"Please, please, please, Mrs. Cope! I know I can do something, please don't make me switch!"
One of my first lines of my first day at Forks High School. Of course the they would notice me picking up my schedule.
"I'm sorry, sweetie, but with your condition, I don't think gym class would be a very good idea." She looked so sympathetic.
"At least give me a chance! I can throw and catch! I could shoot a basketball, or keep score..." I kept pleading. Just because I couldn't run, didn't mean I couldn't do other things. I hated being weak.
Mrs. Cope sighed and smiled gently, getting up from her small desk and coming over to put a hand on my shoulder. "I'll tell you what. We'll try it, but if Coach Clapp thinks it's too dangerous, we'll have to pull you out. How does that sound?"
I felt my face brighten up. "Really? Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I hugged her awkwardly and smiled as hugely as I could manage without it hurting.
She smiled bigger, her eyes sparkling ever so slightly. "Why don't you stay in here for the rest of the day. You can meet the rest of the staff, and I'll help you find the best routes to your classes. You can introduce yourself to your classmates tomorrow."
I knew she was trying to be careful about me. That was just a natural thing. When you see a girl with leg braces on crutches making her way around, it's kind of hard not to go over to them and try to help.
I nodded and kept my smile high, then went to sit down. Mrs. Cope, obviously worried, tried to keep it secretive in the way she hovered as I made my way over to the couch. It wasn't as annoying as it was upsetting to know that I looked so helpless. I admit, I do fall a lot and I get tired easily. That doesn't mean I'm totally useless, though.
As I sat down, I caught a glimpse of a few students staring at me from the hallway. Naturally, they looked away quickly, looks of pity on their faces.
I sighed; I was very much used to people feeling bad for me. I started filling out forms for school to pass the time.
How old are you? Seventeen years.
What grade are you going into? Eleventh.
Do you have any mental disabilities? Explain if yes. No.
Do you have any physical disabilities? Explain if yes.
I sighed, skipping that one for now, and continued with the forms.
Will you be riding the bus? No.
Do you have any allergies? Asthma.
I groaned as I flipped the page and found many more questions.
It seemed like hours, but I finally managed to get the forms nearly done. That same question kept bugging me.
Do you have any physical disabilities? Explain if yes.
Should I answer it? They would probably figure it out tomorrow that I had a disability. I decided to answer it anyway.
Yes. Aftermath of paralytic polio.
It stung to write it down. I didn't like admitting that I was disabled, even though I knew it.
On the bright side, because I had it, it means someone else didn't. They don't have to suffer.
I put the forms in my bag. I would fill in the other missed questions later, when I was in a little better mood and my hand didn't hurt. I pulled out one of my books to see if I could start reading it before anyone needed me. I had just gotten to the fifth line when I heard the door creak open quietly.
"Hello, Eric. Nice to see you," Mrs. Cope said, and I looked up.
He was a fairly dressed boy with black hair, glasses, and a little bit of spots on his face. He had a camera hung on his shoulder. I guessed he was on the newspaper.
"You too." He smiled warmly. Apparently he was the sweet teacher-favorite kind of guy.
Then Eric saw me, and he tried to hide the sympathy "Hi, I'm Eric. Welcome to Forks." He smiled at me.
"I'm Grace," I said, smiling back.
He seemed awkward, but in a good way, as his smile got just a little bigger, "That's a nice name. Want me to show you around for a little while?"
"Thanks. And sure, that'd be nice." I grabbed my bag and put the strap on my shoulder.
He reached out for it, "You don't have to wear that. I can carry it."
"I'm alright," I tried to say, but he already had it off. Oh well. If it makes him happy, I might as well let him.
I got my crutches from the side of the couch and, with Mrs. Cope and Eric hovering, carefully stood up. I couldn't help but smile a little when I got up without falling.
"Be careful, sweetie," Mrs. Cope cautioned quietly as we went out into the hallway.
I spent the next minute or two looking around where I was. I hadn't imagined the school to be this big.
"Mostly everyone's in class right now, so you don't have to worry about..." He let the sentence stay unfinished, and I nodded in response.
"Well, obviously, this is the main hall," He continued, "Most of your classes should be right around here. Can I see your schedule? I could help you find your classes."
I handed him my schedule quickly; I kept that in my pocket. He looked over it for about a minute before he spoke again.
"Alright... Gym first? Hmm... You sure you don't wanna change that?"
He looked at me for a long second, then back down at the schedule.
"Well, other than that, looks like it should be pretty straight forward. Do you have a map?"
I nodded, "Yeah. I think I know where most of my classes are. The gym's over there, right?"
"Sure is," He replied, just as the bell rang, "C'mon, let's go somewhere less crowded."
"Are you sure? I think I can handle it," I said in a light voice, smiling.
He looked a little uncomfortable, "Er, I'd rather we went somewhere else."
"Eric, I'm gonna have to do this exact thing tomorrow. Might as well get my first time over with."
He sighed a little, "Just be careful..."
I nodded and leaned back against the wall, just as the halls flooded with students.