As the day wore on, Arnold became more worn out. After introductions, Mr. Brandt had written the class schedule on the board. The students were not given individual schedules since they all had the same schedule, and were in classroom 2-08 for the most part anyways.
Arnold checked the schedule. It was the same routine every day: half an hour of homeroom followed by 40 minutes each of Math, History, English, Lunch, Gym, Electives, and “Mr. Brandt’s special class”. It was now Lunch period, and Arnold hurried out of the classroom as quickly as possible.
Arnold sighed as he entered the hallway, and searched for the cafeteria. Maybe I can find Ally in there. As Arnold wandered the halls of the second floor he realized that there were no stairs leading up to the third floor, which left him perplexed: from outside it was clear that the school building was three-floors.
Frowning, Arnold asked a nearby teacher, “Where’s the cafeteria? Is it on the first floor?”
“There’s no cafeteria.”
The teacher laughed. “Well, right now, that is. The cafeteria, which makes up the entire third floor, is closed right now for repairs to the kitchen. If you want food, there’s a temporary stand that sells food next to classroom 1-05. You’ll probably have to eat in your classroom though; there’s no seats over there.”
Classroom 1-05? Isn’t that Ally’s classroom?
“Thanks,” Arnold said, before hurrying to the nearest flight of stairs.
As he reached the last stair step, however, Arnold felt a hand grab onto his shoulder from behind.
“The hell-” Arnold turned around to see a tall and skinny dark-skinned student endowed with a giant puffy afro.
“I found you!” The boy was panting. Gulping, he looked Arnold in the eyes, and repeated, “Oh, thank god I found you, my brother!”
Arnold stared blankly back at the boy. “…Huh?”
“My brother,” the boy, who seemed to have caught his breath, took Arnold’s hands in his own, and then closed his eyes. “O’ lord, let us rejoice. We have found our fellow Black brethren in this hell-school of light-skinned strangers.”
Arnold, slowly realizing what was happening, took his hands away. “Uh, I think you’re misunderstanding something. I’m not Black-”
The boy interrupted Arnold by raising his arms to the ceiling and yelling, “OH LORD, we have a fallen comrade! What is your name, o’ lost one?”
“Arnold, my brother, my name is Tyrone. We gotta stick together, man, and embrace our black heritage!”
Arnold forced a smile and tried to slowly back away. “Look, I’m actually not-“
“EMBRACE!” Tyrone interrupted, embracing Arnold in his arms. “I will never let you wander down the wrong path again.”
Tyrone stepped back, and sat down on the third step. He patted the spot next to him, and Arnold reluctantly sat down. Tyrone took off his book bag and, rummaging inside, fished out two cans of grape sodas from within.
Handing one can to Arnold, Tyrone exclaimed, “Today, we feast!”
Tyrone set his own soda down on the step below him, then pulled out from his backpack a plastic-wrapped bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken.
You can’t be serious.
Tyrone turned to Arnold. There were tears in his eyes.
YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS???
Tyrone laid one hand on Arnold’s shoulder. “Don’t worry, man. You’re not alone anymore. You have me. And you have this glorious chicken, too.”
Arnold, too exhausted to argue further, simply nodded his head meekly, and took a chicken thigh from the bucket. As the pair ate their chicken, Arnold suddenly remembered what he had come to the first floor to do.
Standing up, Arnold said, “Thanks for the food, Tyrone. But I have to go."
Tyrone, finishing off the meat on a fried chicken wing, put out his fist. “Very well. Until next time."
Arnold weakly fist-bumped Tyrone, and was about to head into the first floor hallway when the school bell rang, signaling the end of lunch period.