I chose to study psychology even after he left. I mentally measured the hemline of the skirts and the width of the baggy pants of the students as they entered. High school was turning into a doghouse day by day. Disturbed by their dispositions, I looked away.
“Class, today, I will introduce your new psychology teacher. Since, Mr. Roberts has left without any word; we have decided to not wait anymore. Say hello, Miss Robs.” When the principal left, I could feel myself turn red. I sensed people looking at me. I hoped they didn’t judge me for my footwear. My pink flip flops didn’t attract much attention, yet, doubt flickered. Nobody cared though. I smiled to myself and sharpened my pencil.
“Hello, as Principal Joyce explained, I am your new psychology teacher. I would love to get to know you all, but I would like to do this differently.” Her chirpy voice allowed her to draw our attention. She even managed to get a few headphones off.
She leaned in closer, clasping her hands she said, “So, we will do it this way. Randomly, I’ll point at someone. You have to introduce yourself and say something that you do not do normally.” A few moans filled through the class. Except her happy face and sexy figure, we had judged and decided that we didn’t like her. She ignored the negative response and picked out a person. A voice rang from the back of the class, “My name is Madison and I usually don’t like new teachers. True for this one too.” Her disrespectful smile fit in well with the class’s bad mannerisms. Hoots, wolf calls, and whistles filled the air. I sunk lower in my seat and hoped that she wouldn’t pick me.
“You there- the one with the brown hoodie and round face.” I turned. The girl behind me gave me a bored smiled and mouthed, “It’s you.”
I stood up reluctantly and held my cardigan tighter, “My name is Argie and I don’t usually wear mascara or kohl.” I could hear a few coughs and more bored yawns. Some girls stared at me disgusted and the ‘cool’ boys passed cynical comments.
Fine by me. I didn’t need them anyways.
She raised an eyebrow, “Enough you guys. Here, Argie. Try something new today.” She handed me her mascara. I walked up to her quietly and took it. I was so relieved when the bell rang. As the other students filed out of the classroom I told her, “You don’t need to do this. It was just a class. I don’t need it.”
“Try it. How will you ever know if you like it or not?”
I wanted to ask her, whether this was even related to psychology. But something about her made me think that I should try. I walked to the bathroom and held the mascara in front of the mirror. I stared at my brunette hair and spectacles. As I took them off and placed them near the sink, I realized how torn my cuticles were. I lifted the brush to my eyes –“What is Argie even trying to do?” The snickers from the right surprised me. Firmly, I tried again. They did too.
“What would a nerd know about make-up anyway?”
“Probably Argie is turning Goth.”
They left the bathroom in laughter and I tried to control my tears and not let it get to me. I spent lunchtime in the bathroom again and hoped that they wouldn’t bother me. They didn’t. But, I knew that I didn’t know how to apply it. I just ended up hurting my eyes. I walked into Miss Rob’s empty psychology class and whispered, “I don’t think I can do this.” I wondered why I was tearing up over stupid mascara and kohl. In a way, I was glad that this was psychology and not English because if it was, she would probably think that I was dealing with some existential crisis. I was happy that she didn’t ask me anything. While I gulped down water from her bottle, she sat in front of me and wordlessly wiped off the black streaks from my face. She applied eye liner and said, “There are different ways to use this. You don’t really have to worry about not being able to fit in and do it right.”
I am glad she didn’t ask any questions. I walked out of that classroom feeling a little more confident about myself and wearing mascara.
That night, I put kohl all by myself and I was proud of me. I looked into the mirror and trimmed my moustache.
“Tomorrow, I will try to be more me.” My little brother walked in just then and asked, “Argie, brother, you want to order pizza?”
“Sure, kid. I’ll be right there.”