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‘A writing contest’, they had told the class, ‘for scholarships and stuff.’ You’ll have an hour...ready...start.
‘Scholarships and stuff’, she scoffed, ‘as if I’ll need those’.
She twiddled her pen around her fingers expertly; a talent only she appeared to possess. Her newly French Manicured nails gleamed with every twirl, and a breeze from an open window tousled her still-warm-from-the-straightener hair. It’s not that she was trying to be obnoxious – she just really was not in the mood for a writing assignment at 7:35am in the morning, much less in the mindset.
‘That party last night was wicked’, she mused, ‘almost as fun as the party I’m going to have this Saturday will be. There’ll be a DJ...costume contest, of course...I wonder...’ The twiddling of her pen suddenly came to an abrupt halt midway through her thumb and index finger, as a list took form in her mind.
‘Stupid writing contest...wish I was sitting next to Brittany, though’
He sighed wistfully, running a hand through his copper curls: cropped, but not too close to his head. He watched the breeze from the jail-cell-like window ripple through her perfectly straight hair, and wished he could twirl his chewed up pencil like she could her ballpoint pen.
He also wished he was invited to her party on Saturday night...but he would have to be shot into the next century before that thought even popped into her plastic brain.
Maybe he could crash it…find a cool costume…be Prince Charming to her Cinderella, perhaps? He grinned at the mental picture that costume created. Oh yes, he thought, I’m definitely crashing that party…
Three words: “Party Crash 101”
“Why is John so obsessed with Brittany? Why can’t he want to sit next to me?”
A petite girl, black hair, cut so close to her head you’d mistake her for a boy had she not been wearing makeup and jewelry. Chocolate eyes gazed wistfully in John’s direction, only to refocus a moment later in remorse. Clearly, he was plotting a way to get invited to Brittany’s party.
Not that she was invited, of course, but she knew him well enough to deduce that he wished he was from his almost-drooling-but-not-quite expression. And why not? They had been best friends for eight years now; always talking to each other on the phone, always at the other’s house…until now. Brittany Lila Marina, new girl at school, had snatched his sanity.
She had attempted to tell herself she wasn’t jealous, but clearly it was not working out so well. Fact is, she was jealous, and seeing him look at Brittany like Romeo pining over Rosaline was enough to send her insides churning with envy.
Unintentionally, she pressed the “forward” button on her classic iPod, and, upon hearing the song, grinned. Well, at least now she had something to write about…
“Wish I had my iPod to listen to”, he grumbled, “then at least I would be sitting here listening to music and not writing, instead of bored and not writing”.
He watched Miranda Sky switch songs on her iPod, and suddenly begin to write with a furiousness he most certainly did not expect out of her. He wondered what it was that could have sparked this inspiration.
‘Wish she’d give some of it to me’. He turned his head towards the window; the only source of entertainment anywhere in this room. His normally cramped hand was resting, and his brain, normally filled with ideas, was as blank as the room he was in.
Miranda Sky, he pondered, is certainly an interesting character. It was common knowledge that she pined over her best friend John Vreeland, and that he in turn was oblivious and pined over Brittany Marina.
‘We’re all such idiots’, He almost laughed out loud at the sheer stupidity of his fellow classmates’ love lives, but stopped himself in the realization that not all would appreciate an outburst from him.
‘Since I’m just the boring one, I may as well have some fun…’
Soon, his paper was covered in doodles…and with a handful of words scattered here and there….
“How does Matt do that? Why can’t I draw like that?”
She sniffled a bit, silently, so no one else noticed. Dance and school were taking their toll on her tenth grade year, and she seemed to be getting upset on the smallest matters these days.
It didn’t help that no one else really knew her enough to listen. Though she had lived in this town for years, she never made a good friend…not that anyone in this school was worthy anyway….
‘It must be nice to have someone to rant your troubles to.’
Not that she would know…she couldn’t even rant her troubles to this stupid blank piece of paper, let alone a human being. She wished she were artistic and creative, like Matt…. he was sitting over there drawing and writing whatever he pleased into a comic strip!
Of course, dance was partially at fault for her lack of a social life…not that she would give it up in exchange, of course, but some interaction with her peers would be a welcome change.
She fingered the bun on her head and sighed, wistfully. But, her thoughts brightened considerably once she remembered her role in this year’s nutcracker. Sugar Plum Fairy, she breathed dreamily, what more could I want?
‘I wish I could tell her that she isn’t alone…’
He tapped his long finger elegantly against his mouth, but then shook his head, leaning back in his chair.
Katarina Malakoff could never know that he too understood her pains, joys, and hardships as a dancer…for he was one himself.
Not only could he not tell her; he could not reveal this secret to anyone, not now, especially not after keeping it for so many years already. No one, save his family, new about this hidden passion of his, and he intended to keep it that way. And yet, Katarina looked so hopeless, sitting in the lone corner of the room where only those with no one else to sit with sat.
His paper was far from blank, as it had been for the past 30 minutes. He wrote some BS about his life, some fairy tale that he only dreamed was as simple as he pretended his life was. In reality, his life was a game…a game of chess where one wrong move could cost him everything.
‘I understand, Katarina.’ He turned his gaze to her again, watching her light fingers touch her bun. ‘Trust me, I do.’
‘Finally! I’m finished…’
Brittany shook her tiny hand under the desk until some of the redness had disappeared, only then revealing it to anyone who chose to glance in her direction. She scanned the classroom, pausing at Paul Bercova, who was gazing intently at Katarina. For a moment, she touched upon the thought…. but no. He couldn’t be. He’s on the basketball team…it’s just not possible.
She laughed at her antics, and flipped her hair back over her shoulder in finality.
Ithaca, New York
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