Compared to the humid, muggy heat of Florida, Canada might as well have been The North Pole, that’s how cold it was to Marco. The young Cuban had layered sweater after sweater over himself so that he resembled a marshmallow rather than a person.
The decision to move to Canada had not been his choice. In fact, he had no say in the matter whatsoever. After the recent divorce of his parents, his parents had given him and his siblings an ultimatum. Either they could stay with their father in Florida and leave their mother who had nothing, having received the shorter end of the divorce agreement; no house, or money, no property. Or they could travel with their mother, assist her, and cut off relations with their father. Being the Mama’s Boy that he was, Marco naturally chose the later option. His siblings had went with their father, so currently it was just he and his mom. She had come to Canada on a work-visa, and he, a study abroad kind of program. It worked out rather well, even though they had to now stay at an Apartment. It was a downgrade from their former standard of living. Not that it was much of a downgrade. The only difference now was that they had no backyard.
Even though it hadn’t been very much of a downgrade, Marco couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit of hunger. Not for food, but for more. This way was no good for him. He wanted for better than this little Apartment. He felt entitled to it. More is what his heart cried on the first day of school, watching people come in with cars. They weren’t necessarily good cars, the town they had moved to was pretty small, as a result, many of the vehicles were pretty old. That made the shiny ones stand out rather ostentatiously. There was only one car that stood out in this fashion. One sleek, 2016 XC90 Volvo, and the other boy who got out of it also stood out. Not for having the car, though there was certainly that.
The boy who stepped out of the car was dressed immaculately. He could have stepped out of a clothing model shoot and Marco would have believed it. He wore clothes appropriate for the winter, but unlike Marco, they did not hinder his movements. His sweater fit him well and did not make him look like a stuffed pillow, the scarf he wore did not look suffocating in the least. It was a warm color that contrasted with his skin- but in a good way. The only problem was his face. He had the face even a mother would punch, and Marco wasn’t sure he would like him.
The well dressed boy didn’t seem to notice Marco, probably because the distance they had between each other (he was on the other side of the parking lot and Marco had yet to get off the bus), and he strode into the school like he owned the place.
He actually did own the school building, but Marco did not know this fact.
Marco stayed where he was but was forced to move when the bus driver snapped her fingers to get his attention.
“-Talking to you! Are you deaf? Do you speak English?”
Marco blinked and looked to her. Yes. He did in fact speak English, thank you very much.
“You gonna sit there all day or get off?”
“Yes!” He exclaimed frantically, scrambling to get himself together,” Sorry, miss. I hope you have a lovely day.”
The wind shrieked and howled outside the bus.
Marco gave her a smarmy smile, gathered his things, and exited the bus, not hearing the woman’s muttered slur on his way out. He waddled over to the entrance of the school, his oversized coat weighing him back, and opened the door, a gust of hot air messing up his hair.
Self consciously, Marco fixed it up and stepped inside, fighting the urge to groan in pleasure. He headed to the office to get his schedule. The office was warmer, and Marco felt himself begin to heat up, sweat beading at his forehead and he looked at the office lady, clearing his throat to get her attention.
“Hello, I’m here to pick my schedule up.” Marco told her, sweatily.
The office lady looked up at him, giving him a long scan, taking in his appearance. She gave him a disgusted look and printed out his schedule for him. She snatched out a handful of tissues and tossed them his way.
“Here son…. Please leave.” She told him, wanting him gone.
Marco thought this was part of the niceness Canada was often stereotyped to have. Even still, he didn’t want free handouts, even if tissues were thoughtful in this cold, unbearable weather. She wouldn’t understand, Marco simply did not want charity. So he didn’t take them, despite the fact that she was essentially telling him to mop up his sweat, because it hadn’t even rained yet and he looked drenched.
“No thank you. Have a nice day.” He told her politely, exiting the office. The woman pulled out a walkie talkie and sighed, speaking to the janitors about watching out for a young man who looked like he was a living, breathing, water fountain.
Marco made it to his first class of the day, Government, and walked inside just as the bell rang, signaling the start of class. He was the only one without a seat. The teacher took a moment to take roll, and that’s when Marco saw him again. His mouth was set into a crooked line, like he was pained but didn’t know to smile or frown. He was glaring at him like Marco had personally offended him.
This offended Marco though. The boy could have at least waited like everyone else for Marco to say something first.
“Marco tell us about yourself.” The teacher encouraged, making Marco straighten up, smoothing out his sweater to make himself more presentable. The teen was a mess of nerves in a jacket.
“I’m Marco and…” Marco tensed up, unable to speak under the other boy’s staring. He opened his mouth and closed it, before doing this again and clearing his throat again," I…”
The class waited. It was silent, and a full five minutes passed before the teacher finally put an end to it.
“That’s okay Marco. First days are hard on everyone. Why don’t you go have a seat. Mr. Cruz, raise your hand.”
To Marco’s surprise the handsome boy twitched. But he didn’t raise his hand right away. No, that would look too desperate and eager. The teacher may have asked him to raise his hand, but Cruz couldn’t just obey immediately. There were rules to this. So it took another five minutes and with exaggerated slowness, Mr. Cruz raised his hand. It was slow. It was very dramatic. Marco blushed for some reason. Slowly, the Cuban boy waddled over to the seat next to him. A loud sound of air deflating could be heard when Marco plopped down. This again, had to do with the boy’s large jacket. The air was slowly being emptied now.
Cruz was sitting as far away from him as possible, which Marco appreciated because he liked personal space, but also took offense to. What did he do to make Cruz upset with him? It usually took time for someone to start to dislike Marco, but that wasn’t the case with Cruz. It was as if the boy disliked him on the spot.
“Excuse me,” Marco began, flashing him a nervous but eager smile,” I’m Marco Rubio. I only have your first name and-”
Cruz’s eyes flickered to him. His eyes were coal black, and it sent terrible thrills tingling down Marco’s back. Thrills more chilling than the one’s Rocky Horror promised to deliver (and Marco was indeed afraid of transvestites, that musical had been too much for him, so much, that his mother told him he couldn’t watch it anymore because he hadn’t been able to sleep in his own bed until just last week).
He wondered how someone could hate him that much… Marco was used to being unliked true… but this. Tears threatened to bud at his eyes, not out of sadness, but embarrassment. His mind flashed over every person he had greeted that morning. Did they all…?
The rest of the class was passed in silence, and Marco wanted the ground to swallow him. At least hell was warm. When the bell rang, Cruz was out of his seat before anyone else. It was impressive because it took a few tries for Marco to even get out of his seat, clothing hindering his movement.
“You’re the new kid, Marco Rubio?” spoke an unfamiliar voice, as Marco struggled to stand up. Marco stood up, looking up at the taller kid. He had a forgettable face, one that really didn’t stand out. He was one of those unremarkable people and tragically average.
“Yes,” Marco cleared his throat, trying to look like he hadn’t almost bursted into tears when stared down at by some rich kid,”I am he. Marco. That’s me.”
“I’m John Kasich,” The other boy said, straight and to the point, “Need help finding your next class?”
Marco was tempted to tell him no, that he did not need anyone’s charity or help. He wouldn’t give it out himself so why should he accept it? But this was also a chance to make friends. His mother had told him to make some before he had left for school… And he was never one to disrespect his mother. But...
“No,” Marco said anyway, morals winning out over his mother’s words," I don’t accept free help.”
John looked impressed anyway. The way the other boy held himself… Marco was like something off of a Bishōnen anime all of a sudden. As soon as he had spoken those words, there was a drastic change, as if the entire world had began changing in rotation. It was a turning point if you will. There was a lack of sparkles and camera turns but it was clear. Marco was being established as the protagonist in this story. Everyone in the school took notice, the classroom may have been empty save for the teacher, but the change in atmosphere was prevalent to all, even those who were absent from school altogether that day.
“Alright, then can I walk with you?” He asked Marco instead. Marco let him. But it wasn’t as if he liked John, and it was likely that he wouldn’t even remember the man’s name. He gathered his things, and began walking to class, Cruz pushed out of his mind for the time being. Everything faded to black.