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The Unfortunate Occurence at Shenandoah High 2020 - 1. Chapter 1

Tristan prepares for the first day of his senior year.

I’m Tristan Goolsby and I’m nauseous. Today is the first day of my senior year and I can’t find anything to wear. What does one wear on the first day of their last year of high school? Wow, to say that out loud is really weird. After this year there’s college. Damn, I bet my Dad’s gonna take pictures. He’s that type. He’s taken a picture of me on the first and last day of every year of school since Kindergarten. The pictures are all lined up on the fridge. I think dad does it because he regrets not doing the same thing for my older brother, Everett. A lot was different when Everett was growing up. More on that later.

I locate my brand-new iPhone on my dresser next to my trophy for first place winner of the regional spelling bee last year. I’m sure not a lot of people know how to spell, pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. I locate my bestie’s phone number. Keisha picks up on the third ring. She still sounds like she’s in bed but when she hears my voice she immediately perks up.

“What’s up, Babe? Freaking out over the first day because you don’t know what to wear and your dad is going to take your picture like he always does?”

“How do you know me so well?” I ask.

“Because we’ve been best friends since you cried on my shoulder in the fifth grade when Cory Bush called you the F-word. Wow, little did we know, Cory was right. I mean you came out five years later.”

“Ugh, why are we conjuring bad memories so early in the morning. I’m going to be late if I don’t find something to wear, something that says, I’ll be out of here in roughly ten months, bitches.”

“Okay, calm down. Take a drink of the Dasani water I know is on your bed table.”

Sometimes it’s downright spooky how well she knows me. I walk over to my bed table and take a sip from the half full bottle of water. I gulp so she knows I finished.

“Okay, now that you’re hydrated, let’s talk your first day of school outfit. Remember the hot pink tee I bought you after the Fourth of July? I need you to grab it. The distressed, low-rise denim jeans we got in Cabo, pull those. Oh, and your baby pink Converses, those’ll set everything it off. That’s your first day of school ensemble.”

“Oh my gosh, Keish, you’re a lifesaver. I love you!”

“Love you more, Babe. I’ll see you in about an hour and you better be ready.”

We terminate our call and I look down at the clothes on my bed. I’m barely fashionably literate but Keisha’s like this savant when it comes to picking out clothes. She can look in my closet and it’s like some sort of calculation goes off in her head and boom, I have an outfit. She’s been doing this for me since I finally caved in freshman year.

I shower, quicker than I prefer and dress in my Keisha-approve outfit. I bound downstairs and find Dad standing in front of the toaster. He’s still dressed in his aqua colored scrubs he wore on his night shift. It’s actually a very flattering shade of aqua and it looks good him. I know how heterosexuals are about embracing colors but Dad’s pretty open when it comes to his work attire.

I walk up to him and kiss him on the cheek. His chin is scruffy against my face. Note to self, remind Dad to shave. He turns to me and asks me if I want some breakfast. I feel super nauseous, first day jitters, but I don’t want to hurt his feelings, so I tell him yes.

“Oh,” he says. “Before we have breakfast, it’s picture time.”

His phone is already out, sitting on the counter next to the stove. He walks over and picks it up. The smile on his face is as big as the sun and I can’t resist smiling myself. Dad’s in his fifties, but he looks pretty good, younger than I’ve pictured most 50 somethings are supposed to look. He keeps in shape due to me and Everett’s urging. We often joke about him needing to keep his cholesterol in check and he’s always a good sport about it. He walks over towards me and stands an appropriate distance from me, his brown eyes gleaming.

“Okay. You know the drill. When I say cheese, you say cheese. Okay. On the count of three, say cheese. Okay, one. Two. Three. Cheese.”

I smile and strike my best pose and say, “Cheese.”

The flash, as always, is super intense and I blink a few times. We take at least fifteen more, I lost count, but afterwards he shows me the pictures. I lean over his shoulder; he smells like hand sanitizer and the cologne I bought him for Christmas which I can’t remember the name. The pictures look okay, I suppose. I’ll have to ask Keisha what she thinks. My best friend is brutal when it comes to photos but she’s always sweet about it. She just wants me to look flawless, her words not mine.

I choke down two pieces of bacon, a stack of three pancakes, a piece of buttered toast with jelly, a heaping of scrambled eggs and then I drain the glass of orange juice in front of me. I feel even more nauseous when I hear Keisha’s 16-year old Honda pull up in front of my house. She honks her horn which means she’s not going to come in and flirt with Dad which used to bother me but not so much anymore. I think it’s twistedly adorable. Dad, of course, is clueless.

I climb and into the passenger’s seat and fasten my seatbelt. Keisha’s playing Beyoncé’s, our favorite singer ever, Dangerously in Love album. She’s had it on repeat since she broke up with Jeremiah Turner during Memorial Day weekend. It was ugly. Not because they ended their relationship on a bad note. It was ugly because Keisha was depressed for a solid two months. It was legit awful. I’ve never seen her like that, and Keisha and I have been through some serious shit together. After those two months, she pulled herself out of her deep, dark funk and the old Keisha returned. I know she still misses him, but I guess that’s how it is with your first love. Not that I know about such things.

We arrive at our high school, Shenandoah High School, and we sit in the car for at least fifteen minutes. Around us students, some old, some new, pour into the two story, brick building in front of us. Once inside it begins, my first day of senior year. I think I’m going throw up.

We hear the bell ring and Keisha and I fall in with the others around us. We enter the school. I can’t believe it. This is the final chapter. Tristan, you better make this count.

Thanks for joining me on this new ride. Hope you enjoy!!!

Copyright © 2020 imperfect _pisces; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

Great start to the story. Tristan and Keisha sound really good friends and interesting characters with great backgrounds.

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2 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Great start to the story. Tristan and Keisha sound really good friends and interesting characters with great backgrounds.

Thank you. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I've always resented the presentation of queer white men and straight black women. I want to show that Tristan and Keisha appreciated each of other as friends before anyone's sexuality was revealed and their relationship is organic and they both enjoy a myriad of things beyond what women and gay men are stereotyped to like. Soon you will learn more about Tristan.

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Stereotypes are so narrow and boring. I judge people by their actions, not by appearance or where they come from. I didn't have an inkling Keisha is black until the author mentioned it in the preceding comment. It's too soon to say how this new track is going, but I'm along for the ride.

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Good start.  I'm along for the ride.  I like Keisha already.  It sounds like Everett may have his own background story as well! 

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What a great coincidence, but you're the first person to know of the word pneumonoultramicroscopicvolcaniconiosis that I've ever come across since I first heard the word in the fifth grade in 1963.  I was told that it was the longest word in the English language and have never in all those years found one longer.  Thanks to all the coal miners who have contacted the disease, and thanks to you for sending me back to those years in elementary school from so long ago.


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