It’ll be fine, they said. Everyone will be nice and helpful, they said. I’m sure you’ll make friends right away, they said. By lunchtime, Jeremy was fairly certain his parents had never actually attended high school.
No one was nice, much less helpful, and things were most certainly not fine.
The lunchroom brought forth a fresh level of hell. Everyone was divided into unnavigable subclasses that looked nothing like the cliques at his old school. They were strictly delineated according to a code he couldn’t begin to decipher. Jeremy’s clothes didn’t seem to match the uniforms of any of the groups he saw and he was easily four inches taller than any of the other guys. Any time he gravitated toward an occupied section, he picked up on subtle demonstrations of just how unwelcome he was.
He wandered as casually as he could to the vending machines to afford himself an extra survey of the layout. He found no promising prospects, but he did find Yoo-hoo in the vending machine, so at least one good thing happened to him that day. He took his drink and pushed past the lunchroom doors to sit with his lunch in the hallway. He scooped up a forkful of watery baked beans, let them splash back onto his tray and wondered what his friends were having for lunch nearly 700 miles away.