Alex wasn’t always a ‘trouble-finder’. Up until that year his life was quite safe and normal. But when his brother graduated from the eighth grade and his best friend, Finley, moved away, Alex suddenly found himself starting a new year in grade six, vulnerable and totally alone.
The school was no longer a safe place.
Timpleville was now different.
Everything was different.
“I’m sorry for making you late, it was all my fault. It will never happen again,” mumbled Alex as he sat at the front of the school bus that morning.
“Um, okay,” replied a little girl stepping past him.
“Louder!” shouted the bus driver.
“I’m sorry for making you late, it was all my fault. It will never happen again,” Alex repeated.
Somehow, in a matter of twenty-four hours, Alex’s life had turned completely upside down.
First of all, Alex had a hard time wrapping his head around going back to school. The summer was just too hard to forget. There were just too many pleasant, relaxing, lazy, fun, happy memories that were difficult to give up. Starting school in September was like jumping into ice water, head first...with a fifty-two inch TV tied to your feet.
Second, Alex barely slept a wink the night before. He sat with Finley at school every day last year at lunch. They traded sandwiches and chocolate puddings. They finished each other's sentences.
And now, he was gone.
“I’m sorry for making you late, it was all my fault. It won’t happen again.”
“Whatever,” replied Ryan Samson kicking Alex’s shin.
Third, Alex spent way too much energy trying to convince his parents to home-school him this year. He argued with them practically the entire night...at least until about 10:30. All he got from his convincing argument and desperate cries was a lunch bag filled with leftover pepperoni pizza. It was like expecting to get an iPad for Christmas and receiving a twelve-pack of fruity colored underwear.
“I’m sorry for making you late. It was all my fault. It will never happen again.”
Finally, because of all the stress Alex endured over the last twenty-four hours, he was extremely late for the bus that morning. What was worse was the mean bus driver, Mr. ‘Crusty’ Grayson decided to make Alex apologize to every student who got picked up.
The day had barely started and already Alex Thomas wanted to cry.
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