Ashley – Memoir

Ashley Gillis

Mr. Jockers




Moving to Easton


The room was white. No paint, wallpaper, only a picture of a pack of wolves. Their eyes seemed to be looking right at me, glowing red. I could only imagine what it looked like at night. There was a queen sized bed in the middle of the back wall. I noticed how plain everything was. Even the bed. The comforter was a light beige color & the pillow cases were a dark shade of brown. The windows were wide open, and the white curtains were swaying with the breeze that was drifting in. The closet was empty, & light wood around the edges. Out the window I could see the big moving truck pulling slowly and carefully out of the driveway. Brown cardboard boxes of all sizes were stacked on top of each other against the wall. My mom had her arm around me & squeezed my shoulder slightly, and whispered in my ear,

“Everything will be fine. Change can be good.” I nodded, but it sure didn’t feel like it.

Two weeks earlier he was there again, with my mom. I sat in my room staring at the ceiling in the dark and in silence. I was supposed to be asleep, but it was hard to be with the TV on and I could hear the faint voices of him talking to my mom. I get they were in love but man it got annoying sometimes. Following that week he was there to pick me up from the bus stop at the end of my street, there to help my mom carry in the endless bag of groceries into the kitchen, and finally there to talk to have a serious talk to me with my mom. I mostly zoned him out, not caring about what Greg had to say or explain, until my mom interjected and explained that we were moving. I instantly started panicking. Moving? Was she insane? Did she officially just lose her mind? They both were crazy if they thought I would drop everything here, my friends, my grandma, my house, just to go live in another town I had no idea even existed. That night was a long one, filled with crying and no sleep. Just the thought of leaving everything here was unbearable. Especially Riley. Since the first day of kindergarten, after being pushed into one of the cubbies, she had been there with me through everything. The countless inside jokes, sleepovers, school events, basketball, all of the memories. We had gotten so close, all so I could just leave, only in the middle of fourth grade. Telling her was probably the worst part. Sure, Easton was only a 25 minute drive away, but with her crazy soccer schedule and my dance schedule, it seemed almost impossible to find time for us.

I began counting down the days until everything was going to change. I had taken a tour of the elementary school, Samuel Staples, before moving. The building reminded me of a barn, it was huge. Since I was coming from a one level small catholic school that had grades kindergarten to eighth and all classrooms were down one long hallway. The cafeteria was combined with the gym and the auditorium and was the biggest room in the building. The school almost reminded me of a mansion, having two floors, stair cases, two gyms, and multiple hallways for ony grades kindergarten through fifth. Just then a swarm of kids came rushing through the halls filling every space. I could see out the office windows little kids were walking together. Some were running, some were skipping, others were talking to the teachers. People were being buzzed in at the doors, students were heading towards the cafeteria.

“This looks exciting, doesn’t it?” my mom said to me nudging me with her shoulder.

“Very,” I answered with a shaky voice. If anything, all it did was scare me. We left after that and headed back home. It was still early afternoon which meant all of my friends were still in school. I sat in my bed for the rest of the day, staring up at the ceiling. Everything was so quiet, even though my windows were wide open. No birds were chirping, no airplanes flying by, and everything just smelled clean and fresh. A fresh smell for a fresh beginning. Greg worked a night shift as a security guard and so he slept most of the time while he was home, which didn’t bother me. Until the sleepless nights of his snoring came. Now my grandma snored pretty bad so I had gotten used to the sound, but this? This was a whole new level. This sounded like a bulldozer. I could hear him outside, at the other side of the house. How was I gonna deal with that too?

I had another visit to the elementary school the following week. This time, to meet my teacher and more staff members. I met my homeroom teacher Mr. Clark. He also taught science and math and there were posters everywhere of equations and the solar system and one picture of Judge Judy. I didn’t talk much. The situation was awkward because I was very uncomfortable. I excused myself and headed to the bathroom at the end of the hall. I heard the faucet on at one of the sinks and a girl with gorgeous blond hair was turned around, washing her hands. The door slammed shut behind me and she spun around startled.

“Oh um, hi,” I said with a shy smile. I kept my eyes down, hoping not to make any eye contact.

“Hi! I’m Caroline!” She stuck out her hand towards me, making me back away slightly. After a few moments I put my hand in hers and shook it.

“Are you new here?” She asked. She grabbed a paper towel and started wiping her hands slowly while waiting for my answer.

“Yea, I um, just moved here a couple months ago.” I fidgeted my hands and leaned back against the wall.

“Cool. I’ve lived here for a long time. You’ll like it here. Do you have Mr. Clark?” I could tell she was expecting me to be as excited and cheerful as she was. But I wasn’t. I just nodded my head and smiled a little.

“We’re in the same homeroom! Oh just wait till you meet everyone. Everyone’s really nice. I should go, it was really nice meeting you…?” She started to slow down her words.

“Ashley,” I said.

“Ashley. Well it was nice meeting you Ashley. I’ll see you in school,” she waved and walked past me and out the door. I sighed loudly and looked up at the disgusting ceiling. If meeting people was going to be this hard every time, I wasn’t sure if i could ever do it again.

The first day of school rolled right around corner. I was standing at the end of my never ending driveway holding my backpack over my shoulder. I was wearing a sleeveless dress, with blue fringe across the collar and along the bottom. There were rose looking designs all over it and was covered with a navy blue mesh. I wore white sandals and at the time my hair was very short, above my ears. I straightened it for the first time but it was left static and frizzy. My mom took pictures insisting it would create great memories but I couldn’t help but think how dorky I looked. Around the corner of the street I could see the big yellow school bus coming towards my driveway. I instantly started to panic. My mom put two thumbs up and smiled big. The bus came to a stop right in front of me and the door swung open.

“You’ll be fine baby! Now go have fun!” My mom called out to me. My back was to her because I couldn’t let her see the redness in my face or the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. Stepping on to that bus didn’t scare me. It was what was on the bus. The kids. I didn’t know any of them, I didn’t grow up with them. What if they didn’t like me? What if they thought I was weird?

The first day of school is like this glorious maze. Full of wrong turns and obstacles to achieve the one final goal of going home. My day was like that. And the following weeks seemed like that too. But what my mom said was true. Everything would be okay. School, Greg, my new home, staying in touch with my old friends, learning how to fit in, all of it. It wasn’t the end of the world and I’m happy I realized that.

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