Bridget sighed and got out of her wet bed. “Usually I want to go back to sleep,” she said to herself. There was no way she wanted to lay on those cold clammy sheets. She peeled off her wet pajamas and sighed.
She got some underwear out of the drawer and walked to the bathroom. The heat of the shower massaged her body and she hoped it also washed away the pissy smell from her skin. She hated stepping out of the shower, but she needed to get stuff done. After brushing her teeth and hair, she walked back to her bedroom.
It was still early; the clock said 5:15. She opened her closet to select what to wear. She hated everything she saw. She was used to a whole different high school wardrobe. Everything here was different. All the jeans were low cut; all the tops were immodest. She eventually selected a babydoll T-shirt that had some chemistry quote on it and some jeans. She chose the non-faded jeans. If her bladder rebelled in school today, at least it wouldn’t show, she hoped.
She put all her wet things in a clothes basket and wandered over to the bookshelf. She was not going to go back to sleep and risk wetting her clean outfit, so she scanned the shelf for something enjoyable to read. It wasn’t likely with the shelf of bad romance, but she found something useful on the lowest shelf: the East High School yearbook.
It might make it easier to fit in if she knew with whom she was dealing with. She read the book for another hour.
“Angela, time to wake up,” said her mother. She opened the door and looked at her. “Oh, you’re already dressed.”
“Um, yes,” Bridget said. She blushed at the thought of the woman seeing the clothesbasket.
“Angela,” her mother asked, “Why are your sheets not on your bed?” She looked over to the clothes basket. “Did you wet yourself again?”
Bridget looked down at the floor and nodded.
“Angela, what’s going on?”
“Nothing.” There was no way Bridget could tell the truth. “I just had a bad dream and…”
“Well get ready for breakfast.” She pointed to the sheets. “I suppose I am going to have to wash those before I pick your father up from the airport. I am sure that finding out his daughter has forgotten how to use the toilet is not the first thing he wants to learn when he comes home.”
“Thank you,” Bridget said. She didn’t know what else to say.
Breakfast was delicious. Her own mother either never bothered to make breakfast, or just poured Bridget a bowl of cereal. Angela’s mother made bacon and eggs, and served juice. The empty spot in Bridget’s stomach felt warm and full for the first time in years. Maybe living here wasn’t too bad.
“Your bus is coming in about ten minutes,” her mother said. “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the bathroom first?”
Bridget was about to give an angry reply that she wasn’t a four-year-old, but given her accident record in the last day, she bit her lip and went to the bathroom before running out to catch the bus.
As soon as the big yellow bus pulled to a stop in front of her, Bridget remembered why she hated that part of school. Riding the bus had been the most humiliating part of high school for her.
She bit her lip and walked up the steps. The bus was crowded, dirty, and it smelled. A few people whispered and pointed when she got on. She knew they were talking about what happened the previous day. She guessed their whispers were, “She’s the girl who had an accident,” or “She’s the girl who peed her pants.”
Bridget looked around. Lia was waving at her from halfway back. She stepped over the obstacles of backpacks in her path in the aisle until she got to Lia and took a seat next to her.
“Hi,” she said.
“Buenos dias,” Lia replied. She smiled.
“What?” Bridget asked.
“I was saying good morning to you, chica. Did you sleep okay?”
“Oh yeah. Spanish.” Why didn’t Angela take German? Better yet, why didn’t she take Spanish in high school? She remembered. Jesse Stevens took German, so she had to take it to so she could get a date. It was a wasted effort. He took Allison Stewart to junior prom. She did well in German, so she never regretted the decision until now. If only she had taken Spanish, then she would not have to learn two years of language in less than a semester. “I got it taken care of. I found our conversation in my notes. We’ll go over it Friday night, right?”
“That’s what I said,” Lia replied.
Bridget twisted her hair around her finger and tried to think of something intelligent to say.
“So are you seeing the new Star Trek movie?” Lia asked.
“There’s a new Star Trek movie?” Bridget asked.
“I guess that is a no,” her friend said, “You know those Harlequin romances will rot your brain.”
“Will they really?” Bridget asked.
“I guess not, but you are too smart to read those.” Lia smiled and looked out the window. “Hey. We’re at school.”
The two girls filed off the bus and headed to their lockers. Bridget just followed Lia. How was she going to know which locker was hers?
Bridget’s face turned red as the answer to her question became readily apparent. A baby diaper taped to her locker worked as well as a flashing beacon that pointed her way through the fog of students.
Lia ripped the diaper off and tossed it in the trash. “How dare they,” she yelled.
Bridget randomly turned the lock on her locker. It was no use anyway. She wouldn’t know the combination. “It won’t open,” she said.
“Here, let me try.” Lia opened the locker up.
“I guess I am just upset,” she answered. She pulled out her books she thought she would need for the morning and followed Lia to pre-Calculus.
The class was boring. The teacher droned on and on like the science teacher on the Wonder Years. She whispered her thoughts to Lia.
“What’s the Wonder Years?”
“Just an old TV show.” She couldn’t make that mistake too many times. If she wasn’t grounded, she would have spent time watching TV to see what she should be making references to.
The Ferris Bueller teacher kept rambling on. He probably didn’t even notice his white-board marker faded to illegiblescribbles five minutes ago. No, that was just an epsilon and an alpha.
The rest of the morning classes were uneventful. Physics was more lecture and in English they discussed Brave New World.
Mrs. Miller took the opportunity to embarrass her by asking her to compare the life styles of John Savage and Henry Foster. She had no idea who the woman was talking about. “Um, I don’t know.”
“Angela did you even read the book. Your paper on differences between themes of 1984 and Brave New World is due Monday. It is Thursday.”
“I’m working on may paper,” she said.
“Can you answer the question?” she asked Lia.
“John was a savage and had a mother. Henry was born in a test tube. It was an insult if someone suggested you had a mother or a father.”
“Good, Lia,” said Mrs. Miller. “At least someone knows the material.”
After class, they went to lunch. Before going to the cafeteria Bridget stopped in the restroom just to make sure.
“Wow, Miss Grosstree really laid into you about not knowing the material,” Lia said. “You usually know your stuff. What happened?”
Bridget thought of a quick lie. “You know that book I have with Fabio on the cover?” she asked. “Well I wanted to know if Tilda and Henri got together. They hated each other at the beginning of the book and… Well, I read it instead of Brave New World. So did Henry really come from a test tube?”
“Angela, are you getting senioritis? Even if you already got into college, you will still need to take your AP tests to get college credit for your basic courses.”
“I will read it tonight,” she told her. She guessed it would be no sleep that night. She was going to finish 1984 and start on Brave New World if it killed her.
When they stood in line in the cafeteria, Bridget knew she had been wrong. The bus was not the worse part of school it was the cafeteria food. She took her tray and sat down with Lia.
Lia opened her milk and took a sip. “I didn’t know how far behind you were slipping.”
“Oh relax,” Bridget said. She forked a bite of her spaghetti. “This tastes like prison food,” she said.
“What would you know of prison food?” ask Lia.
“Are you kidding? I’ve been here for what, almost twelve…” She stopped herself. “I don’t know, but I imagine cafeteria food and prison food are similar.”
“Exactly you’re guessing.”
“Don’t look. Evan Fiscus and his ho Julia Grass.”
Bridget looked. Julia was blond and skinny. She wore a top that was so low, she had to keep pulling it up so her breasts would spill out which was a remarkable feat considering her breasts were on the small side. Her blonde hair was long, but thin and she apparently was no stranger to peroxide. She did look pretty though, but Bridget knew that Angela’s body was better. She was more curvier and had a prettier face.
Evan Fiscus was just a jock. He wore jeans and a letterman’s jacket. Since it was the off-season, he grew his hair out. It had that same look that made Bridget feel old. To her all the guys looked like they needed a haircut.
“I just looked. So?” she asked Lia.
“He’s coming this way.”
The couple came over to their table. “Hi,” Evan said.
“You’re a jerk Evan,” said Lia.
“This is between me and Angela,” he said. He put one are around Julia’s waist and pulled her close to him.
“Let me guess,” said Bridget. “You came over to tell me you are breaking up with me and I am gross. Did I miss anything?”
“Yes,” he said. “I am dating Julia now.”
“You’re just a big jerk, Evan,” said Lia.
“I’m the star quarterback, so I got to keep up my reputation for cool. I can’t have a girlfriend who goes around leaving a trail.”
Lia stood up. “I’m going to hurt you, Evan Fiscus.”
“Don’t worry about it, Lia,” Bridget said. “I am going to go to college in the fall. No one there will know about yesterday’s incident and we’ll have college boyfriends.” She looked at Julia who hadn’t said anything yet. She had looked up Julia Grass in the year book. “What are you Julia? A junior? Are you going to trust Evan to behave himself when you are a senior next year and he is a freshman football player in college surrounded by hot college girls? Maybe he’ll wait for you.”
Julia turned bright red and looked at Evan. She turned back to Bridget. “At least I don’t pee and crap my pants, Angela.” She turned and walked away pulling Evan with her.
“Wow, Angela,” said Lia. “You showed them. That was pretty harsh. I thought you would be crying.”
“Well in this novel I was reading, Rafe Castillo wanted to be with Lily Black even though Lisa Fennimore said Rafe was the father of her baby. It turned out that Lisa was just lying and when they got married, it turned out that she hired an actor to be the priest so the wedding wasn’t valid any way. Rafe left town and had nothing to do with either of them.”
“Angela, I swear you need to put away those romance novels.”
Bridget didn’t have the heart to tell her that it was actually a plot to a soap opera her mother had watched in the nineties. She would never actually try to read the romance novels on Angela’s shelf. She needed to get some science fiction in there or something. “A girl’s got to read something,” she said. “Do you have anything better for me to read? I am planning on reading Brave New World tonight.”
“Brave New World is a good start, but it is too academic as far as science fiction goes. Miss Grosstree said it was not science fiction because it is good, but she doesn’t want to admit science fiction is good.”
“Who cares?” Bridget asked.
“Time for class.” She stood up and picked up her tray. “Are you ready to finish your powerpoint?”
“Why not?” Bridget followed her friend to put away her try and go to class.
Computer class was something else indeed. It should have been simple, but so much had changed while she was in prison. Bridge just wanted to run out screaming. She had used PowerPoint a bit, but it wasn’t like she was used to. So much was different.
It started out bad when she sat down and logged in. Fortunately Angela had written her username and password on the first page of her computer class notebook. No problem there. Her notes also said, “Finish PowerPoint,” not “do PowerPoint,” so it was saved somewhere.
She looked at Lia to see where she got her disk from, but Lia was already working on her project. She opened her backpack and began looking for it. It was nowhere to be seen. She closed her backpack and put her keys and cell phone next her keyboard. “Lia, where did I save my PowerPoint?”
“Probably on your thumb drive. It should be on your keychain.”
Bridget picked up her keys and looked over at Lia’s computer. She saw how it worked and put the thumbdrive in the USB port and fired up PowerPoint. It was surprisingly well done. The last two pages didn’t have the data listed. It was a simple matter type in the last two slides from the outline in her notebook. She saved it and had it ready in no time.
She spent the rest of class going over the slides and practicing the presentation she thought she would have to give.
Spanish was film day, so they just watched Spanish language films. Bridgett was totally lost. At least there was no assignment given.
“Remember, your conversations are due next week. I think Angela and Lia are first on Monday,” said Senorita Faust.
Bridget groaned. At least it was only going to be like a play. She would have to work on the conversation with Lia that weekend.
She worked on homework in studyhall while Lia went to choir. She thanked God for small miracles that she didn’t have to go to choir. Bridget hated her voice and she hated the idea of trying to sing with Angela’s voice. Singing is a skill of the mind, not of the vocal cords and Bridget guessed she would be horrible at it even if Angela was good.
She finished pre-calculus okay and had to only take Physics, Spanish, and 1984 and Brave New World home with her. She sat with Lia on the bus.
When she arrived home, her bed was neatly made with fresh sheets. There was no pee smell at all. She lay on the bed and worked on homework and only came down for supper.
She lay in bed and read 1984 to its completion. She was going to read through Brave New World, but she glanced at the clock and it showed that it was already 12:30. She turned off the light and went to sleep.
There was no truck in her dreams. Instead it was rats.
Lots of rats like the ones that made Winston love Big Brother instead of Julia. She woke up screaming.
She felt around, but there were no rats. She was in her room. The sheets were sweaty and–she felt around her bottom and found a pet-soaked wet spot. “Uggg,” she said. She wet the bed again. A glance at her clock slowed her it was six. It was time to get ready anyway. Why was she wetting the bed? There was no truck dream with dying children. She got up and stripped her bed. She hoped Angela’s mother wasn’t too mad.