7 of the 7.3 billion people
The first day at University
The alarm clock went on. Beep Beep BEEP BEEP BEEP…I had a terrible headache and my head felt like it was going to explode. I clumsily got out of bed, if you could call it as such. It was a dirty small sofabed which made strange noises when you moved in it. It took me two steps to arrive to the sink. There was no shower. I had found this place because it was cheap, and luckily not too far away from the new University. But it was disgusting. And very small. The landlord, a little fat man with a eastern accent and dark unfriendly eyes, didn’t care for much as long as I paid in chash. I barely had 100 bucks on me, nothing more. I was poor. The bus drive to get to Paris had taken me eight hours, and I was exhausted when I arrived, being happy to lie down instead of sleeping in the uncomfortable bus seat. But now that I looked around, I noticed the dirty brownish walls, the broken window and the mirror with my tired reflection. “You can do this” I thought to myself. “You’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna be okay. It can only get better when it’s that horrible.” But this time, my words of encouragement didn’t actually help. It was unusally hot for September. I had slept in my pants and otherwise entirely naked.
My reflection. In the mirror was a girl with long dark brown hair, slightly curled, but otherwise straight. Her dark brown eyes had dark circles underneath them, making her look ghostly. She was pale but had an underlying natural tan revealing exotic features. She was beautiful. Very beautiful. And one could not really tell from which origin she was. There was something asian in her look though her eyes were almond-shaped. The mouth was rather full and hid perfect white teeth. She had a very pretty face. A beautiful face with perfect skin and deep intense eyes which gave her a look of mystery.
Even her body was perfect. But I looked down at my too big feet. I didn’t like them. On my left arm underneath the armpit was that familiar tattoo. Three triangles. I don’t know why I got it nor what it meant, but I liked it. It was a part of me now.
Sometimes I feel beautiful, but today was not that kind of day. I tried to clean myself in the sink. But the soap made my skin harsh. I plunged my face into the water and stayed until I needed air. My phone started ringing. It was 7. I had to hurry, I would be late for that first dreadful day of University. I didn’t even know how to get there. I put on a black tank top, black jeans, took the phone and keys and left the room-appartment. It was one of the nicer arrondissements. Downstairs was a baker, and it smelled terribly good. But I had to save. My stomach disagreed. I turned around and bought an overly expensive croissant. I arrived late in that big building. It looked expensive, presitigous. Other students who were there were dressed very chic and elegantly. A lot of girls were in very high heels and beautiful dresses. This didn’t look like a normal university at all. But it was Paris, and I obviously didn’t know what I had gotten myself into.
“Excuse me”. I tried to get the attention of the information desk person. He looked at me amused. I was all sweaty and out of breath. I was feeling awful for being 20 minutes late already and desperate to find the class. “Yes?” he mused. “Where is — I looked down on my paper — amphitheatre 2?”. He pointed me to the sign right in front of me. I sighed. I was not only blind but stupid. “Thank you” I rushed away. But the inevitable happened. As soon as I entered the amphi, every eyeball was focused on me. The teacher paused for a moment before continuing to speak. “Thank you for joining us, Miss. Please sit in the front row, it’s empty.”
I shot him an annoyed look. He approached my seat. “ As I was telling the class, the program you will follow with me is very advanced, and this is why I will test your statistical basics to know what is your level. Would you be so kind and start.” He handed me the pen. I looked at him, completely confused. “Give it a try, Miss-” he inquired. “Angela”. I shot him a murderous look, took the pen but lost my balance while getting up. My pens fell on the floor. The professor picked them up. He was young and as tall as me. Which seemed to make him nervous, as I was taller than most women. He looked up and down at me and blushed by our sudden closeness. I turned on my heels, headed to the board. It was hieroglyphes. I couldn’t make sense of anything written on the board. “I can’t do it.” I murmured.
“Some catching up to do.” was all he could counter. I sat down and felt humiliated. I could feel how the heat had gotten to my cheeks. It was terribly hot and I felt that someone kept looking at me. I turned to my left, and ten rows behind me on the left side was a boy with military features in dark expensive clothes, looking at me. I shot him my murderous look which said its-rude-to-stare:look-away!-look. But he kept staring. He didn’t smile. I couldn’t hold his stare anymore, and looked away. The class went on. The professor was blabbing some incomprehensible boring speech and the minutes seemed to go by like hours. A student in the back asked a question. I turned around. He was sitting behind the boy with the military features. There were around fifty students in the amphi. The boy with the military features looked at me again. I formed the words “WHAT?” with my mouth. A smile krept on his face. But before I knew it, the bell rang and class was over. I started to pack my things together to get out of this terrible place when the boy with the hard lines was standing infront of my seat. He picked up one of the pens which I had lost on the floor and gave it to me. “There’s a reason why you should not be late on your first day. Especially when you’re the new girl.” He smirked and before I could say anything he and the blonde girl which was sitting next to him left. She didn’t look at me once. I looked at them while they went out of the room, lost in thought. She was probably his girlfriend. Strange boy, I thought. He seemed cold at first and very rude. But there was something about him. He seemed to have .. humor. My trail of thoughts was interrupted by the cruel Professor. “You are the new student. From which university did you join us, Angela?” I felt irritated to hear him pronounce my name.
Originally published at medium.com on July 17, 2015.