Open Plains

Chapter 7

I woke up Monday morning at 5:30. I had to get up earlier since I was in a wheelchair it takes me longer. I moved from my bed to my chair then into the bathroom. I did my morning rituals and took a bath then dried off and got dressed. I was ready by 6:15.

I wheeled myself into the kitchen and Mom had breakfast on the table.

"Morning sweetie, are you ready for your first day of school?" she asked me. I looked at her and smiled a nervous smile.

"Kinda I'm sorta nervous about what people are going to say to me with me being in a wheelchair and all." I said eating my cereal.

"Don't worry dear it will be ok. But if you have any problems just call me and I will come and get you ok. Isn't Darren going to your school as well?" she asked fixing cereal for Joy as she sat down at the table.

"Yes ma'am but he won't be with me all the time."

"Well at least he will be with you some of the time." She said smiling at me. About that time Dad came into the room.

"Morning everyone, are you excited?" Dad asked us. Joy said yes and I told him the same thing that I told Mom.

"Don't worry it will be ok. We talked with the school and there will be a special bus that handles kids in wheelchairs that will be here at 7 to get you." Dad said. "You'll see you're not the only one.

"Ok thanks." I finished eating and went to my room to brush my teeth and grab my book bag. My Dad walked me down the ramp and to the end of the sidewalk.

"Do you want me to wait with you or do you think you'll be fine by your self?" he asked. I looked at him and smiled.

"I think I'll be fine thanks for asking." Dad smiled back and gave me a hug. He turned and went back into the house. A few minutes later I felt like someone was watching me and turned and saw him looking out the living room window. I smiled and waved and he waved back. About that time my bus pulled up.

The bus driver got out and came up to me.

"Good morning you must be Billy." She said smiling down at me.

"Yes ma'am I am." I said returning the smile.

"Ok good, my name is Mrs. Lewis and I'll be your bus driver for the remainder of this year and probably for your entire time in high school, she paused to let me see a ramp descending from the side of the bus. "When the platform gets all the way down I will roll you on it and lock your wheels. Then I will get back on the bus and bring you up.

"Once your up I will pull you into the bus and park you on it. Since you're my first pick up of the day I'll let you decide where you want to sit." She said smiling at me and putting me on the ramp.

"Um I guess behind you if that's ok."

"Sure that's fine." She replied smiling at me. Once I was on the bus and the doors were closed again we took off.

We made about four more stops then headed to the middle and high school. I was the last one to get off, the only one in the high school.

Mrs. Lewis got me out of the bus and gave me a thumb's up.

"I'll be here at 2:15 on the dot." She said.

"Ok and thanks" I replied

"No problem dear knock'em dead." With that she got back on the bus closed the doors and left. I sat there for a few minutes and looked at the school and slowly began to wheel myself up to the front doors.

A few of the kids looked at me and stared and a few looked and turned away. I heard people whispering and was hoping it wasn't about me, but I wasn't sure. I was at the door and trying to open it with no real luck. The doors at the school opened out instead of in so I kept hitting my chair. I was getting tired of it and was about to look and see if there was a teacher I could ask for help when someone behind me talked to me.

"Hey need some help?" he asked. I knew that voice. I turned around and smiled.

"Hey Billy, sorry I'm late the bus didn't show up on time." Darren said.

"That's ok Darren at least your here now." I said smiling at him. Darren smiled back at me. Darren grabbed the handles on the wheelchair and pulled me back a little and opened the door. While he held the door I went inside.

"So what do you think so far?" Darren asked me.

"I don't know. I'm a little scared and in a way wish I wasn't here. I know your here and all but still it is a little over whelming being here in a wheelchair." I said looking down. Darren bent down and made me look at him.

"I understand don't worry. I'll take you over to the office and let you get your schedule." Darren said. I smiled up at him and he smiled.

Darren lead me to the office where a nice blonde was sitting there typing. She looked up when we came in.

"Good morning boys what can I do for you?" she asked us. I was about to speak but Darren got there first.

"Good morning Mrs. Whiner this is Billy Matthews he is just coming back to school. He needs to get his schedule." Darren said. She smiled down at me.

"Ah yes Billy Matthews I have been expecting you. I have your schedule right here." She said smiling and handing it over to me. We thanked her and left the office.

"Well what is your home room?" Darren asked me. I looked at the schedule and found where my homeroom was.

"It says 207." I said looking at him. Darren started smiling.

"Cool that's my homeroom. What classes do you have?"

"Hmm lets see. I have Science first period, then history, math, lunch, English, art, and then gym. What classes do you have?" I asked him in return.

"My first class is science, then English, history, lunch, math, government, and then gym." He said. He grabbed my sheet and looked at it, then smiled even bigger. By this time we were at the elevator, where a teacher was standing with a key.

"Good morning, you must be Billy I heard that you will be using the elevator. You can go on in and head up. Your friend will have to go up the stairs." She said looking kinda stern and mean.

"Um ma'am I'm new I was hoping he could go with me and show me where everything is." I said. She just looked at me and shook her head.

"No and that is final." With that she opened the elevator and I wheeled in. I had problems turning around and starting to get upset because it wasn't easy because it was a small elevator. I felt hands on the back of my wheelchair and looked up and saw the same teacher. "I'm just going to turn you around." She said still looking stern.

"No thank you I will wait." I said putting the breaks on. She huffed and puffed.

"Fine then," With that she walked out. When I got up stairs and the door was opened I took off my breaks and started going backwards when hands on the chair stopped me. I turned and saw Darren standing there smiling at me. He brought me out of the elevator and turned me around.

"Sorry about that Darren I wanted you to help me." I said he just smiled down at me.

"Don't worry you will like our homeroom teacher maybe he can help." Darren said smiling down at me, to which I smiled up.

Darren took me down the hall and showed me where our homeroom was. There were already several other students in there talking and they stopped when we walked in. Darren took me over to where he sat which was the very end of the first row. While he sat in the desk I sat in my chair next to him. The students started talking again, and Darren and I continued our conversation.

A few minutes later the teacher walked in. He looked over and noticed me and smiled at me.

After the bell rang he started the roll call, he skipped my name till afterwards. After he went over some stuff that the school had him go over he let the class talk among themselves for the last 15 or 20 minutes. Mr. Jakes waved me over and Darren pushed me to his desk.

"So young man what is your name?" he asked smiling at me.

"Billy Matthews." I said.

"Good do you have your papers?" he asked. I gave them to him and he read over them.

"Good good, so you are the one that Darren met while he was in the hospital?"

"Yes sir I was." I replied.

"I didn't call you up because I didn't think you wanted them to ask you a bunch of questions about why you are in the wheelchair. Darren filled me in on some of it but not all. That is your business; I'm glad that you're here and doing well. So any questions?" he asked looking at me.

I looked at Darren and as if he knew what I was thinking he nodded his head.

"Yes sir one thing. When I went to the elevator the teacher who runs it was very rude and mean. When I asked her if Darren could ride in the elevator with me because I was new and wanted him to show me around she said no in a mean way. To me she just seemed hateful. I was just wondering if she is always like that?" I asked

Mr. Jakes just chuckled.

"Unfortunately she is, but I will talk with her sometime today and let her know that you will need Darren here to help you how does that sound?" he asked smiling at us. Darren and I looked at each other and nodded our heads.

"Yes sir that will be good thanks: Darren said.

"No problem." Mr. Jakes said. The bell rang and we all left for our first class.

Since Darren and I share science as our first class we left and headed for the elevator. As we were walking towards the elevator we saw the saw teacher as before standing there waiting for me. She just looked at Darren then the stairs, Darren sighed looked at me and started heading for the stairs, but before he got there Mr. Jakes voice stopped him.

"Hold on Darren." Mr. Jakes walked up to the teacher and said something to her. At first she was shaking her head then she just sighed and said fine. Mr. Jakes turned towards us and motioned for us to come forward. "Boys I think Mrs. Hendrix has something to say to you." He said looking at her.

"I'm sorry for this morning. I didn't realize you were so new to being in a wheelchair. You can go with him when he needs you Darren." With that she activated the controls and the elevator opened.

"Thank you Mrs. Hendrix, you're very kind." I said. Darren helped me onto the elevator backing me in and we smiled at her as the elevator doors shut. We went down and Darren wheeled me out of the elevator.

Darren took me to room 109 on the first floor. We came in and the teacher saw me, and frowned. I didn't understand why. She pointed to a space in the back and Daren started to wheel me there but because of the desks we couldn't make it.

"Sorry ma'am but the desks are in the way." Darren said turning back towards her. She frowned then pointed to the last desk on the front row. Darren took me there.

"Sorry I sit near the back." He said.

"Ok thanks anyways." I said smiling at him. He smiled back and headed to the back of the class. The teacher walked towards me.

"Well Mr. Matthews glad you could join us. I hope you don't think that just because you are in a wheelchair that I am going to give you a break, because I won't." she said in a sarcastic condescending tone.

I just stared at her for a minute.

"No ma'am I don't expect you to do anything as far as favoritism, I just hope that you are a better teacher then my last science teacher. She was boring and didn't interest me in the least." I said staring her down. I was getting tired of mean teachers and I wasn't going to take it any more.

"How dare you talk to me like that?" She said.

"No how dare YOU. I am just a student in a wheelchair and you want to treat me like I'm some sort of disease. That is not only irresponsible but also rude and mean. I will not tolerate this just because I can't walk. You ma'am are mean and rude and hateful. I am going to the office right now." I said. I grabbed my books and took my wheels in hand and started for the door.

"Darren sit down. If he wants to be stupid and go to the office then let him." She said.

"No ma'am if he is going then I'm going." He said. I turned and saw Darren walking towards me with his book. Together we left the room and headed to the office.

When we got to the office we went in and Mrs. Whiner was there typing. She heard us come in and looked up and saw how mad we looked.

"Hey boy's what's wrong?" she asked. I was about to open my mouth when someone else said something first.

"How dare you walk out of my classroom and say that to me. You had NO right to do that. Now get back down to my classroom right this minute." Mrs. Harper said trying to grab my wheelchair.

"DON'T TOUCH ME." I hollered at her she froze when I raised my voice. When I hollered the principle came out.

"What is going on?" he asked seeing me glare at our science teacher.

"Nothing sir, nothing at all," She said.

"Yes sir there is something going on. I want out of her class. I came here to learn not to be ridiculed, talked down to and I didn't come here so teachers can make me feel stupid because I am in a wheelchair." I said.

"I don't understand. What happened exactly?" he asked. Before Mrs. Harper could say anything Darren stepped in.

"Well sir this is Billy Matthews last May there was an accident and he ended up in a coma for 6 months and as a result of the accident he is in a wheelchair. First Mrs. Harper here tried to make him sit in the back then when he couldn't' get back there she sighed and made him sit on the end of the front row. This is fine, after a moment or two she came over and told him in a condescending tone that just because he was in a wheelchair that he better not expect special treatment. Billy replied he didn't expect any and just hoped she was a better teacher than his last science teacher. Mrs. Harper got very upset and threatening then.

"Sir when I was in the hospital after being shot I met him there. We talked and laughed he is a very smart young man, and Mrs. Harper treating him the way that she did and making him feel stupid is not only irresponsible, but wrong. If Billy wanted he now has grounds for a lawsuit." Darren said.

Wow I didn't know that he knew all of that. I turned and looked at the principle.

"Sir I think I should call my mother and see what she and my father think I should do." I said.

The principle looked pale but nodded his head. As I went to the phone the principle called Mrs. Harper into his office. I dialed and waited for Mom to answer.

"Hello?" she said.

"Hey Mom it's me. There's been a problem." I said, I told her everything that happened since I'd arrived at school and asked her what I should do.

"Hmm let me call your father and see, tell the school I will call them right back." She said.

"Yes ma'am." I replied and hung up.

"She is going to be calling right back." I said, swiveled and rolled to where Darren was sitting.

I told him how proud I was of him and whispered that when we had a chance to be alone I was going to show him how proud with a big kiss. He blushed. The phone rang and the secretary answered it. She looked at me and nodded then hung up.

"Your parents will be here shortly, along with Darren's Mom." Mrs. Whiner said. I looked at her and smiled.

"Ok thank you." I replied then turned my head back towards Darren.

"Now we wait." He said. I nodded my head and sat back in my chair to wait for my parents and Darren's Mom.