want to be partners?” 

“Sure! What’s your name again?” she asked. 

“Lucy.” 

I wasn’t that thrilled that she didn’t know my name, but I was beyond excited that I asked if she wanted to be partners with me and she said yes! I did it. Right when we started to work, Ms. Queller, the head of school, came to our desk and patted me on the shoulder and told me to come to the hallway. Right when I think I am making a friend, this happens, and this NEVER happens. 

“What is it?” I asked.

“Well, honey, your brother has had an accident.” 

Alexander

It was time to find out what basketball team I made, if I made any of them. I wasn’t expecting varsity, but it would be awesome if I was on it. I saw the list, it was maybe 30 feet away so the names were just a blur. I could see as I was taking steps forward that the list was in a T-chart, one half was JV, one half was varsity. This was all of the high school boys on both teams so I was most definitely on JV. But, what if I was on varsity? I got super close to the list, I closed my eyes and hoped that I was on a team with at least Jake, Connor, or both of them. I opened my eyes and I went straight to the varsity list. I saw Jake and Connor at the top of the list! Now I really hope I am on varsity. I scrolled down with my finger, name after name after name and finally, there I was! I made varsity! Best. Day. Ever. 

Lucy

“What do you mean, an accident?” I asked Ms. Queller in a concerned tone. 

“He is right now in the hospital with your mom and dad. I can drive you over there now. He was in a pretty severe car crash but that is all I know.” 

So we got in her car and it was a silent car ride. I was completely hysterical. I needed my brother to be okay. I didn’t have anyone else. Without him I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to and have nobody to listen to me. Even worse, I would be picked up from school late! I prayed he would be okay and I tried to stay calm and breathe, but I couldn’t. Once we got to the hospital after 15 minutes in the car with the head of school, I was able to find my parents. Normally, it would be so so so so so awkward being in a car with Ms. Queller, but today, it wasn’t because we both knew it was very important. My mom was crying. My dad was yelling at the nurses to try to get some information out of them because they hadn’t heard anything. Ms. Queller was still there and I was completely clueless. It was chaos. 

After about an hour, a doctor named Dr. Julie came and spoke with my parents and me. She told us, “Jordan has many severe injuries but for right now we think he is going to be alright. He will have to get spinal surgery because he broke a bone in his back and has broken his right leg. As well as this, he is going to be put in a neck cast but for now we don’t think he needs neck surgery. You should all be so thankful that he is still alive. In a few moments, if you would like you may come and see him.” Dr. Julie walked away and we all sat in silence. Silence. It is often a trend with me and with my family, especially Jordan. Silence is what we refer to when we don’t know what to say or when something is hard to process and talk about. It helps me regroup my feelings and be at peace with myself. 

Lucy

I went to visit Jordan in the hospital room, and I asked if I could go in alone. I took a few deep breaths and slowly walked in to see Jordan lying down on a hospital bed with lots of machinery around him. Jordan’s blond hair was all stuck to his face and he had scrapes and was bleeding everywhere. His blue eyes looked up at me almost as a cry for help. I was scared. I knew he was the same brother he was before this happened, but hospitals really gave me the creeps and I did not like seeing Jordan like this. 

“Jordan?” I asked very quietly to get him to notice me.

“Hey Lucy” he replied in a whisper.

“Um, uhhh, are you going to be okay?”

“I will be completely fine. Don’t be scared about me. I need to sleep though,” he replied. 

I walked out of the room quietly and in shock and ran straight to my parents. I started crying and couldn’t stop. I just sat there, while my parents went into Jordan, and I cried. I feel like waiting rooms hold a lot of different feelings and energies. Sometimes, people find out great news from doctors and scream with joy. Sometimes people are stressed, because they don’t know what is happening to their loved ones. Sometimes they are in severe pain and are waiting in to see the doctor. And sometimes, people are very sad and cry because their loved ones are hurt, like me right now. 

3 months later (Lucy)

For the past three months, I haven’t worried about anything but Jordan. But finally, after three months of recovery, medicine, surgeries, doctors, and hospital rooms, Jordan was completely okay! The day that Jordan got out of the hospital, I walked into the doors of school the same way I did for the past three months when Jordan was in the hospital, but there was something to be happy about. I walked in with better posture and in my head I just felt happier in general. I was sick of not being noticed and this incident with Jordan opened my eyes up more to see that I can change not being noticed. I walked up to the school bulletin board and saw many club and sports teams. One stuck out to me more than any of the others. On a bright blue sheet of paper, it said, “School Soccer Team. No Experience Needed.” Without even thinking about it, I put my name down and when it came time for practice, I went over to the fields. 

For once, I was super excited especially when I saw Lizzy was there as well and she gave me a smile and wave. Practice continued for the rest of the school year and by the end, I had made friends with almost every girl on the team!

Next Year (Alexander)

I already feel like sophomore year is going to be my year. I again saw a sheet of paper on the bulletin board that said our homerooms and I started having deja vu from last year when I walked over to see what basketball team I was on. I found that I was in homeroom 310 so I walked up the stairs to the third floor and found my seat, only to see the girl who I kept running into last year sitting at the desk next to me. 

Lucy

“Hi!” I said to Alex AS HE SAT NEXT TO ME! 

“Hey,” he replied, being shy.

I thought to myself that this year was going to be way better than last year. I think I found the better side of high school. The side where I actually had friends and I was able to speak to people without being nervous. I finally felt like I wasn’t a ghost. Like I mattered.

The End

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