The small town of Niverville sat, unassuming, on the coast of Maine. The flickering street lamps were the only source of light as the rain poured down. I never would have thought that the town could look more neglected than the last town I lived in, in California, but I was obviously wrong. Everything was being swallowed by the fog that danced around the streets and landed on everything in its path. The streets were all cracked, the sidewalks were covered in black dots of gum, the bus stop was covered in graffiti, and by the way the sign was bent, it was clear that there hadn’t been a bus there in a long time. When my mother turned our old beetle around the corner, it seemed as if we had been put into a murder mystery movie. There were broken beer bottles on the sidewalks, trash rolled along the gutters, and a sign for the “Lucky You” bar was only part of the way lit up.
I kept my mouth shut when my mom parked the car in front of a sketchy looking apartment building. I kept my mouth shut when she pulled the key out of the ignition and told me to come along now. I kept my mouth shut as we walked into the building and she told the half asleep man at the front desk that we were ready to move in. I kept my mouth shut as he showed us to our new apartment. And I only opened my mouth to scream when I saw a dead mouse laying in the sink.
This was mostly how our relationship worked. Mama and her wandering soul dragged me to a new place as soon as school got out from a semester or two. She always told me to pack my stuff, and after 14 years I eventually just kept it packed. Minimal amount of stuff, minimal amount of annoyance from mama. Whenever she tells me to get in the car, I never know if we are coming back. Mama expects my compliance, and my whole life is dependent on if I choose to comply. If I don’t, my mama will just go on without me. And I have no other family left.
My father was killed in a car crash when my mother was pregnant, both sets of my grandparents are long gone, my parents had no siblings, and any other relatives have kept their distance.
I don’t blame them; It’s hard to be there for someone when they never stay.
Once the man went down to the front desk, I ventured around the small apartment while my mama went out to get our small amount of furniture from the car. Other than the mouse, which had been quickly disposed of by the maid, there seemed to be nothing too bad about the place. In our last apartment, there had been an infestation of ants and whenever we would turn the shower on, it would spray in two different directions: neither of which were actually hitting us.
The storm kept up, I could hear the rain on the window in what would become my bedroom. I walked into the room, which I knew would be snug with my bed mat in it, let alone my bookshelf and box of clothes. From the window, at least I had a decent view of the town.
Behind the fog, I could make out a small convenience store and ice cream shop, and a library about the size of our apartment.
Well, at least there’s a library, I thought to myself. The thing about books is that wherever you go, wherever you’re at in life, the characters in books stay the same. The stories never change, even if your life does.
“Bee, can you help me with this?”, Mama yelled from the front door.
I took a deep breath and put my forehead up to the window. The rain trickled down in front of my eyes. Another place, another space, another chance.
“Beatrice Amber, come here please!”
I went out and eyed the entire space. The kitchen and living room were ‘open concept’, or in other words, the apartment building didn’t have enough money to put up a wall between the two rooms. The living room could fit a tiny couch and television, and the kitchen had a mini fridge, a hot plate to use as a stove, and a microwave.
There were two small rooms on opposite sides of a small hallway, with a bathroom at the end. A small closet was wedged by the front door, and a small door led onto a ledge to serve as a porch, although I doubted it would actually fit chairs. If we had any.
I helped mama to unpack the car and then went back to my temporary room. I put up a small clock, and realized suddenly how late it actually was; the hands told me that it was later than twelve at night.
After hurriedly putting a cover on top of my sleeping mat, I told mama good night and went to bed, praying that it wouldn’t be such an awful place. Always hope, Beatrice.
If I hadn’t heard the computer keys clicking and smelled the strong coffee mama always had before she started writing, I would have never known morning had come upon us. The wind still whistled outside, and the rain continued to beat down.
After getting ready, I left mama to her writing, grabbed my rain jacket, and went outside. The rain felt good on the top of my head, and since the fog had gone away a bit, I could go and investigate the new town. Of course, I headed straight for the library.
The bell of the door rang out behind me and the musty smell of the books filled up my lungs. A librarian at the front desk asked me if I needed anything, looking curiously at me as if I had two heads.
“I’m new to town. My name is Bee.”, I explained.
“Oh, nice to meet you dear! If you need anything, please come and grab me. My name is Ms. Little.”
I thanked her and set off through the aisles, looking for the fantasy novels. I ran my knuckles along the familiar book spines and sighed. Sometimes I got sick and tired of moving, always moving. I just wanted a place to call home, friends that I could keep, a town to call my own.
I turned onto the last aisle to find a boy at the end, sitting alone. He was reading a book and a few tears were silently trickling down his face. I slowly made my way down the aisle because a wooden sign hung from the ceiling that clearly advertised fantasy books. The boy was under it.
When I moved closer, I could see that he was around my age. He looked like a very ordinary boy, with light brown hair and pale, freckled skin. Though when he looked up to wipe his eyes, I could see that they were anything but ordinary. Blue watercolors, dark and light, mingled together in his irises. Green melted out from his pupil and all the beautiful colors were toned down to almost perfect transparency.
I stuttered out an ‘excuse me’ as I stepped over his legs to look for books, and he stared up at me with those eyes.
His smile came close to the same level of nerve-provoking as his eyes. He grinned and sniffled a bit.
“Well, I guess someone else likes libraries in this town. Excuse the tears, I just finished a really wonderful book series.”, he said, and laughed as he held up the last Harry Potter book.
I nervously laughed, the ending of those books made me cry too. I replied, “I know how you feel, it’s always the worst when you finish a good book series, even if it ends happily. Those are my favorite books.”
He stood up, just a tad bit taller than me, and he held out his hand. “You’re new here.”, he said. I knew that it was definitely not a question. “My name is James.”
“Yeah, I just moved into the apartments across the street. My name is Beatrice, but everyone calls me Bee.” I reached out and shook his hand.
“Nice to meet you. I can confidently say that I have never met such a nice girl named after something with a stinger.”, James said, laughing at his own joke.
I laughed at the terrible joke. “So, do you have any recommendations?”, I gestured to the books.
Without a second of thought, he reached across my shoulder to pull out a book behind my head, put it in my hands, and turned around to grab another.
“Let’s see…”, he spoke quietly to himself, and turned the aisle to pick up a realistic fiction novel.
Once my arms carried a stack of books almost to my chin, I almost fell over, laughed, and told him I thought I had enough.
As I was checking out the books, he kept glancing outside at the thundering skies. Quickly after I was finished, he grabbed his coat and said goodbye.
“Well, Bee, it was nice to meet you. In fact, you are probably the first person I have met who has moved here in the past five years. But anywho, see you around.”, he said as he went out the door.
I couldn’t tell if he was the kind of person I wanted to befriend just yet, but it was sure kind of him to share his love of books with me. I walked out the door with the pile of books and quickly crossed the street to the apartment.
Faint coffee, fresh air, musty smell of the new apartment, Monday morning.
“Beatrice, get your butt out here! You know you have to leave in 10 minutes to get there early, right?”
After breakfast, I ran to school, being half- dragged back by the wind caught in my umbrella. The first day of school in a new place was always either fantastic or horrific, there was no in between. Of course, in a town like this, it would be horrific. The pavement looked like shattered glass at the front of the school, and I questioned for a minute if I had accidentally gone to the prison instead of the high school. The campus was trashed, someone had attempted to remove crude graffiti, with no cooperation, on the sides of the walls. Something that resembled a field had turned to a bubbling pit full of mud.
But with further examination, there was a small, faded, banner above the front door that said Neverville High, Welcome to the home of the Ravens! Another smaller sign, barely dangling underneath, read: Also, because of severe water damage at the middle school, we welcome the junior high students into our campus for the year!
People were scattered around the school, but all in all I saw maybe 50 students. I found a picnic bench and waited for my end to arrive; the first bell. For a minute I just looked around for students who looked my age. The only few kids who were around me were little sixth graders who looked scared for their lives.
I pulled out one of the books from the library and opened up to where I had ended last night. The words were beautifully melted together by the author and the story had drawn me in. In one night I had read almost the entire book.
Before I could start to get lost in the story again, a bright purple and broken down minivan pulled up on the street in front of me. It looked like an eggplant with wheels. I silently laughed to myself, and the door opened up. A girl who looked my age stepped out, waved to her driver, and closed the door behind her. She started toward my table.
Her blonde hair flipped in the wind, and under thick makeup I could see bags under her eyes. If she didn’t look so thoughtful and sad, I would have been jealous of her beauty. Looking at her then, I knew that she was like me. I had been there. I knew the signs of someone who was just tired of life. Not suicidal, not depressed, just exhausted of being alone in it.
When she came closer, she actually processed the fact that I was sitting at the table, and quickly walked toward a different one. I picked up my bag and my book, and followed her over.
“Hey, I’m new. My name is Beatrice, but everyone calls me Bee.”, I called out as she turned around. I knew that I was putting myself out there, and I knew I was a complete mess, but I needed at least one person to hang out with in this school.
I walked over to her and she cautiously watched me.
“Hi. I’m Haley.”, she smiled and it went straight to her eyes.
Since than me and Haley have been best friends It’s been about four months since then. It turns out that her mom left when she was a baby to. We've done volleyball and soccer together and we actually needed to have two coaches and no one would do it so both of our parents and this coming weekend we have i big tournament wear on our way there right now and wear spending the night at this really cool hotel and you won't get this our parents and going out on i date again