Authors: Julia DeVillers
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Dedicated to Adam Roy and Jack DeVillersâ“sort of” identical twin cousins
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BEFORE HOMEROOM
Lip gloss! Oh, noâdid I forget my lip gloss?
I opened my tote bag and scrounged around in a panic. I felt my brush and mirror. My lunch. My lunch money in case buying lunch was cooler than packing. Ouch, sharp pencil. AndÂ .Â .Â . yeesh! I felt my lip gloss.
Phew, I'd remembered everything. Everything important for the first day of school, that is.
THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! THE FIRST DAY OF SEVENTH GRADE!!!
I was seriously excited. I'd spent the last six years in a small girls' school. And by small I mean there was only one class in each grade. It was the same people over and
over every year. But not this yearÂ .Â .Â . because I was switching to public school! Heck yeah, I was psyched. Switching classes! Different teachers! After-school activities! My own locker! New people! CUTE GUYS!
“This school is so huge!” I said. It looked like any old big building. Lots of bricks and windows. But it wasn't just any old building. It was middle school.
“Look, Emma!” I pointed to the banner saying
that was draped over the main entrance. “How nice and welcomey!”
“Â âWelcomey' is not a word,” said my sister.
“And I hardly call this factory-like architecture welcoming.”
I ignored my sister. No one was going to bring me down today! Even the earliness of the school dayâwhich meant I'd had to get up at six in the morningâwasn't as tragic as I'd expected. I'd been too excited to sleep, anyway.
THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL! THE FIRST DAY OF SEVENTH GRADE!
I let out a squeal of pure excitement.
At the exact same moment I heard a big sigh.
It came from my twin sister, Emma, who was walking next to me. We had gotten off the bus and were now walking up the sidewalk to our NEW SCHOOL!
“Are you thinking what I'm thinking?” Emma asked me.
“You're thinking how cool it will be to have nine different classes each day?” I asked her. “Different teachers to break up the boredom? Cheerleading tryouts, student council, and our very own lockers to decorate? Hundreds of new people to meet? Millions of cute guys?”
“Well, no,” Emma said. “Actually, not even close.”
Whoever said identical twins can read each other's minds wasn't talking about us. I followed Emma as she maneuvered around tons of people. The sidewalk was getting more and more crowded as we got closer to the school. I watched a girl run over to a group of people. They were so happy to see her that they swallowed her up in a group hug.
Maybe soon that would be me: a girl with friends at school who were happy to see her.
“Hello? Earth to Payton?” Emma said to me. “Don't you want to know what I was thinking?”
“Oh, sure,” I said, turning back toward my sister. “What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking about how many millions of times we're going to get the question,” Emma said. “You just
we're going to be getting the question.”
I had to agree with her there. She was right. I knew exactly what she meant by the question:
“Which one are you?”
Whenever we'd meet new people, they couldn't tell us apart. So they'd double-check: “Which one are you?” And I'd have to answer, “I'm Payton, not Emma.”
Everyone in elementary school was used to us. But even then they mixed us up sometimes. And yeah, it got annoying. Seriously, I thought it was pretty obvious which one I was. I mean, I'm an inch taller than Emma. My eyes are a teeny bit greener. I definitely have shinier hair.
But okay, we'd always looked pretty much exactly the same.
If only we didn't look
much alike. If we looked even a little different, it would make life a lot easier. I'd tried to talk her into cutting her hair short, but she refused. She'd told me that if I wanted to look different so badly, I could cut
Psshh. I wasn't going to cut
hair, that was for sure. It was my best feature. Long, brownish-blondâand like I said, shiny.
“There's Margaret from the state spelling bee!” Emma said. Then she yelled, “Margaret! Spell âcorpuscle'!”
Loudly enough for the people nearby to give us a weird look. Could you believe this? This was so not the attention I was looking for.
“Margaret!” she said, a little louder. “Corpuscle!”
I elbowed Emma to stop with the screeching. She couldn't read my mind, but I was sure she could read my elbow jab.
“Why did you jab me?” Emma asked.
“Stop yelling,” I whispered. “People are looking at you.”
“They are not,” Emma said loudly. “Don't be paranoid.”
I leaned over to see if anyone else was looking at her. I guess not. Everyone was too busy reuniting with their friends. I watched two tan girls hug each other. They were dressed like twins, in matching brown shirts, jeans, and cute flats. I looked around and saw more girls in jeans.
I looked down at my skirt. Uh-oh. Maybe I made a mistake not wearing jeans. I elbowed Emma again.
?” she said. “I'm not making any noise!”
“I know,” I whispered. “Um, it's justÂ .Â .Â . do you think my outfit's okay?”
“For the thousandth time, yes,” Emma said. “Your outfit is fine.”
“Everyone's wearing jeans,” I said. “But Ashlynn said skirts were totally in for the first day of school!”
“Oh, no,” Emma groaned. “I thought after camp was over I'd never have to hear the name Ashlynn again.”
Emma and I had gone to sleepaway camp for the first time this summer. Ashlynn, the girl who slept in the bunk under me, was from New York City. Even though the brochure had said to bring our grossest clothes to camp, Ashlynn had ignored that. We only have one mall in our town, so everyone here dresses pretty much the same. But at camp people came from different cities, and everyone was always gushing over Ashlynn's cool outfits. So I did Ashlynn's bunk chores as a trade for her clothes. While Ashlynn worked on her tan, I suffered through cleaning the bathroom, sweeping the bunk, and doing her kitchen-duty.
Emma called them my Summer Slave clothes.
“You know how they say some girls are slaves to fashion? Well, you were really a slave!” she said. She called them my Summer Slave clothes so many times, I couldn't help thinking of them that way too.
I'd made Ashlynn's bed for a week for the skirt I was wearing today. I looked down at the outfit I'd carefully picked out. I was wearing:
Denim miniskirt with the logo on the pocket
(Summer Slave clothes)
A pale pink tank with lace and sequins on it
(Summer Slave clothes)
A medium-sleeved gray V-neck hoodie
(Summer Slave too)
A pink and blue beaded necklace