Part I - Who is Zoey Jane?
My name is Zoey Jane. I'm fifteen years old and I live here in New York, and have parents and a baby brother. But I am not the brightest of children in this world. I don't have the best family, my grades are not very high, but most importantly, I suck at writing. I lost all my confidence, actually, when I joined the school paper. At first I thought I was the best writer ever because my teachers always give me the highest marks at class in essays and formal themes. But when I joined the school paper, I realized that my writing isn't really really good. It isn't fit for the "professional" kind of writing. My writing was just fit for class essays and papers and nothing more. But I didn't expect my whole life to change without even trying.
Ever since I joined the school paper, I've felt like all my peers there have been treating me differently. One time, when I got lunch and left my bag inside the publishing office, Tim and Rey just leaned on it while they worked on their laptop. Even when I came near them, and sat real close to them 'cause my bag was there, they stilled ignored me like it was nothing. Then during another time, Amy just opened my bag and snooped while Letty, the head of the paper, lectured me about how inspired I should be while I was writing (And by the way, Letty was totally screaming at me). And while Amy inspected my bag, I felt Marie's foot slowly creep up to my skirt, as if she was trying to lift it up. She was the worst. I so wanted to quit, because I didn't want the life I had to get any more worse. But I didn't have a choice, I didn't want to chicken out and show everybody I'd back out that easily.
But the Divisions were tomorrow, and I knew that I was going to win 10th place.
Part II - The Divisions
So the next day, I rode the bus at 6am with all my noisy schoolmates. I sat in the very back, all alone - like always. I opened my phone and listened to some 5SOS, but even that didn't get my mind off at how humiliated I'd be when I get that certificate with my name and 10th place on it - Wait, no, change that to 100th place.
We arrived at the school by 10:30 in the morning. Mrs. Thea, the school's principal toured us around. It was a big school, with white marble walls and colorful lockers. Everything was clean, and just like our school, it was buzzing with gossip and weird kids. When lunchtime came, I sat down in a quiet table by the window next to the Candy Stall. I ate my spaghetti bitterly, looking out the window where a tree sat still. Unharmed and safe. I wish I was a tree. Then I'd never have to worry about this. I'd just watch children play all day, and hear the birds singing swiftly while the wind would play with my leaves.
After eating I head to the school's library to do some reading, as I hear my schoolmates talk about the contest.
"I heard they're going to start by 11:30 in the first classroom by those lockers," Letty said, while gulping a glass full of lemonade.
"Just wonder how many people will be cheering for ME!" Marie said while her eyes sparkled with delight.
"Marie, can't you even say 'me' without your eyes going all crazy and voice all squeaky?" Jenny said while she rolls her eyes
"Guys, shouldn't we probably talk about how we're gonna ace this thing, not how we're going to brag." Amy said. And then that was the time I left, thinking how I WAS going to ace this and still be alive.
I arrive at the library by 10:36. It is a good thing Mrs. Thea told us all the places from head to toe. And just like our library, their school's library is empty, except for the librarians. I rarely ever see people who love books. Their library was a large wide room, and was filled with thousands of nooks and crannies. It was dusty and old since I can tell by my sneeze. I sit in a chair in the very corner of the library, grab a book without even looking what it is about, and I look, then grin to see that no one is looking. I flip the pages of the book and let the scent of its pages enter my nose. I know it's weird, but they calm me down. If you don't know, aside from writing, I love reading. They take me away from this horrid stressful world I live in, where I don't need to worry, or do homework or fight with my brother. In the company of books, I am at peace.
I open the book on the first chapter. And what happened next actually helped, at least a little.
"Her little fingers tiptoed on the dusty wooden shelf, as books greeted her more and more. She held on to her ruby necklace, closed her eyes, and hovered in the air, until she was nowhere to be seen. Magic."
I'd rather be with the girl than at this school. After about twenty five minutes of traveling with the girl, I stand up and use my tingling legs to get back to the cafeteria and get this thing over with. As my palms sweat minute by minute, I see the classroom by the lockers, and Marie and my schoolmates are just packing up from their lunch. I walk towards the classroom and wait patiently, my back inclined to the window, and my isolated eyes staring into a mad mad world. I just watch the students walk around, gossip, gossip. And then when the bell rings, there is no one left but me, my schoolmates, and our competitors. Outside the classroom, a mini stage is set up with a microphone, and standing in front of us is a man wearing a blue uniform with black pants, shiny shoes, and very waxlike hair. His green eyes are so normal that they make me want to throw up.
"Good Afternoon to everyone." the man says. His voice is weird, and sensitive, but a bit gay-like in my opinion.
"My name is Cole Leonard Renevue, but you can call me Mr. R."
"As you know, you are all here to compete for the divisions, and I am very satisfied with all of you for being here, because we all have one thing in common here, which is writing. But to be the best one of all, you'll have to prove yourself and make it to the regionals," Mr R says blankly as I hear a voice in my head that tells me that I won't make it.
"As I announce your category, approach your proctor and follow him or her to your respective classrooms.
He strictly divides us into our categories, which are feature writing, sports writing, news writing, headline writing, copy reading, editorial, and cartooning. Each category has their own room, and it looks like the others will have to go to another classroom. Since I write feature articles, I stay next to Letty as the others go to the other rooms. Mr. T gets off the stage and says goodbye. Now I am left with Letty and three hundred more students who are all competing against me.
Our proctor stands on the stage, since she gets the advantage to use the mic unlike the other proctors who need to speak up for their listeners to hear them. "Good Morning to everyone of you feature writers!" she says kindly. I think I like her better than Mr T.
"My name is Melany Locketty, but I'd prefer you calling me Teacher Mey." she says with a giggle, her wavy blonde hair almost reaching her waist and her smile as sweet as a daffodil.
"Are you all okay, ready to start writing?" she says. Me, okay? I am more than a hundred percent okay, I think that I'm going to roll on the floor because I feel so normally okay. Everyone just smiles and answers different stuff.
"Okay then, off to mechanics we go! Don't want to eat the time you've all got," this is the boring part, I guess.
"Remember that Winners never cheat, and cheaters never win.I'll just read this to you guys, so please pay attention," she coughs, and starts speaking.
"Rules and Mechanics for Divisions 2015. This year, the rules will be very simple, and they are as follows. Each student will be provided a pen, pencil, papers, eraser, and sharpener, and bags will be left at the respective counter." Teacher Mey pointed to a humongous counter at the back of the hallway, squeezed next to the classroom to not make it look too obvious. "No cheating, and looking at your competitors paper is not allowed. Talking to any other person other from your proctor will be considered cheating, which will disqualify you. Everyone will be given one hour and thirty minutes, and you will all start at the exact same time when your proctor gives the papers. Every time you hear a bell ring, that means twenty minutes are up. And when you hear the bell being rang multiple times, that means time is up." Teacher Mey smiles encouragingly. Probably because she sees how anxious everybody is. "Well now, let the divisions begin and good luck to everyone of you!"
Teacher Mey divides three hundred students easily, which is a surprise. Once I sit on my chair, I see two folders stacked to prevent others from cheating. And then I think of the most random thing I can imagine, and cannot believe that I am actually hoping I'll have a chance.
"She lets the smooth wind caress her hair, as she travels far into the woods with her basket. This was happening to her, but this wasn't magic. She knew it in her heart, as her legs jumped more and more, her mouth gasping for air. Because she was Caroline Rose. She knew she could do it."
Three bells have rang, and I'm still copying my draft to get the original copy. Almost there. . .
"And then she heard a voice. A sweet, gentle peaceful one that reminded her of reading books under a tree. 'Caroline?' it said. She turns around with open arms and delightful eyes and only says one thing. 'I did it.'"
"DING, DING, DING, DING, DING!!!" Once I hear the bell, my head props up from my seat, to see the others trying to write as fast as they can and Teacher Mey, already starting to collect papers in the front row.
Once she finishes, she says something that I will hold onto for the rest of my life. "You have all done very well. Win or lose, you are all winners because you've gone this far." And now everything is so clear, with just that. I'm still young, I've got a future I've go the courage to chase ahead of me, and who cares if I'm a bad writer now? I can control my destiny, and if others can do it, I should know I can.
Part III - Happily Ever After
It's been a week after the divisions, and thinks are all back to normal. I wake up, study, eat lunch at school by myself, go to the classroom, study, go home, and (sometimes) cry myself to sleep. Ms. Terry, our Math teacher is still murmuring about how these numbers become these and how numbers become that.
The paging system goes to life, and Mr. Denny, our principal makes an announcement.
"Good afternoon to everyone, and I am sorry for this interruption. I'd like to excuse all the School Paper members and request them all to proceed to the Publishing office. Again, School Paper members, please proceed to the Publishing office. Thank you."
My teacher allows me to go, as I once again use my tingling legs. I don't know what is going to happen next. I push the door open, and see our Instructor, Mr. Adams smiling like I've never seen before. And now he's, wait, what, he's laughing?! As I go closer, he shakes my hand, and says the best thing ever. Well, you probably know what it is, and I can't even continue writing this, because tears are literally falling down from my cheeks, which I hate because I hate other people seeing me cry, which makes me weak.
"Congratulations, Zoe!" Mr. Adams just called me Zoe, which no one even calls me!
"Er, thank you sir, the divisions were quite hard, but I promise I'll do my best next time." I say.
"Zoey Jane, you just bought yourself a golden medal with 1st place and your name engraved in it." he says.
The others have just came in, while my heart continues to skip and jump inside of me. And now suddenly everyone is congratulating me and talking to me. And now, I cannot even believe that me and my family have became closer, all because I expanded Teacher Mey's saying. I believe in myself, and I get higher grades. Because I was always a winner. Just getting to study here in this place, getting to join the school paper, and getting a family just makes me feel like a winner already.
"Come on, Zoe, Can't you just tell your parents to reschedule? Attending the 5SOS concert is just pure happiness!" Letty says excitedly.
"We've been planning for this trip for a long time, and it'd break their hearts if we reschedule it, because we got a good deal on it." I say, laughing.
"Alright then," she sighs. "Hope you have fun! Anyways, I've gotta go, Mr. Adams does have a lot of paperwork for me to finish." Letty says.
"Kk. See ya later." Then I head to Ms. Terry's room.
"Ahh, Ms. Jane, you're early." Ms. Terry says.
"Of course, I wouldn't wanna miss those extra lessons," I reply.
"My oh my, Zoe. Well let's get started," Ms. Terry says, and I can see her holding back a smile, which later turns into a laugh she can't resist.
After English class, I ride the bus and go home.
"Zoey Jane. Good to see you. I can see that my monster haunting experiments still haven't worked on you." Nico, my brother says while holding a Nerf gun.
"You'll just have to try harder next time, kiddo," I say, lowering myself for a hug.
And after minutes of doing my homework and going online, I go down to have dinner.
"Heard the test was a piece of cake," my mom says while pouring me some orange juice.
"Not really, but I did my best." I say.
"Well you won't have to worry about tests, we're about to go to Hawaii!" my dad says while showing me a necklace made of flowers.
"Which reminds, me, I haven't packed!" I say.
"I'm going to bring all my Nerf guns," whispers Nico to me, but fails as mom says no.
And then I creep up to my room and close my eyes, praying for another wonderful day, and thanking God for this wonderful life I've got.