51 fluorescent bulbs.
297 middle school students.
Peter closed his eyes for a moment, trying to silence the overwhelming evidence that he was the new kid. Again. He slung his navy blue backpack over his shoulder, summoned his courage and stood up straight. Then he thought better of it and slouched, hoping to better blend his lanky 5 foot 10 inch frame in among his fellow students. In spite of his efforts, he still stood a head taller than his classmates.
Peter caught his reflection in the glass of the trophy case and rolled his eyes. He attempted to tame the shock of black hair that stood up from the back of his head. He had that popular look of having just gotten out of bed, albeit unintentionally. Giving up on his unruly hair, he tugged the front of his shirt straight and pulled on his sleeves, making them even. He might not be able to make his hair behave, but he could still control his clothes and that was one of the reasons he preferred to wear stripes. Stripes, like math, were predictable, orderly and organized.
Peter took in his unfamiliar surroundings while his mind counted what he saw. The ticker tape of numbers flickering before his eyes was the only part of this morning that wasn’t foreign.