In a silent classroom, row after row of children worked with their heads down, pencils moving across paper, hurried in the final moments of the exam. The silence was interrupted only by the scribbling, feet moving around nervously and the occasional cough. The hellish quiet was brought to a sudden stop by the sound of a period bell.
“Alright children, hand in the papers before you leave and have a good weekend.” The room was filled with the scrapings of chairs on hard laminate flooring and the children gathering their items. It wasn’t long until one girl dressed in a black shirt and torn jeans was the only one left. After the last child left the room she finally slid out of her chair and shouldered the one strap backpack. She handed in the paper and turned to leave. “How was the exam Kuri?”
The young woman turned and raised dark green eyes to meet those of the teacher. “I was finished quite some time ago, actually.” She looked down to the floor before turning once more, rushing out of the room. Behind her the teacher could do nothing but gather up the papers and leave herself. She believed that once out of the building her students are no longer any of her business, save for marking their papers.
“Kuri what took you so long?” A long haired red head picked up a textbook and shoved it back into the threatening mound that was proceeding to collapse outside of the confines of the locker. Kuri paused about to speak before turning to the locker and spinning the combination to the lock. “Fine, do not talk to me.” She spun around and leaned against the door of the locker, effectively forcing it closed.
“It has nothing to do with you, Amber.” Kuri whispered as the lock gave her passage. Opening the door the overly neat locker she carefully picked out a pair of textbooks and closed it with a soft click and slipped the lock back into its home. “They are off again.”
Amber paused for a moment and her go-lucky attitude turned dark. “Where are they off to this time?”
Kuri shook her head and wrapped a lock of the jet black hair around her finger. “Does it matter? It’s almost as if I’m an outsider in my own family.”
“You can come and stay with me for a while if you want. I’m sure my parents would not mind.”
“I’ll think about it.” Kuri tucked the books into her bag before leaning on the portable doors. She already knew she would not accept Ambers offer. It was all a matter of principle. She was going to turn sixteen soon and she really could not afford to be afraid of staying at home alone any longer.
The day was pleasant enough. Many of the older students were peeling out of the parking lot in vehicles in various states in repair, but all in the mindset of escaping the school in the fastest possible way. Kuri watched as an old rusted out firebird almost run into a small newer civic, both cars with far too many horsepower for their new drivers. She shook her head and walked beside her friend towards home. Both she and Amber lived on the other side of town, which was a long distance to walk but on Friday afternoons they planned this as a form of exercise and relaxation. Kuri also found herself using it as form of escape, from the silence of home and the teasing on the bus.
A block from the school a black car rolled up behind the two girls. “Hey Curry!” One of the boys jeered out of the window. “Come over to my place and I’ll show you a good time!” Kuri gripped the strap of her bag and shut the boys in the car out, focusing intently on the ground as the boys kept yelling at her from the car. “More than my buddy did last night!”
“Grow up you asses!” She heard her friend scream and looked up to see Amber kicking the door of the car, leaving a good dent. The car stopped and the driver got out and gave her a quick look before getting in and racing away.
Amber crossed her arms over her chest and watched as the car took off and rounded a corner. She usually could take care of herself physically but also having the police commissioner as a father also kept her head firmly placed on her neck. “You shouldn’t let them say things like that to you Kuri. I know you hate when people call you Curry.”
Kuri shook her head. Ever since she started high school it started to matter less and less what people called her, thought of her. It would be best if they left her alone, if she could go away, perhaps forever. “It does not matter. They want a reaction from me, and you gave them one!” She turned to her friend furious. “Why can not you control that anger of yours more reasonably? Not everyone is impressed by your fuck you attitude!”
“At least I stick up for myself not hiding in my own shadow afraid of the dark, or should I say afraid of being alone.” Kuri snarled and reached out striking her friend. Amber looked at Kuri for a moment then growled, “Fine. Go to hell.” She picked up her bag and continued alone down the street.
Kuri watched her friend go, knowing now it will be a few days until there will be the awkward phone call, stalling apology, then a quick shopping trip to the nearest ice cream parlor to cool things off in more ways than one. However Amber was right. Kuri hated when others called her Curry. She was afraid of the dark and being alone. The point was that she didn’t need it to be pointed out to her every time Amber got mad at her. Kuri began to wonder how much of the relationship between the two could be so tight at times and so strained at others. With those thoughts swirling in her mind she began to take another route home.
Her parents traveled abroad often. When her mother got pregnant it was completely by accident. After all, what was the need for a family, when careers were the main focus in her parents’ lives? They decided to give her a foreign sounding name, randomly throwing sounds around they came up with Kuri, forgetting completely that it is close to the spicy dish. Kuri almost laughed at the thought, knowing some of the boys at school thought she had grown into a “spicy dish”. But she wanted nothing to do with the boys in the school. Like her parents she wanted to make money, nothing more. Even her friendship with Amber is meant to be temporary; only until she graduates and goes on to the world beyond. Even so it bothered her more than something that was only meant to be temporary.
It was two hours later when she turned up her driveway; she was greeted by her mother rushing packing the last of the bags into the silver Audi. “Ah Kuri fine time you get home. I told you this morning to get straight home so I would have some time to go over some stuff before I leave.” She walked into the Victorian style two storey home, “Now the numbers for the hotels are on the fridge as well as the conference times and numbers. There are enough microwavable meals and lunches to make you through the next two weeks. The neighbour will check on you on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. You can have Amber over but no parties. Feed the cat. Pick up the mail.” She listed as she grabbed another suitcase and walked out, expecting Kuri to keep up and yet out of the way. It has been this way ever since she was young and the dance is well practiced. “Do not forget to lock up before you leave for school and when you go out.” She swung the last bag into the trunk before closing it and opening up the rear drivers door. “Here, your father picked this up for you to use. I figured it would be in your taste.” She handed Kuri a wrapped package.
“Thanks mom. Have a good trip.” She looked her mother over, impressed that a woman of her age is still strikingly beautiful with her mousy hair pinned back, dressed in a dark suit with black pumps.
The older woman nodded and slipped behind the wheel of the car and strapping on the seatbelt. “By the way Kuri throw out those jeans and start wearing something more professional.” She closed the door before Kuri could respond and put the car in gear. In the end it didn’t matter what Kuri wore because it was only when she was leaving that her mother would actually look at her. Most of the other time Kuri could do or wear anything she so desired. Usually the ripped jeans would be buried deep within her closet but since they were leaving Kuri dug them back out to get some response out of her mother or father. Kuri smiled softly as she preformed a small wave as her mother drove out onto the street and away to the airport.