A Case Of Mistaken Identity

I could see their faces peering at me, the remainder of a conversation still on their lips as they turned around, staring drop-jawed. The expression varied person to person. Some had the faint etch of a smile on their face, others rather the opposite. Some even had the gall to mouth something to their friends. But I could see why. My clean, crisp uniform stood out like a beacon among the faded garments. And these country kids hadn’t seen a new face for so long it was impossible to ignore it. It’s almost as if I was standing there shouting, “Hey, I’m the new kid. Look at me!”
It wouldn’t make any difference. I’d still get the same amount of attention.

I don’t like attention.

I would have liked to spend the day sitting away from everyone else. Maybe in the library. Nobody in a town like this would be caught dead anywhere near the place. I was surprised that they could even afford to pay the librarian. But I couldn’t disguise the fact that I couldn’t hold on for any longer. I really had no choice but to wander through the corridor, through the entire student population, in desperate hope that I could remember where the bathroom was.

I could see the door at the end of the corridor, clearly marked MEN. I couldn’t wait to finally get out of the public eye and almost found myself sprinting down the hallway, pushing past the crowd. But I didn’t want to cause a scene. I pushed open the door, and took a few steps into the bathroom, relieved to be away from the crowd. But there was just a small feeling at the back of my brain that something wasn’t right. The walls were certainly a funny colour for a men’s room. I mean, who in their right mind would paint the walls magenta? But I assumed it was just a country thing. And then I heard the screaming.

Three girls were standing at the mirrors, lipstick in hand. And they were staring at me. I automatically turned around and walked out of the room, thinking obviously I had opened the wrong door. But at a second glance at the sign on the door, I couldn’t see what my mistake was. MEN. Well whatever I’d done, people in the corridor were starting to look at me strangely.

I turned to walk away from the door. I’d obviously confused the door with another one. It wasn’t hard to do in a new place, also considering this was the only corridor in the school. But on the ground I spotted something. Two metal letters, lying on the cold linoleum.

W and O.