Connor idly tapped his fingers against the table he was sitting at as he quietly ate a bowl of macaroni and cheese. The Princeton High cafeteria was as packed and rowdy as ever. Connor saw a few chips fly through the air, and he flinched briefly when a hot dog whizzed right past his face. He turned to see where it had come from, only to see a group of guys laughing at where the hot dog landed. Turns out, the hot dog had hit a poor kid with glasses in the face.
“Yeesh.” Connor sighed before the intercom suddenly came on.
“Connor Sacher to the main office please.” It boomed.
Connor simply got up with his bookbag, put his hood up, and left the remainder of his lunch on the table as he made his way out of the cafeteria. Typically whenever someone at Princeton High was called to the office there was plenty of jeering for whoever was making their way down, but for Connor, no one paid attention to him as he left the cafeteria to erupt into a chaotic food fight.
Connor reached the main office a few minutes later, where the secretary Mrs. Brown was simply filing away some documents at her desk. He quickly made his way to her desk.
“May I help you?” Mrs. Brown asked without looking up.
“Hi, I was just called down.” Connor briefly said.
“Oh Mr. Sacher. Yes, the counsellor would like to see you.” She replied as she finished putting the documents away.
Connor quickly thanked her before walking towards the office of the school counsellor, Mr. Benell.
He lightly knocked on the door and waited for a response.
“Come in!” Mr. Benell’s voice came from inside.
Connor entered the office while taking his hood off and saw Mr. Benell sitting at his desk with a mug of coffee, but also saw another familiar face sitting across from him.
“Mom?” Connor said in surprise.
“Hello Connor. How has your day been?” His mother, Rachel asked.
“Uneventful. As per usual.” Connor shrugged, but the look on his mother’s face was full of suspicion.
“Well good, because that’s what I wanted to talk about with Mr. Benell...again.” She sighed.
Connor resisted the urge to roll his eyes as he sat down. This talk with counsellor happened about once every week, where his mother would keep asking Mr. Benell about his social life and other nosy questions. Usually Connor just went along with it and said only what he needed to in order to get his mother off his back. It wasn’t because Connor didn’t like his mother’s concerns, but at these times they made him feel smothered and overprotected. This time however, something was different. Mr. Benell had a warm smile on his face.
“Mrs. Sacher, I understand that you’re concerned about your son, but there has actually been some progress.” Mr. Benell calmly said.
Connor saw his mother visibly brighten at that.
“Your son has finally decided to join a club.” Mr. Benell happily exclaimed as he held up an application form.
Connor was a little confused now, since he never remembered signing anything. When he looked closer at the sheet of paper, he noticed the club name written on the top.
The Matchmaker Club.
He let out a brief chuckle as he looked over “his” handwriting on the paper.
“The Matchmaker Club? What’s that?” Connor’s mother curiously asked.
“Well, the club is a little strange, but it actually happens to be one of our most popular clubs here. It’s a club that apparently helps other students with their relationships.” Mr. Benell explained.
Connor’s mother looked at him confused.
“Just curious, why would you choose to join such a club?” She inquired.
“Oh well, I have a few good friends in that club. Plus, the teacher supervisor Mrs. Radford is nice and knows me well.” Connor casually replied.
He hadn’t really approached any other teachers during his first year outside of the art teacher, Mrs. Radford, who took an interest in Connor’s drawing skills. She was quite gentle, and didn’t bother Connor about much. Connor silently wished that his mother would take a page from her book now that he was joining this club.
“Well, I suppose that’s alright then. That’ll be all for today Mr. Benell, but I would perhaps like to hear more about this club next time we chat.” Connor’s mother politely stated as she got up. Before she left however, she looked at Connor with a soft smile.
“Unless I hear more about it from my son of course.” She said with a hint of anger in her voice before leaving.
Connor slumped down in his seat as he breathed a sigh of relief.
“I don’t understand what’s so stressful about this Connor.” Mr. Benell innocently asked. Connor was sure he meant well, but he wasn’t in the mood to respond charitably so he simply got up and walked to the door before looking back at Mr. Benell.
“Well then you don’t understand me at all. Some counsellor you are.” Connor spat as he left the office to go to his last few classes of the day.
After school, Connor walked through the hallways towards the exit and listened to the usual remarks from other students.
“Hey you beat that level? Show me too!”
“Wanna drop by the cafe that just opened up?”
Connor rolled his eyes as he took his phone and earbuds out of his bookbag. He was about to start some music when he overheard a remark.
“So, who was that guy who got called down to the office today? Hasn’t he been called down for the past few months?”
Connor turned to see who was talking about him, and saw a group of two guys and a girl right by the exit doors. He slowly walked towards the doors, listening in on the group’s conversation.
“Yeah he has, wonder what kind of trouble he’s gotten into.” One of the guys said.
“I mean, I don’t think he’s like that, he was on the first quarter Honor Roll.” The girl replied.
“Still, it’s strange isn’t it. His name was Connor? I don’t think I know him. I’ve seen his name but what’s weird is that I’ve never seen a photo of him.” The other guy said.
“Yeah his name’s on the large Honor Roll plaque by the main office, but there’s no picture for him. It’s really weird and actually kinda unsettling.” The girl explained.
Connor smirked to himself as he continued walking towards the exit. He passed through the doors without the group even giving him a look.
“That’s right. You don’t know me. None of you do.” Connor thought to himself as he stepped outside into the cool fall day. His slightly long brown hair flew a bit in the wind as he made his way home.
© Christopher Panlilio, 2019. All rights reserved.