Gripping his mothers arm, young James wailed.
No mum please! Please mumma I dont want to go!
Listen sweetie, his mother consoled him as she fixed his collar, Its your first day of school, youre going to have so much fun! And youll make new friends
James burst into tears as he wrapped his arms tightly around his mothers neck, sobbing into her hair. She gingerly peeled him off of her, taking his hands into her own.
Come on bub, dont cry, youre a big kid now.
Well, shes crying! he said, pointing his finger at a young girl crying a few metres away from them.
James! It is not nice to point. She exclaimed as she pulled his finger down, And big boys dont cry, okay? she said firmly as she pulled down his shirt. Standing up, she let go of James finger, staring down at him.
I dont want any more fuss.
Go inside, now.
With his head hung low, he walked slowly into the classroom, sniffling and wiping away the tears that stained his cheeks.
James stood in the middle of the classroom, scanning the space to decide what to do for free time. His eyes skipped past the packs of cards, the art supplies, the books, and landed on the kitchen set. It had only become available as they entered into year 2, sitting in the corner of the room, the glistening utensils beckoning to him. He began striding towards it, before he was stopped by another boy.
James, where are you going?
Oh, Im going to play kitchen today. James grinned.
Kitchen? Thats silly, only girls play kitchen. the other boy snickered, All the boys are playing tips. he shrugged before walking away.
With a quick glance back at the kitchen set, James scrunched his nose.
Wait! he screamed, following the other boy out of the door.
James sat at his small wooden desk, carefully cutting a piece of paper along a thick black line. His eyes shot up as a young girl on his table dropped her scissors with a thud and stormed to the teacher.
Miss! she said, dragging out the word. Milo is being mean to me!
What did he do, sweetie?
He pulled at my hair and called me mean names!
Milo, the teacher called, That is not nice, okay. Dont do that again.
Milo nodded firmly before turning to laugh with his friend seated beside him James pursed his lips as he kept cutting.
But, you guys are getting older now most of you are around 10, right? the teacher whispered as the young girl nodded. James strained his ears to listen in to their conversation.
Well, I think that maybe the reason hes teasing you is because he likes you.
Both the young girl and James furrowed their brows in confusion, as the teacher flashed the girl a smile, patting her shoulder and telling her to continue doing her work.
Yeah so I was telling him, that you cant- James stopped mid-sentence as his voice cracked, causing his friends to erupt in laughter.
Ok! Year 8! the teacher bellowed. Quiet down!
The murmur of the students fizzled out as their attention stood with the teacher at the front of the classroom.
Miss Scott-Stevenson has set you guys some textbook work for today, so were going to need a few people to go and grab textbooks.
The children sat eagerly on the edge of their chairs, hands ready to shoot up any minute.
So Im going to need 5 strong boys, the teacher said, scanning the class as a dozen hands flew up, the rest slamming down in annoyance that they didnt fit the criteria. James grinned widely when the teacher pointed at him, getting out of his chair, eager to have any excuse to get out of class. Glancing behind him, he saw girls rolling their eyes and leaning back into their chairs.
Nervously wringing his hands, James sat on the wooden benches, surrounded by a pack of his friends.
Oh my god James, what are you so nervous about?
He doesnt want to get rejected!
I just dont understand why guys have to ask girls out all the time. James sighed in frustration.
Um, because thats thats just not how it works. explained his friend, Come on James, stop being a pussy and go for it.
His friends pulled his arms, forcing him off the bench, and pushed him away from the seating area. James halted, pressing his weight into the ground so that his friends could not take him any further, and buried his face into his hands.
Jeez, his friend rolled his eyes, pulling James head up. Grow some balls, man! Tell me, just tell me one reason why shed say no.
James stayed silent.
Just go. He urged, nudging James forward. Be a man.