They say if you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes truth.
This is what I felt most of the time during my first day back to school. Although I kind of expected it, I had to admit that a friendly conversation here or there would have certainly brightened my day. Unfortunately for me, this did not happen, and most of the day was spent sitting alone in the grass during recess or listening to the teacher drum on about adding fractions and how the number of rings inside a tree shows it's age. I knew it all already. Teach me something hard!
Emily had told me that going back to school would be the next step in trying to help coax more of my memory into returning. She told me that being around my friends and perhaps talking to them about things I had done would help me to remember more about myself. I was excited about the prospect of this being true, and went into school ready to reconnect with people. The only problem was, there didn't seem to be anyone that wanted to reconnect with me.
Emily dropped me off at school this morning while grandma brought Max. I had to get up much earlier than I had been used to getting up in order for Emily and I to arrive early enough to talk to the principal. I waited outside the principal's office for almost ten minutes before they allowed me to come in and talk to them. The conversation was fairly short with lots of reminders that if I needed to talk at any time throughout the day that I should just excuse myself and go directly to the principal's office. My teacher was warned that this may be a possibility.
It was really nice of them to do this for me, but I was determined not to have to leave class under any circumstances. If being here in a "normal" setting might help me to remember more things about the past, I was completely ready to try and make the day as "normal" as possible. What could possibly go wrong?
What I forgot to think about was the fact that even if I tried my hardest to make the day a normal day for me, it certainly was not normal for everybody else. First, I was still the new girl even before everything happened. I hadn't been at the school very long, and according to my teacher, I hadn't had enough time to make many friends. When she told me this, I resolved myself to trying to fix this situation: trying to make more friends. Boy oh boy was that a mistake.
After lunch, I was walking down the hall to go outside for recess when I bumped head first into this girl making her drop all of the books she was carrying. I recognized her from my class, but of course, I didn't know her name. At first, I could tell she was really angry at me. I bent down quickly to try and help her pick up her books, but when she looked up and realized who I was, the look of sheer dread that took over her face scared me to death. I was suddenly reminded of my dream and how I felt as I ran down the long hallway being chased by someone trying to kill me. I quickly looked behind me and calmed down almost instantly when I saw no one was chasing me.
The girl didn't calm down, she froze and continued to stare at me in sheer terror. I quickly finished picking up the rest of her books from the floor and returned them to her. She barely managed to stammer out a thank you before running away. She must play sports because I don't think I've ever seen anyone run that fast. As she ran away from me, I was sure that I did know her. I just needed to figure out how I knew her, and why she was so scared of me.
I spent the remainder of recess sitting in the grass taking in all of the warm sun. I did a fair amount of thinking during that time as well, but I couldn't remember anything specific about the girl who had run away from me. I saw her with a group of other girls out on the playground, and every so often when I felt sure that she wouldn't notice me, I'd sneak a glance or two at her. I figured that maybe it would help me remember more about who she was. Unfortunately nothing came back to me.
All of this changed after lunch and recess.
After recess, school resumed for my class. I giggled to myself over the groans of some of the other kids as they were lead back into the classroom and again found their way over to a desk. The teacher began by writing several vocabulary words on the board, all of which I could already easily define before she even explained what they meant. As the teacher moved back and forth in front of the chalkboard, light from the window would be reflected by the jewelry around her neck. It was a real pain at first, because each time she'd walk completely in front of the board, light would be reflected right back into my eyes.
Then I suddenly remembered something …
It wasn't really a complete memory, but more of those images that flashed in my mind without a context. I was standing on some kind of landing looking out of a window or some sort of opening. The sun was shining down directly in my face, so it was hard to make out all of the details. When I looked down, I caught a glimpse of the girl who I had bumped into earlier, except she was lying on the ground several feet below me. She looked very hurt.
For some reason, I felt that I had to get away.
As I concentrated on trying to remember more details surrounding the images flashing before my mind, I guess I was staring at my teacher and her jewelry. She noticed, and after asking me if everything was alright, asked me to step out into the hallway with her. When we got outside the classroom, she closed the door and knelt down before me and asked me again if I was really okay.
Then she asked me about Brenda.
So it turns out that the girl I bumped into earlier in the hallway knows me: her name is Brenda. So this was when things became really strange. My teacher asked if Brenda was bullying me again. I blushed and told her that I really don't remember much about what happened before the accident. I actually froze up when I was trying to find the word to describe what had happened to Max and me. Finally, I settled on the word accident. Anyway, she began to explain it to me.
It turns out that Brenda had been teasing me when I first started at the school. My teacher wasn't there for the entire episode, but she told me that she came running out of the classroom when she heard shouting. When she arrived, she said that I was on the ground trying to gather the pages of my bible that other kids said Brenda took from me. Then, this Brenda girl tried to rip off ribbons I was wearing. I started screaming at that point and scared several teachers nearly to death! I guess Brenda doesn't like me.
Why was Brenda so scared of me today?
After school was over, Mrs. Grosse asked me to stay back a minute and talk to her. Again, this is where things got pretty strange, and having my memories back would have really helped me answer her questions. After all the other students left the classroom, she closed the door to give us a bit of privacy. She tells me she never did have a chance to really talk to me since I was placed in her class, and she asked me about where I originally came from. I told her that I was adopted by an American family from an orphanage in Russia, and that I only remembered that because Emily had told me after the accident.
At this point, things got even stranger. She asked if anyone at home ever hurt me. When I asked her to explain exactly what she meant, she reached over and ran her fingertips gently along my wrists. I immediately knew what she meant: she was concerned about the scars on my wrists and neck. My mind quickly began racing, knowing that even though I could not remember the source of these scars, I'd have to come up with something convincing or this could create a very bad situation.
After several seconds, I lowered my head and informed her that the scars came from my time in Russia, but I could not remember exactly how I got them. If she didn't believe my story, she didn't seem to show it. With a quick nod, she took my hand and told me that if I ever needed anything, I could come to her. She reminded me that I could always talk to her and tell her if anything was wrong.
Where DID these scars come from?
End Part Six