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Ms. Mejia walked down the stairs, and the girls in the lobby stopped talking and became silent. It was out of respect for the warden or because of fear, but the discipline at the hostel was at its peak, and it felt as if Ms. Mejia had that control over them. But still there were a few girls who were rebellious and didn’t like her as she was stringent with the rules she set.

“Goo-oo-ood mo-orning, Ms. Mejia,” the girls sang as she stepped down and was walking to sit on the chair that was kept for her in front of where everyone was standing.

“Good morning, girls!” Ms. Mejia responded. She looked at one of the nannies signaling her something, and the nanny went from there to get something for her, it looked like. The other nanny smiled and nodded as she turned to her and asked her about the status of something that had to be taken care of by the nanny.

In the meantime, the other one returned with a bunch of pamphlets in her hand. The girls got excited about knowing what pamphlets were these as they were given such leaflets before any event was organized for them. It used to be a proper invitation for them, and they would feel over the moon if the event also had the participation of the boys who lived in the boys’ section of the school which was at the far-end from theirs.

Some girls would still find ways to go to that side of the school and meet the boys. A few would also indulge in hanky-panky with them behind the hostel buildings where not many would visit, and it was a secluded area. The students were scared of the huge trees behind the building that they had made up stories of being haunted and would never go at the back, making it the most exciting place for the so-called “lovers” to display their puppy-love.

Because they were in the teens, even if a boy happened to look at them, they would automatically think about spending the whole life with that boy without thinking about anything else, especially the important things like their career, their parents, their income, their examination result, their studies, so on and so forth. They would feel accomplished as if they were living for only that to happen; being validated by boys their age was a big deal for them.

Staying in the hostel made most of them feel lonely even though everyone was their age, and they would talk to everyone even if it was little or more. They had shaped their lives in a way that they considered that if they were being given attention if they were shown sympathetic pity by others, and they enjoyed the feeling of sadness and compassion that they got from them.

Also, the boys were taught by their seniors on making a girl fall for them, which was not only stupid, but it was also inconsiderate enough of them to make the girl look stupid because they formed strategies on their limited knowledge and a lot of assumptions. They believed that girls were not smart enough to figure out that they were being played.

They thought that they were the smartest of the lot. Their strategies were to live the “cool” lifestyle in the hostel at school; by messing their hair after applying hair gel to look like they were bad boys, by playing football only to be in jerseys in front of the girls, by taking guitar lessons only to walk around with the guitar and showing it off, the girls would go all gaga over them and to quite some extent they were not only right but a few of them were also successful in getting a girl to love them for all of that.

As the nannies distributed the pamphlets to the girls, the look on their faces showed how exhilarated they were as they were reading through the pamphlet. It talked about the first dance socials that they would be having the day after the current day, which was Sunday. The picture of a boy and a girl where the boy had one hand on the girl’s back and with the other one he was holding the girl’s hand was enough to get naughty thoughts in the minds of young girls.

The picture of them dancing made it quite evident that the first ever such event was going to take place for them to celebrate their promotion to senior high now. As they started talking about it to their friends, Ms. Mejia shouted, “Girls! Don’t make this a fish market.”

And when she had pin-drop silence in the lobby and also everyone’s attention, she ordered, “Listen to me.”

“There is one more thing to tell you all. We will be moving to the new building that is near the admin office for one week before your summer holidays start as this building will have a renovation happening to take care of the water leaking problem on the top floor. Please get yourselves packed as the moving has to happen by tomorrow evening at the latest. It will be fun because you will get to meet your new roommates as well. Now that you are going to the senior year, you will be shuffled, and there will not be any floor dedicated to the star performers.”

All the girls were confused about packing and shifting to the new building only for one week before their holidays. Only a very few of them were happy about it because they were the ones who lived on the top floor and suffered from water-leaking in their rooms for quite some days to make happy about the shifting as soon as possible. The whole building needed inspection from the water damage, and thus everybody had to shift.

There was a silver lining to the ones who were slightly raunchy most of the times because that building was closer to the boy’s section, and they would get to see them very often and for much longer. As Ms. Mejia called off the meeting, everyone started climbing the stairs in their respective groups to go to their rooms and start with the packing.

Marie was the last one to join them as she was strolling intentionally to be accompanied by her warden, Ms. Mejia, expecting her to join. She was also going to the first floor as her room was right after the warden’s accommodation.

“How was your graduation ceremony, Marie?" The warden asked as she stepped on the same stair that Marie was already on.

“It was good, Ms. Mejia. I thought you were there,” replied Marie.

“I am sorry for having missed it because of the meeting that I was having with the maintenance department for the repair work.”

“No, miss, it is completely fine. I will show you the pictures when we get them.”

“That will be amazing!”

“See you in the evening,” said Ms. Mejia as they reached the first floor and she entered her room while Marie walked to hers after smiling at the warden showing acceptance for what she said.

A little excited to be going home in a week’s time, she was happy from within about meeting her step-mom and dad and also for having completed her junior high school remarkably well. She couldn’t wait to tell her parents about her results to win her step-mother’s approval. That was something which she had been waiting for since the start but in vain.

Long back her mother died in an accident and within a year’s time her father remarried. The lady was young and was seeking acceptance from someone as she had a love child, and it was a big thing in their country. Her step-mother used to be loving towards her in front of her father, but as he left to work for the day, she would become indifferent to her despite her father being really accepting of her step-mom’s love child.

Marie had been trying to win the place her step-sister had in her mom’s life, but she never succeeded for so many years. Now that she was done with her junior high school, she was expecting her step-mom to be happy for her and treat her the same way she treated her own daughter and not discriminate between them. She had also planned to make a card for her step-mom and sister to give them when she went home.

She started packing all her stuff the minute she entered her room even though her roommates were on their phones as they were not really friends with Marie. She was looking forward to doing the shifting and meeting her new roommates.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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