The Misfortunes of the 100th Freshman: The First Day (Part I)
By Isabella Nilsson
All names have been changed.
Ever since utero, when in the early second trimester she absorbed her twin, Mindy Z has been really, really, really, (really) unlucky. The day she was born, the nurse assigned to her ward was struck by lightning through two sets of paned glass hospital windows. Her first word was unprintable in at least three different languages. Throughout childhood, she tripped over anything, whether it existed or not, and so often that her grandmother crocheted her lime green crash pads to wear everyday, even though they didn’t match any of her (tragically maternal and kind of like sad 40’s colonial outerwear except not cool at all) clothing.
But, basically, despite all of her accident-induced concussions and social bruising and totally out there crazy-but-true misfortunes, like that one time she found a hundred dollar bill on the sidewalk and then a little boy in lederhosen ran up and ate it, basically despite all that, Mindy was happy (for a teenager), and only listened to angsty music and cried for a couple hours a day. Her average-Joe parents, Donald and Sue, ran a joint dentistry practice and just wanted the best for their wildly unfortunate daughter. They moved to Cleveland this summer, as it had been shown at the last international dental conference, and at the soonest opportunity, they enrolled Mindy in the freshman class at Hathaway Brown, where she would, if not lead well, at least hopefully be well.
Mindy woke up on August 22nd really freaking excited. At her goodbye party in Michigan she had called her best friend “phat” and been horribly misunderstood, so since then she had been pretty lonely. Jumping out of bed, she slipped on one of those dog toys that look like a torture device, and then fell into the nightstand, but she was so pumped that nothing could get her down! And head wounds don’t bleed that much anyways! Downstairs in the kitchen, she thought about all her new classmates as the toaster burst into flames. Absentmindedly, she patted it with the fire retardant oven mitt, lovingly blackened from repeated use. She’d heard there were a lot of them! 100! What a number! She hoped one of the seniors didn’t throw her into a dumpster or something. Although she had been locked in one before.
For once in her life Mindy did not miss the bus.
When she arrived at school she felt overwhelmed. HB looked like something out of a scary 19th century novel and girls were pressing into her on either side like the slimy raw sardines she had once been dared into eating.
“Move, freshman!” Somebody shouted.
“Freshman, get out the way!”
“Jesus Christ freshman! I’m on my period, stop standing in front of the bathroom!”
“Your clothes look stupid,” said a middle schooler.
“I’m kind of lost,” said Mindy, still standing in front of the bathroom. Somewhere behind her a senior let out a guttural scream.
“I got a letter?” Mindy tried asking again. “They said my advisor is in the writing center? Can somebody help me?”
“Mentor. It’s mentor,” said a sophomore.
“Thanks,” said Mindy. Eventually a third grader pitied her and showed her the way to her mentor’s room. Mindy only tripped on the stairs twice! Although, by the time she got there, mentor time had already begun and she had to knock awkwardly on the door, trying to smile but mostly just feeling crushed under her backpack, which seemed to weigh about as much as a petite woman. She was totally unaware of how, in the next five minutes, her life would alter irreversibly. Inside the room she would meet the Brutus to her Caesar, the Montague to her Capulet. The Lord Voldemort to her beautiful, feminine Harry Potter. Her arch nemesis, the bane of her existence, the—-
“Hi,” said a girl, opening the door for her and giving a little wave. “You’re new, right? I’m Samantha. Samantha Wilson.” In many ways, Samantha Wilson and Mindy were similar people. Perhaps, in another world, they could have even been friends.
“Wow!” she said. “What a phat name!”
“I just think you’re so phat!”
And from then on Samantha Wilson hated her totally.