New Surroundings

*Alice P.O.V.*

My eyes stared blankly out the window as the nature flew past me in seconds. Susan, my mother, was driving the car and she wasn’t at all worried about the speed. All my mother could think about was getting to our new house as quickly as possible, and so did I. This silence was just awkward, she didn’t know what to say, but I just didn’t want to say anything.

It seemed like I had just been at my home, no, I mean my now used to be home. Well, I had very recently been there, but not in the way I wanted. Because what used to be my home will now never be that again, not ever, it just can’t. Not after what happened there.

Right out of the blue my mom suddenly shouted “See! There is a sign for our new home city!” It just felt odd to stare at all the sign flashing by my eyes telling me time after time how much more it would take before we arrived. I wasn’t actually sure I wanted to arrive there at all. What if the same thing happened here? No, it couldn’t. I had to change how I was now to avoid it, do anything to not let it happen again, that was my only choice.

It didn’t take long until we arrived, just a few minutes really, so this couldn’t be the biggest of towns. My eyes started looking around at the scenery I saw. Houses, houses and more houses..None of them that flashy, they seemed quite normal actually, like what you would think to find here. But mom had told me this wasn’t such a small town, it had several thousand inhabitants, but quite a bit less than I was used to. All I could dream about now was that no one here would ever know who I used to be.

It felt like there were never ending boxes coming out of the car, my mom simply didn’t seem to stop carrying them. The task I’d gotten was to place everything where I felt it right in the kitchen. I tried to make it as different from our old kitchen as I could, because this was a new house, not the same, nothing was the same, and I just had to live with that. The walls in the kitchen were in a ugly blue colour, which I definitely didn’t like. But I wasn’t going to bother my mind about it, because the kitchen wasn’t exactly my most visited room. “I’d probably stay in my room most of the time” I thought before I sighed. My mother, and probably anyone that saw me right now, would notice how I acted. I was negative, as negative as I could get. But why wouldn’t I be? Just a week ago my life was so different, and now I had to start all over again, but because of that warning I won’t even try to get to where I was. It’s too much of a risk, I don’t want to do it all over again.

My head hit the pillow on my now new bed. The bed had dark blue sheets with a starry sky-like pattern. I had decided not to go with silk this time, since I got to experience last time how awfully hot those kind of sheets could get. But the thing was, it could also get so incredibly cold, and since the place I was in now was way colder I had to keep warmth in some way. I dislike the cold, I hate it from the roots of my heart! I missed the sun shining in my hair. I remember the day it all happened, it had been such a sunny day and everything was perfect. But no, that turned out to be such an awful day.

I shook my head around, no, I couldn’t be thinking of this now. This was a new start and everything was brand new. I jumped off the bed and headed for my new closet. We, that being me and my father, had just put it up in my room. Dad, well, he had been waiting in our new house. Because some days before when we discussed the moving I completely refused to sit through a car ride with his awful music, so he had gone ahead, he also had to fix a few things in the house so it didn’t really matter. In a way I had actually wanted him in the car, because his annoying music might’ve distracted me for a few seconds. But that was obviously too late to say now. Again, I sighed. It felt like I did that all the time nowadays, but I had my reasons.

A few things were places in my room, my fathers way of trying to decorate the room a little. In the corner he had placed a writing desk, probably for homework. And on the opposite side of the room he had placed a well-lit vanity for me and my daily make-up. This would definitely come in handy now that I had to learn how to do a complete new style. He had also hung up a few photos of scenery that were put in nice frames and everything. Had my mood been better I might’ve actually given him a hug or something, to be nice. But my mood wasn’t good, not at all. So I figured I’d drag my laptop to my new desk.

I searched for my laptop bag in all the boxed standing by the bedside. It was all the way at the bottom, but eventually I found it and dragged it out. Since it had been buried with all of these other boxes it was kind of dusty, but I got rid of that by hitting on the sides a few times with my hand. And from the bag I dragged out my new laptop. I had gotten this for my birthday, probably just a month ago, but you could say I hadn’t exactly gotten to use it much lately. But now I had to focus, I had to return to my writing studies. I’d chosen to attend a year of writing classes because I was so tired of regular schoolwork. The only thing that really got me going was writing stories. My favourite topics? None really. I had a habit of writing about my most recent happenings, anything that happened in my life was a inspiration. From the tiniest happening like a coffee cup breaking, to the biggest things like my life falling apart. My mind was flowing with ideas and I had no clue how to use them when there were so many. This wasn’t anything I could use for my longer stories that I had worked on for a while, which were in-directly about my old-life. It went by the title “A party behind every door”. I knew when I wrote it that it was a silly title, but I really didn’t mind it, because it really fit. But I probably wouldn’t be able to continue writing this story, because this wasn’t me anymore, that was the old me.

I shrugged and sighed, what was I about to write about now. A few seconds passed and I stared blankly at the screen. This wasn’t getting me anywhere so I rose to my feet and walked over to the vanity my dad had bought me. I looked at the person staring back at me in the mirror. Actually I wasn’t even sure I knew who this person was. She had black layer-cut hair. It reached all the way down to her chest, but just barely. Because the tips of her hair were so thin and damaged. This person, this persons hair had used to be so pretty. But now it was damaged, damaged from bleaching, colouring and all of these hair sprays. The fringe was cut so that one of her eyes barely showed beneath, and the tips of her hair were all coloured bright pink. That pink colour.. It was the only thing that reminded her of the person that used to stare back at her in the mirror. Her clothing, well, it was what most teenagers would define as a mix of emo and scene. These terms were probably very unfamiliar with the older generation, she really just wore mostly black with some very strong colours here and there.

It was scary, looking in the mirror and not recognising who was looking back at you. Quickly I looked away, not wanting to think more about this topic. It felt like this whole new reality was swallowing me whole.I felt hopeless, I wasn’t able to do anything about it. This was my new reality now and I had to accept that.

My feet dragged me off to get my stuff set up because I knew I wouldn’t be happy if I woke up to this mess the day after. I searched through all the boxed I had laying here and the first thing I found of interest was all my make-up and accessories. It was quite the big bag too, filled with all sorts of things. Since I was so tired of putting things in place I just spilled it all out on the floor in front of the vanity before I began organising it. When I realised I had lots of my old stuff that I hadn’t thrown away I ran downstairs to nag my mother for a box to put it all in. She asked what I needed this box for but I had no plan of answering her on the question. But she agreed to it, we already had tons of boxes laying around. Before she was able to get the box for me I began searching around the room. “Mell, what are you looking for?” my mom asked curiously. “I told you not to call me that anymore! That isn’t my name! My name is Alice!” I yelled back at her. If I couldn’t even convince my family of this then I wouldn’t be able to believe it myself, then there was no way I’d ever be able to live this life. “And if you really need to know I’m looking for a marker to write on the boxes.” I said in an angered tone. My mom shrugged “You know, you can’t just ch-“. I interrupted her mid-sentence, “It’s my decision! Stop bugging me about it and just let it go.”.This was too much for me so I quickly ran upstairs again after grabbing the closest marker and the box my mom had found for me.

I slammed the door behind my back and I sat back on the floor by all the make-up I had spilled out over the floor. My eyes began to water, I felt a tear being close to falling from my left eye. Quickly I shook my head, this was absurd. It was just my old nickname, no biggie, I thought to myself. I wasn’t going to let myself cry, that wasn’t even an option. This was something I’d get through without a doubt, my only choice was this. With my hand I threw a light slap on my face and I got ready to go back to tidying. There were a lot of different things in my bag, and I didn’t really know what to use and what to not use, I wasn’t familiar with this kind of style yet. But I put the box I had just been downstairs to get next to me as I worked. With the marker I wrote “Things I can’t use anymore” on the side of the box. Sadly, it was the truth. Within the box I stuffed all kinds of accessories, and all my dull, pink eye shadows. Really, I stuffed almost everything in the box, because I didn’t really own that many stronger colours. All the dull colours were in the box, and all my jewelry, besides one little thing, too. The only thing of my old accessories I kept was a little tiara I used for parties. It fit perfectly on the top of my head, and it was so tiny that it just seemed like a tiny detail.

When everything was placed around my vanity and I had stuffed the things I wasn’t going to use in the box I sat down in front of the vanity. I stared at the reflection for minutes and minutes, trying to figure out what to do next. I felt a little drowsy now, that used to happen after car rides. But I had to finish up more of this. I just had one more day until my first school day was happening. This wasn’t the start of the year, it had been a whole two months since I began school again. Again I rose to my feet, this time I was going to organise my clothes into the closet my dad had fixed. But this wasn’t the most usual way to do it. Because what I was about to unpack was packages from quite a wide range of clothing stores. They had all kinds of names, but these weren’t familiar to me really. All I had done was go through all sorts of online stores I could find to get the right clothing. I grabbed a scissor from my bedside table which I had used earlier to open boxed and I began to cut open the packages. The first one contained a hoodie. It was black and had a print of an angry panda on the front, and the sleeves were shaped like panda paws. It was cute, I’ll admit that, but it wasn’t like anything I was used to. Not the colours, not the shape, not anything. I can’t even remember the last time I wore hoodies. I folded it nicely after having looked at it and removed the tags and I put it in the upper shelf of the closet. This kept on for an hour or two before the packages eventually ran out. When I took a peek into the now stuffed closet I was quite amazed at how much I had bought, I didn’t realise how much it was when I was shopping. I guess that’s a girl thing. And then I felt my eyes shut on me, I was definitely tired now. My feet swept slowly over the floor, through the hall, and towards the bathroom. There awaited a electric blue toothbrush that was yelling for me to use it. I was half-asleep, but I finished getting ready for bed before I collapsed. Just one more day then I’ll be back in school, I thought before I fell asleep.

The sun was shining when I woke up, it hit my eyes in a blinding way because I’d forgotten to drag the curtains to cover the windows. But it was fine really, I had to wake up today too, so why not now? I sat up in my bed and I looked around the room. It took me a few seconds to realise where I was. It was my very first morning waking up in our new house, and it kind of felt odd. But sooner or later I’d get used to it. I raised my arms into the arm and I stretched out as much as I could, it felt nice to do something familiar at the very least. For a few seconds I looked around the room to see whether or not I had done enough tidying the day before, and I realised I had done most of the work. I’d have to figure out what I was going to do today, and really, I didn’t have a clue. But the thing I knew was that getting ready for my first day in a new life was the first thing on the agenda.

Firstly, I had to pick clothes. I wandered off to the closet and I slung open the doors. My eyes quickly browsed what was within, and seeing as the day was bright as could be I chose to take something with more colours, though not that many colours of course. Hoodie, that was the main choice I had to do, the rest just had to match it. I picked out a black and white hoodie. It was striped and had bunny ears hanging from the hood. When I had this picked out I threw it onto the bed and I began the search for what else to wear. Pants, what kind of pants to choose.. It didn’t take me that long to figure out what to wear really, because I had some simple, black jeans laying in my closet too, so I didn’t stand out too much with this outfit. I sat down on the bed and got dressed before I headed over to my new vanity. From a little cup standing in the corner I picked up a coal black eyeliner and I leaned in close to the mirror in front of me. This was my first time, so it took me quite some time to get the make-up right. But when I was done I had black circles around my eyes with thick, strong lines. I then went over to a bright white eyeshadow and some mascara. My skin was also quite tan naturally because of the weather I was used to, so I also picked up some powder to make myself look paler. “I guess this works” I said to myself in a cheerful tone.

My feet led me down the stairs where my parents were already awake. Dad was sitting in our new living room reading the newspaper, nothing unusual, and my mom was standing in the kitchen making breakfast, that too was nothing special. It was like we were back in our old house with all these familiar habits. By the kitchen table were four chairs, my mom probably thought I was going to have guests over for dinner or something, but really, what were the odds of that happening. I shrugged before I walked over to one of the chairs and sat down. “What’s for breakfast today?” I asked my mom, that was standing by the cabinets. She turned around, and it only took a few seconds before she noticed my attire. “What in the world are you wearing?!” she said in a surprised and angered tone. This was definitely not good. I looked at her with the most innocent eyes I could manage as I said “This is my normal clothing mom.”, and when I finished this sentence she just stared at me like I was dumb. But all she did was shrug before she turned back to the food. “If you say so” she said in a tired voice. In a way I felt sorry for having such sudden changed in front of her, but this wasn’t something I could help.

Breakfast went on, it was fresh loaf from the apparently close-by grocery store. Not that I really cared that much for breakfast, but it was tasty indeed. For a few seconds I thought to myself that maybe this city wasn’t all that bad, but this thought quickly disappeared when I thought about the fact that I still hadn’t been at the school. Another sigh escaped my lips as my mom served me breakfast. She didn’t comment on it, but I could see on her face that she was annoyed with me.

When I finished eating my breakfast I walked back upstairs to my room and I sat down on my bed. What in the world am I going to do today? I wondered. And then it hit me, I’d need something to eat for lunch when I was at school so I wouldn’t need to sit in the cafeteria. Then my thoughts flew to; what in the world am I going to make? I didn’t really know, so I figured I’d just head over to the grocery store and figure it out there.

I walked in the big glass doors that were automatic and I got myself a shopping cart. The store was quite big, but still smaller than what I was used to. The first aile in the store was filled with coffee and tea-bags. I paced forward a while until I was past this aile, and I reached the baking goods. For a while I looked around at what was in the aile, wondering what I was about to make. With my phone I had taken a picture of all the recipes, so I would know what I would need once I decided. I was actually a bit impressed with this store, because they had quite the sortiment of baking goods. Since there was such a wide range of goods here I decided to make several different things, so I could choose whatever I felt like every day. The first thing I figured out I’d bake was buns, because really, who didn’t like buns? Then I looked around a bit more before I felt a sudden urge to bake cinnamon rolls. I really don’t know why, but I just really love baking. It’s so calming, and I enjoy it. For a while I walked around getting different things I’d need for the baking, but I figured I wouldn’t bake more than the buns and cinnamon rolls since I could always do a new batch later.

Now I passed by an aile filled with all sorts of cookies. My eyes flickered over the different brands that were there. It was like my mouth watered at the thought of these sweet goods. Well, I didn’t have to diet anymore, at least not that strict. So I snook closer to the cookies and I grabbed a package of chocolate-chip cookies and threw it into the shopping cart with a smile on my face.

Since I had most of the stuff I’d need now I walked up to the cashier and I started putting the things I was buying on the counter. This was my first encounter with people from this town, and I was unsure how to act towards the blond girl sitting there. The items were on the counter now and the blond girl was checking it all and eventually telling me what I had to pay. I nodded casually and I took out my bank card.

“Are you new here?” a bright voice sounded. It was the cashier girl that asked. “Umm, yeah, I am actually.” I replied. “I knew it! You see, I know everyone here and I always know if people aren’t usuals here.” The voice she replied in, and the way she replied. I quickly realised that this was not someone I’d want to talk too much too, this was obviously one of those popular girls. So I decided to stay quiet and just pay for my items. The card machine made a tiny noise informing about the payment having been given and the girl once again spoke, “Do you want your reciept?”, and I quickly replied by shaking my head and saying “No thanks” in the flattest tone I could. I hurried with packing my items into plastic bags and I began carrying them out. Once I was outside the doors I sighed heavily as I thought to myself Well that wasn’t a nice encounter.

I arrived at home with my newly bought baking goods and cookies and I began sorting it onto the counter on the kitchen. The day before I had said I probably wouldn’t spend that much time in the kitchen, but I guess I was wrong. When everything was sorted onto the counter and into the fridge I walked upstairs again to grab my laptop. Since the weather was great I had decided to go outside and trying to write for a while. I put my laptop into it’s bag and I walked downstairs again. My dad walked out of he and my mothers bedroom and he saw me walking towards the door. “Are you going out already?” he asked surprised. I turned around on my heels and I took a look at my dad. His hair was obviously just fixed because it was laying nicely on his head, he had also put on one of his nicer t-shirts. “Yeah, I am. I was thinking I’d try to write a little since it’s been so long since I had classes.” My dad smiled at me when he heard this and he waved at me. I waved at him too and I hurried out.

My new black and turquoise shoes paced on the newly cut grass and I heard the noise my shoes made when they hit the pavement. Since it was my first time walking outside in this new town I figured I’d have to search to find a nice spot. A few thoughts went out to my old writing spot, it was beneath a huge oak tree on the outer part of the city. There were quite rarely that anyone went past there, and when they did it was mostly just people jogging past me, no one that really noticed me. It was nice being alone when I wrote, I didn’t have to think about what I did or how I acted. I was completely left alone with my thoughts and my writing.

The pavement looked old, probably was a while since they changed it. But it didn’t matter since the flowers on the side of the road were stunning. The flowers had all kinds of colours, red, yellow, white, blue and violet. For a few seconds I felt like making a bouquet, but it didn’t fit my character so I didn’t. I was getting to a less populated area it would seem, there were several old, empty houses that would probably fit perfectly as a Halloween spook house. In a few of the windows on these houses there were curtains, some even had lanterns. But some of them had broken light bulbs and were obviously even older than me. I felt a breeze blow past me and I got the shivers down my spine. It felt like someone was watching me, but I couldn’t see anyone. All that was here were all of these dark, old houses and trees. And it wasn’t like the trees could watch me in that way. But I shook it off me.

I kept walking along the pavement, still looking for the perfect spot to write, and then I saw it. It was a slope going down a few meters away from the road. The slope was covered in grass and at the bottom there was a river passing by so slowly that you could just barely hear it. It was absolutely perfect. And the slope wasn’t too curved either, so it was nice and easy to sit there. I sat down in the green grass and I closed my eyes to listen to the flowing water for a few seconds. It was incredibly relaxing and I let a heavy breath out before I took in new, fresh air that smelled of green grass and the summer sun. I couldn’t imagine finding any nicer spot, but it kind of made me long to be at my old spot. But this would definitely work as a replacement for it. From my bag I took out my laptop and I put it in my lap. But my mind was blank, I didn’t know what to write at all. I hated when I had these moments of emptiness, just staring at the empty document in front of me.

Usually I’d always write on my already begun stories, but what had recently happened to me didn’t fit any of the contexts, so I couldn’t really do that. What was I supposed to be writing now? I dragged out a mirror from one of the pockets within the bag and I opened up the little grey thing. I pointed it at myself, staring myself in the eyes that were surrounded by dark make-up. Then it hit me, I could write poetry. It wasn’t something I had done long before, but now it felt like it was what I was supposed to be writing. My mind suddenly blossomed with ideas and my fingers hurried to the keyboard as I threw the mirror into the grass.

It took me a few minutes to get the poem right. I rewrote it several times trying to think of how to make it better, but in the end I figured I had come to the best result. My eyes glanced over at the river for a few seconds before I looked back at the screen admiring my own work.

A right decision

Or is it wrong?

I wish I knew

But I’ll never know

The poem was perfect, it described my feelings so gracefully. Wondering whether or not my decision of moving had been right I got lost in thoughts for a while. But then suddenly I heard a loud noise. It was shoes hitting the pavement in quite the speed. I turned my head around thinking it would probably be some person jogging past, but no. That wasn’t it. There was a boy, I barely got to see him before he was so far away that I couldn’t see who it was. Okay, I didn’t live here so I probably wouldn’t know who it was anyway, but at least I might recognise this person at a later time. The only thing I was able to see before he was too far away was black hair styled with lots of hairspray for it to be pointy in all kinds of directions, and I saw a single white stripe of hair blowing in the wind. For some reason I felt my heart beating a tad more than usual, but I didn’t think too much about it. Why had he been running? I couldn’t think of any reason for it, but he was probably just in a hurry.

I rose to my feet and I got ready to head back home since I had so much baking to do. But my mind kept going back to that boy that ran past me. I wondered when I would see him again. But I shrugged. I had a long way back home, so I had more than enough time to think about things.

Two cars stood outside our house, so I was guessing both mom and dad were home. For a few minutes I stood outside our house admiring it. The walls had a light-green colour and it had two floors. Before walking in the main door there was a tiny staircase in some old kind of wood. From the staircase and to the pavement there was set out some kind of light coloured sand like a pathway. Around the windows and doors the paint was in a white colour that seemed a little dull, but it fit with the green shade. The front yard had newly cut green grass from one end to another, and there was a tree standing on the right side too. From the branches of the tree there hung a little swing appropriate for kids, but a bit too small for myself. And on the left side you could look straight into the kitchen from the window. The house was actually quite nice, it looked old and robust, like it had been around for a while. In a way it reminded me of a house from a children’s book.

Eventually I was tired of standing so I walked up the sand pathway, up the staircase and in through the main door. Both my mom and dad greeted me from the living room. They were watching some kind of TV show, but I didn’t really notice the TV that well. I waved back at them and said “I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me” and I left the room heading for the kitchen. Before I entered the kitchen I noticed my mother smiling to my dad as if she had won some kind of bet. It made me giggle a bit, but I kept it quiet so I wouldn’t be heard.

In the kitchen stood the ingredients I had bought earlier and I headed over to the cabinets to get a bowl to mix it all in and a few measuring cups to get the right amount of flour and other ingredients I had picked up. Baking, it really kept me calm and contained, and the best thing was that I’d have something tasty to eat later too. The first thing I made was buns, and I began with the cinnamon rolls as the buns were getting ready to be put in the oven. Cinnamon rolls were a bit more difficult to make, but I had done this several times before so it wasn’t that much of a challenge actually.

Sooner or later I finished up the baking and I sat down with one of the cinnamon rolls I’d baked and tasted it. I must admit, I was pretty impressed with myself, because this batch was even more tasty than the one I’d baked last time. But I guess it made sense since it had been a while since I last baked these.

The cleaning took me a while, but I finished eventually. After putting the baked goods in the freezer I moved on up to my room again. The clock was moving on to around 6 o’ clock now, so I still had several hours of time to burn. Inconveniently I had no ideas of what to do so I just went to lay on my bed. My new bed was cold, but in a comfortable way because of the sun having been shining on my window for hours. My thoughts drifted of to another place, a fantasy world. I closed my eyes as I began to picture all kinds of sceneries in my head. Firstly I saw a green meadow as far as my eyes could see. I saw myself walking around in the tall grass, breathing in the soothing scent of all the flowers surrounding me.

And then, just seconds later I saw myself growing wings of an angel and flying upwards. My head hit the dim clouds as I was getting higher and higher up before I landed my feet on the clouds beneath me, laying down to rest. The clouds were so soft,I could’ve fallen asleep on them that instant. Ironically, that was just what I did. But I didn’t fall asleep on the clouds, I feel asleep on my bed.

I woke up out of the blue, looking around in my now darker room. Oh, I’d fallen asleep while I was daydreaming. My arms stretched into the air as I began to wake up again. Few seconds passed before I realised I had to get ready for school that started tomorrow. The books were still in a box and I had to unbox them, and I had to find my shoulder bag that I used for carrying them. The books were in the furthest back box and my shoulder bag was close by them too. I packed them all down in the now cramped back. I’d have to leave most of the books in a locker once I got to school. My pen case was already in my shoulder bag, so I wouldn’t need to think about those things. My eyes flashed over to the clock standing on the night table, it was already 11 pm. The next thing I should do is get a outfit ready for tomorrow I thought, so I walked over to the closet. This time it was quite easy to find what to wear, because I found a black hoodie with cat ears that I felt wasn’t too attention seeking. The jeans I found were black but with paw prints on the back in white. The matching was cute and not too flashy, it would fit perfectly.

Since it was late enough I figured I might as well go to sleep, and I entered a dreamless night.

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