Only the Beginning
During the last week of August, Brielle took a day off to register Jane and Olivia for school. First, she registered Jane.
As they entered the school, a picture of a Lion, mascot for the Thomasville HS sports teams with the words, “Home of the Thomasville Lions,” hung above the doorway to the office. The picture of the Lion was bordered with the school colors, red and white.
Crowds of parents and teenagers flooded the entrance and the hallways as Brielle, Jane, and Olivia eased their way through to the office. The sounds of loud clamoring filled the air. Brielle quickly filled out the papers and got Jane registered. Jane only had three required classes, which was English, Math, and History. Outside of those, she got to choose her other classes, which were Chorus, Psychology, and Study Hall.
Brielle took her papers and Jane’s and handed them to Mrs. Murphy, the school secretary. Mrs. Murphy then entered the information into her computer, typing feverishly. A huge cluster of fast taps sounded as her fingers worked the keyboard. Once she was finished, she looked at Brielle and Jane.
“We’ll be sending a request for Jane’s school records to her former school in California. Feel free to look around the school. Welcome to Thomasville High School, Jane,” Mrs. Murphy said with a smile.
Next, they toured the school with the incoming freshman class while the office personnel decided what teachers’ classes to place Jane in.
As Brielle and the girls toured Jane’s school with the rest of the parents, Jane noticed many parents and their teenagers staring at them and whispering. Brielle noticed it too and stopped. She then turned and faced the gossipers, mirroring the nasty looks. Suddenly, she saw Rita and Misty glaring at them from across the room. Brielle glared at them also, showing them that she wouldn’t be intimidated.
The Ire of a Community
Rita turned to another parent while maintaining her eyes on Brielle and her girls. Jane overhead the strange woman as she spoke to another parent.
“Just look at her, trying to stare me down! So, she’s not scared! That’s okay! We’re going to make her scared before it’s over! I goddam guarantee it!” Rita bitched.
“You see that woman right over there? That one right there with the blonde highlights and long hair? That’s the woman from the video! She claims we bullied her in high school and she’s trying to make us, the school, and the town look bad. She’s bad news and I would avoid her at all costs!” Misty told another parent.
“Oh, my God! That’s Brielle Bennett? I never would’ve recognized her if you hadn’t said anything,” the other parent gasped.
A third parent spoke up.
“I bet her daughters are just like her, nothing but white trash!” the third parent scoffed.
“That’s the woman from the video!” a fourth parent said to a fifth while pointing Brielle out.
Jane’s eyes flashed and she looked back at her mother.
“Mom, why did you have to post that video? Why? If I’d known you were going to plaster that video all over social media, I would have told you not to!” Jane whispered.
Brielle broke her fiery glare and turned to her daughter.
“We’ll talk about it when we get home, Jane. Okay?” Brielle replied in a low voice.
An hour later, Jane received her class schedule. Now it was time to meet the school staff.
The high school principal, Mr. Harold Winchester, an extremely tall, six foot 5, overweight and round-faced man with silver hair and eyeglasses offered a firm handshake to Brielle and the girls and greeted them with a warm “hello, it’s a pleasure to meet you.” He then continued, informing them of the times of each class, the time lunch would be served, and that the school would be closed the next day, which was Friday, then the following Monday as teacher preparation for the new school year.
Meeting the Principal
The principal had a distinguished gentleman look. He wore a dark blue suit and tie and looked to be nearing retirement age.
Jane’s new school, Thomasville High School was a tan-bricked, structure that had been built during the sixties but with newer additions to it. It was much smaller than the school Jane had attended in California. She had gone from attending a large suburban school of over ten thousand alumni to a small-town school with just over three thousand students.
The gymnasium was a separate building from the school. From the outside, the gym reminded one of a classic, 1940’s airport hangar, with it’s curved, half-moon shaped roof. A long row of windows lined each side of the building just under the roof. The rows of windows and awnings over them, jutted outward from the structure. The gym and school were connected by a walkway complete with sidewalk and overhead awning.
An Intimidating Encounter
The school was a rectangular, two-story building with four corridors, two upstairs and two downstairs, all of which were dotted with classrooms along each side. Each of the classrooms were empty except for a teacher who was either decorating their classroom or sitting at their desk shuffling papers.
When Brielle and the girls found Jane’s homeroom teacher’s classroom, they entered quietly. A short, average-sized fortyish woman sat at the teacher’s desk in front of the long, white, dry-erase board that had a smaller, decorated bulletin boards on each side.
She had solid dark brown hair except for a small streak of solid silver just above her left temple. She had on a stylish, red, floral print dress with shoulder holes, red high heel shoes, and shiny rings on two fingers of each hand. Her nails were impeccably polished with ruby red nail polish. Her face was made up with red lipstick, foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and a shimmery beige eyeshadow with light brown in the crease under her browbones.
As Brielle and the girls approached her desk, the well-decked out teacher looked up with an angry face and pursed lips.
“Can I help you?” she chided in an impatient tone.
Brielle and the girls stopped suddenly and gave the teacher a look of unpleasant surprise.
“We were just looking for my daughter’s homeroom. According to this schedule, this is it, and you must be Mrs. Dumas,” Brielle said matter of factly.
“That’s right. And who might you be?” Mrs. Dumas asked, looking at the older girl who stood beside Brielle.
“Jane Markowitz,” Jane answered.
The teacher looked at her class schedule and list of homeroom students.
“Jane Markowitz…Jane Markowitz,” she thought aloud as she ran her finger down the list of homeroom students.
“Ah, yes! You’re the new student from California. They just added your name to the class list in red ink on the fly. Welcome to Thomasville High School, Jane,” she said half-heartedly.
“Thanks,” Jane replied with a half-smile.
“Now, you know school doesn’t start until Tuesday. Right?” Mrs. Dumas told Jane.
“Yes. We’very been made aware of that. Thank you,” Brielle replied.
“Well, I’ll see you Tuesday morning, Jane,” the teacher said.