“Mom! Have you seen my new notebook?”
Fifteen-year-old Cheyenne Brooks was tearing her usually clean bedroom apart looking for her agenda notebook her mom had bought her earlier that day. She was starting her first day of ninth grade at her new high school the following morning and she was frantically trying to put her backpack together. She didn’t want to forget anything on the first day of high school.
Cheyenne and her mother Sarah had moved to a city called Milpitas in Santa Clara County, California. It was located with San Jose to its south and Fremont to its north, at the eastern end of State Route 237. Cheyenne didn’t mind it, but it didn’t feel like home yet. They moved from a small village on the northern California coast because her mother had found a new, better-paying job. Cheyenne wasn’t happy about moving at first, but her mom told her that they wouldn’t have to live pay check to pay check anymore because they would be making more than enough. That also meant Cheyenne could have her own bedroom and new clothes, rather than a second-hand wardrobe. After being reassured more than several times she would make new friends, and being exposed to different cultures would be an enjoyable experience, Cheyenne had reluctantly agreed to move.
It had always been just the two of them together since Cheyenne was nine years old. Cheyenne didn’t mind being an only child though that may have been because she had a better relationship with her mother than most girls her age. Sarah still had the role of the mother and made sure Cheyenne did what she was supposed to. On the other hand, Sarah told her daughter everything. Cheyenne knew who had asked Sarah on a date and how they were turned down. Cheyenne had grown up with a mother and a big sister all in one person, though Cheyenne liked her more as a friend than as a mother. She felt like Sarah was trying too hard sometimes because she was supposed to say things other mothers said.
There was one major personality trait that she inherited from Sarah. Cheyenne was a natural chameleon. She blended in nearly anywhere she went and made friends within minutes. She liked that about herself. She figured if she was just herself here, she would make friends, but she got a little more than she bargained for. As she walked around the mall with her mom looking for new clothes, Cheyenne spotted different types of people she’d never seen before. There were men in turbans, women in very pretty garments her mom said were called Saris, a nationality Cheyenne recognized as Asian, but there were others she couldn’t even guess.
“Mom!” Cheyenne called again. She was looking through the drawers on her desk wondering if she somehow placed her agenda in one of them on accident while she was unpacking. It was vital to Cheyenne that she find it because it was what she used to copy down her homework.
“It’s on the dining room table, Chey,” said Sarah coming in, and looking around her daughter’s now disastrous bedroom. “Was this really necessary?”
“Of course!” said Cheyenne brightly, hurrying past her mother.
She bolted down the stairs, to the dining room, grabbed her pink and turquoise striped notebook. She ran back upstairs with loud thuds as her old sneakers hit the hardwood floors. Once back in her bedroom, she put her notebook in her brand new blue denim and white lace bag and zipped it up quickly.
“That’s everything,” she said with a deep breath. She was panting slightly, but not to the point where it was difficult to breathe.
“Well, now that you’ve packed for school,” said Sarah, with a tone of amused irritation in her somewhat raspy voice, “could you please clean up your room?”
“You always ask me to clean my room, unnecessarily,” said Cheyenne with an overly dramatic sigh, falling backward onto the pile of clothes that covered her day bed. “My room is always clean.”
“Well, now it’s not. It looks like your bedroom was hit by an F3 tornado.”
“That’s because it was,” said Cheyenne with a grin. She sat bolt upright on the bed and looked at her mother. “Today’s disaster is brought to you by Hurricane Cheyenne! Okay, let me eat lunch and then I’ll clean my room.”
“Fine, just be sure you clean it,” said Sarah, sternly though her eyes were glistening with amusement. “I’m going to get your new clothes out of the washing machine and put them into the dryer. I’d like to be able to put your clean laundry on a clean bed.”
“I don’t know why you fret so much, Mom,” said Cheyenne with exasperation even though there was a small smile playing at the corners of her mouth. “I get good grades, I keep my room clean...” she looked at the hidden floor, “...usually,” she looked back up at her mom, “... and I don’t go off chasing boys.”
“I know you’re a good girl. But I’m your mother. Fretting over you is in my job description.”
Cheyenne laughed softly as she carefully stepped over piles of clutter to get to the doorway. She hummed quietly to herself, walked downstairs to the kitchen and opened the refrigerator. She pulled out everything she needed, and some raspberry tea. She grabbed wheat bread out of the pantry and made herself a sandwich. She ate and drank quickly on a bar stool behind the sink. After she finished, she rinsed her plate and cup, set them gently into the ceramic sink and went back upstairs to her room.
“Well, what a right number you’ve done to yourself,” Cheyenne muttered to herself.
She looked around her room at the mess she made looking for her notebook. Clothes were piled onto her bed in a large mound and scattered across the cream-colored carpet. Her desk was a disorderly, cluttered mess, and all of her dresser drawers were open. Normally, she was organized and her room was fairly clean, but between getting everything prepared for school, decorating her room, learning her way around town, and completely unpacking, all in a space of six days, Cheyenne was a little stressed and things were getting misplaced.
She walked over to her room and turned on her iPod, hit shuffle, blasted Josh Turner’s ‘Why Don’t We Just Dance’ and set to work cleaning up her room. She put her books back on her white washed bookshelf, and her school supplies back onto her matching desk. Several songs had passed as she was just putting the last pair of jeans back in her drawer.
“Cheyenne,” said Sarah from the doorway, “Your clothes are dry.”
“Yay, more clothes to put away,” said Cheyenne sarcastically. She turned down the volume on her green iPod, which was now playing Craig Morgan’s ‘International Harvester’, and crossed the room and took the laundry basket from Sarah. “Thanks for doing my laundry, mom.”
“You’re welcome. You’ve done enough the last week, I thought I’d give you a hand.”
“I appreciate it. I’m glad I don’t have to wear a uniform,” said Cheyenne, setting the basket on her bed and proceeding with folding up a pair of jeans. “I heard that the elementary and middle schools have uniforms.”
“Uniforms are supposed to get rid of worrying about what others are wearing,” said Sarah taking a seat in Cheyenne’s desk chair. “And try to eliminate bullying from what someone else is wearing.”
“Well, I still think that uniforms are pointless, seeing as kids will bully for other reasons too,” said Cheyenne, who very grateful she would be allowed to wear her Ariat boots every day or her Mossy Oak camo if she chose to. She folded up her black tank top and put it on top of two others that looked exactly the same except they were white. “My own clothes are a lot more comfortable.”
“School isn’t a fashion show,” Sarah pointed out with a slight smirk. “You’re there to learn.”
“I know that,” said Cheyenne. She finished laying out her clothes for the next day and put the rest of her clothes in their respective places. “Hey, Mom? Before I take a shower, do you think you could trim my hair? It’s getting frayed at the tips.”
“Sure,” said Sarah. “Let me find my scissors. They’re somewhere in a box in my bathroom.”
Sarah got up and left the room just as Cheyenne put her backpack on a hook next to her bedroom door and brushed her long, light brown hair while she waited. It took a while for her mom to call, but Cheyenne knew her mom hadn’t unpacked much of her own belongings as she had been busy with the kitchen and living room. Ten minutes later she heard her name and went to her mother’s bathroom, where Sarah made short work of cutting off an inch of hair straight across.
“Thanks, Mom,” said Cheyenne. She cleaned up all the hair off the tile floor and threw it away. “I’m going to put my calendar together.”
“You haven’t done that yet?” Sarah asked her daughter, astonished.
“No, I haven’t had a chance yet,” said Cheyenne. “It doesn’t take long, but I just got my schedule in the mail today, so it kinda had to wait. I also found the school website this morning, so I can find events and things I might want to go to.”
Cheyenne rushed off to her laptop and added her class schedule to her documents, along with several activities that sounded like they could be worth attending. As soon as she had finished, she turned off her laptop, grabbed her backpack, and sat cross-legged in the middle of the room. She pulled out everything she had, sorted it, and double checked that she had at least the basics. Once satisfied, she packed everything neatly in her denim backpack and put it back on the hook.
She looked around her room from her spot by the door and smiled. She had just finished unpacking last night and there were no more boxes in her room. She had a bay window facing the road with a built-in bench underneath which was perfect for reading. Cheyenne had hung up yellow curtains against the wall framing the window and making it look larger. Her walls were a lovely turquoise when she moved in so painting was unnecessary as turquoise was her favorite color. Her bedding was a light pink and yellow floral pattern, and there were posters of Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw and George Strait on her wall above her bed. It was very clear that this was a teenage girls room.
She looked over at her custom made desk. She loved her bedroom set. It was all handmade from solid oak from her old next door neighbor. He was a man, just a little older than Sarah, who had lost his wife and newborn daughter to complications during labor. Therefore he took in the little fatherless Cheyenne as a result of his lack of family. Cheyenne knew that Ryan, her neighbor, had fallen in love with her mom, but Sarah seemed afraid to try dating again.
As a going away gift, he and Cheyenne built the bed frame, the dresser, nightstand, desk, and bookshelf. Cheyenne smiled as she remembered the hours they put it as she put her pens and pencils in an old soup can she decorated with string. Her mismatched picture frames were filled with photos of her and her parents before they got divorced, all of her old school friends, her and her best friend in the world Marrisa, and the Australian Shepherd Cheyenne had as a little girl. She missed her friends, but they had all agreed to send letters back and forth, though Cheyenne knew the only one who would keep writing was Marrisa.
Since she was finished doing what she needed to do, she curled up on her window bench with ‘The Call of the Wild’ and read quietly until the sunlight faded to dusk, and she could no longer see the words on the pages clearly. She got up and put her book back on the shelf having just enough natural light to see what she was doing. She had just crossed the room and turned on the light when she heard her mom call her.
“Cheyenne!” Sarah called up the stairs. “Dinner’s ready!”
“Coming, Mom!” Cheyenne called back. She turned off the light and went downstairs. She grinned as a mouth-watering smell reached her nose from the top of the stairs. She hurried down with her hopes high as the smell of cheese, sausage and pepperoni filled her nose. Her happiness was greatly improved as she saw the box on the kitchen counter. “Yay! Pizza!”
Sarah grinned and said, “I didn’t feel like cooking. I start my first day of work tomorrow, and you start school, so I figured it should just be a fun night.”
“It’s still early. Could we watch a movie while we eat?” asked Cheyenne.
“I’m in the mood for Disney. How about Winnie the Pooh?” suggested Cheyenne.
“Okay,” said Sarah with an amused smile. “You find the movie, and I’ll slice up the pizza.”
Cheyenne went into the living room where there were still several untouched boxes in the corner of the living room beside the TV. She moved a couple out of the way, dug through the box that said DVD and cut into the tape using an Exacto knife. She opened the box and pulled out two layers of movies before finding the one she wanted. Cheyenne put the others back in the box and put the disc into the DVD player.
She got it started as her mom came in carrying two paper plates of pepperoni pizza with spicy Italian sausage and black olives. They both curled up under a red plaid blanket on the couch and spent the next hour and a half eating, and laughing. Sarah had raised Cheyenne to stay in touch with her childhood and for them, Winnie the Pooh was the best thing for that. As soon as the movie was over, Cheyenne took both paper plates and threw them away, and her mom put the small amount of leftover pizza in the refrigerator.
“Good night, Mom,” yawned Cheyenne. “I love you.”
“Good night,” said Sarah, giving her daughter a kiss on the forehead. “I love you too.”
Cheyenne walked upstairs to her bedroom and changed into her plain black t-shirt and pink camo shorts. She walked across the hall to the bathroom, washed her face and brushed her teeth, before crawling into bed with her favorite book, ‘A Murder For Her Majesty’. She read half of the book before she was tired enough to sleep. Cheyenne fell asleep thinking about what life was going to be like at her new school. She always loved meeting new people, but she had to admit to herself she was worried about not fitting in with the city kids because of her choice in footwear.