One Chapter Ends, Another Begins

Hello Friends!

Lots to talk about, lots to do! Busy, busy, busy! I haven’t had time to write to you in a while… I haven’t been doing much writing at all recently! I had a request from a lovely friend of mine, as I needed a friendly reminder, to post another Never Never section! I’m just putting you in so much suspense, dear readers! Well, here goes! At the end of this post, I’ve got lots of exciting news to share with you!!!!!

I woke back up again at 6:30. I leapt out of my bed. I’d be late! I lumped my pillows into a Thalia-shaped pile and left the note on my dresser. I said a final goodbye to my room and hopped on the bus, crossing my fingers that mom would only find the letter tonight.

Nolan was not happy with me.

He said his sister was crying this morning because Natalie had sent her an awful text. He said that they were enemies. Perfectly to plan.

“Nolan, look. I’m sorry! I just can’t do it! We’ll get our sisters friends again if I go back home,” Nolan’s eyes shone and Rose cocked her head at me. “IF,” I emphasized. I wasn’t going back any time soon. “Your sister’s picking you up right? Not your mom or dad?” Nolan nodded, obviously unhappy that I’d changed the subject. “Good. That gives us more time to tell her, though your parent’s could be easier. Unless they’re at work.”

“They work until 6 tonight,” Nolan started to perk up as we walked into Uptown Middle and down the hallway on our way to our classes. Rose and I parted ways from him as we headed down to Drama.

“Alice needs to sound very surprised when you fly down the tunnel, following the Hare. So Rose practice your worried look,” Rose scrunched up her face and her eyebrows furrowed at Mr. Calahensky’s command. “And Thalia work on looking as surprised as possible. Your mom just told you you’re 16 and can drive.” I raised my eyebrows and pushed them together a bit, trying my best to imagine myself rolling down a tiny dirt tunnel after a rabbit.

“Good! From the top!”

I was sitting in my tree, I followed Rose, I was tumbling down a hard, plastic pipe, designed to look like a dirty tunnel. I actually got dirt on my clothes and face. Wiping a stray hair from my face I looked around, supposedly very surprised.

“It would be so nice if things began to make sense for a change,” I said in my very best Alice in Wonderland voice. The rest of the class started applauding and I stood turned around and curtsied. “Thank you, oh thank you!” I imitated Alice’s voice.

“Now, now everyone! Class is dismissed!” Mr. Calahensky chuckled and students rushed out the double doors. “Could I please talk to you Ms. Brown?” I stopped and told Rose to go on ahead and that I’d be right there.

“Yes, Mr. Calahensky?” I asked. Did I do something wrong?

“Thalia, I think you are very talented and I’d like you to choose a play for us to do after Alice in Wonderland. It will be the before Christmas Break play so you have some time, but I thought you would like to help with the auditions, too.” I gawked at him.

“Me?”

“Yes you, Thalia. If you don’t want to that’s okay-” I leapt forward and scooped my teacher into a great big bear hug. “I suppose that’s yes?”

“Oh yes!”

“The before Winter Break play? Really? Auditions too? Oh how I’d love to be you!” Rose spun around in a circle and bumped into another student that was on the way to lunch. “You could do anything! Little Women, Jack in the Beanstalk, Romeo and Juliet, Peter Pan!”

“Yes! Peter Pan! Then lots of people can fly around the stage! It would be fantastic! And we could do a modern twist, too!” Rose and I squealed with delight. RIIIIIIIING! A voice went on the intercom.

“Class dismissed!” The whole school rushed to the doors as they clicked open. Nolan grabbed my hand. I looked at him and blushed a fascinating shade of flamingo pink.

“So I don’t lose you,” he mouthed. It was too loud to hear anything other than the hubbub of the kids.

Sam’s car was a brown toyota. It was old. It was plain. It was rusted. But at least she had one. I adjusted my backpack on my shoulder as Nolan and I walked to Sam’s car. Choruses of “Nolan’s got a girlfriend, Nolan’s got a girlfriend!” rang out, but only from a few kid’s mouths. Thanks a lot. He signed in sign language. I grinned and stuck my tongue out.

“Why, is she here, Nolan?! Her sister-” Sam was cut off by me slamming the door.

“Hit the gas, Sam. We’ll explain on the way,” I told her.

“Okay so let me get this right, you want to get back at your mom and sister so you’re running away to live with us? And Nolan and I have to hide you from our parents. And Rose can’t do it why?” Sam turned around in the driver’s seat.

“Butler.” I replied at the same time as Nolan.

“Right.” said Sam thoughtfully. “Fine. But if you get in trouble, blame’s not on me.” Nolan and I nodded.

“Right. So. Your parents get home at six so I have to eat by then, right? And then wait for you to come back up to your room after dinner.” They nodded. “Okay, so what about breakfast? What time do they wake up and leave for work?”

“They wake up early but leave at 6:00 for work so you eat breakfast in the car to school so we can get to school early and no one will see you come to school with me. And on weekends, you stay locked in our room. Dad’s usually writing stuff for the paper and mom is doing a shift at the hospital usually, but extra precaution is always good.” Nolan told me. I nodded as we pulled into a long driveway of a ranch. Sam and Nolan got out and I followed suit. I pulled out my really heavy, really puffy backpack and lugged it inside. It was pleasant inside the little ranch. The kitchen and living room were clean but I assumed the bedrooms weren’t.

“My room’s this way if you want to put your stuff in there. I’ve got a bunk so you can sleep on bottom. We can play XBox after homework too.” I smiled up at Sam. I’d always wanted an XBox. And a good big sister.

I plopped my stuff on Sam’s bed. Her room was a really bright shade of green and she had posters covering every inch of it on one wall, a picture collage next to her bed, a closet on one wall, and the door on the other. I loved her room already. Her door was painted with chalkboard paint too, and it never really closed unless you pulled hard. I took out my homework and walked to the living room. I sat down on the fluffy brown sofa next to Nolan who was studying his geography map. I took out my lines for Alice in Wonderland and read them over and over in my head.

“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be and what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” Sam giggled from across the room working on her math homework and Nolan applauded. The garage door opened.

“Quick! Hide in my room!” Sam shoved my homework into my arms and I dashed off, slamming the door hard as Nolan’s dad walked in.

“Hey kids, I’m gonna go work in the study until supper, okay. Get your homework done before you play on the XBox.”

I let out a deep breath that I seemed to have been holding in all day. It was going to work. It had to. I heard a door close somewhere on the other end of the house and I waited a few moments before tip-toeing into the living room. That was close. I signed. Nolan nodded and whispered to Sam that they were using sign language. Sam signed, with the help of Nolan, that she wasn’t very good but they had a sign language club at school that she had joined recently. I smiled. I really do love coincidences like these.

I finished the small bit of homework I had to do before we played on the XBox. We played Wii and Mario Kart and after we were done I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Guys! Who are you talking to?” Their dad called.

“Sam!” Nolan replied wincing.

“Okay! Just remember, homework comes before playing with the neighbors!”

“Neighbors!” Nolan whispered. “You can pretend to be our neighbor, Megan Gripling! Dad doesn’t get out much so he won’t know the difference.” I’ll go knock on the door. I signed and tip toed to the door. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK! Sam appeared at the door.

“Hey Megan! How’s it going?”

“Good. I was wondering if I could hang out with you guys!”

“Oh yeah! Sure,” Sam paused, “WE JUST FINISHED OUR HOMEWORK!!!” she called loud enough for her dad to here. I mocked ear injury. “Let’s play Fruit Ninja on our XBox!” I smiled and nodded. Already, Sam knew me too well. We hung out the rest of the night. Finally “Megan” left and Nolan and Sam’s mom came home. I sat in Sam’s room and played on her phone. Too many times I went back and looked at the text I sent from Natalie’s phone. It felt wrong to keep something so big like that from Sam. She was like my sister now. I quit out of Subway surfers and laid face up on the bunk staring up at the wooden planks below Sam’s bed. I took out a pen from my pocket and wrote l on the board above. 1 day I had been here. I would make a mark for how many days Sam was my sister and Nolan my brother just like they did in the movies. How many marks would I make until I went back to my family?

The next morning when I woke up I didn’t know where I was. Until I saw the bright green on Sam’s walls. Then I remembered everything. My plan, school, dad. I missed him. I wanted to know how he was doing. I wanted to know if I could visit him. But the last question I already knew. I couldn’t visit him. The nurses would tell mom that I visited with Sam and then they would find me and that would ruin everything. My sisterhood with Sam would be over forever.

We drove to school in the old brown toyota and we got to school and 6:30. I stuffed the rest of my pop tart into my mouth and Nolan and I headed to the big oak tree to wait till 6:45 when the doors would open. The grass was wet and soaked my tennis shoes and the chilly November air nipped at my nose and fingers. I shivered. Nolan scootched a little closer and we shivered together in the cold, cold air.

The stampede of kids stampeded into the middle school and raced to our classes. I said goodbye to Nolan and headed off to Drama. Rose was already sitting when I got there. She leaned over and whispered in my ear,

“How’d it go?” I told her everything about the night before and she gave me a double thumbs up.

“CLASS!” Mr. Calahensky boomed, his voice alone quieted the room. “Hello! Have you been practicing your lines?” Almost everyone nodded yes. “Good! Now we have a final detail run-through before the performance for the whole middle school on Thursday! Yes, that’s two days from now. Then! A very special guest will announce the play that we will be doing for the Winter Show that the WHOLE COMMUNITY sees! Yes? Yes!” And with that we all scuttled to the dressing room. Mr. Calahensky caught me. “What play are we doing?” He whispered, if it could be called that.

“Peter Pan.” I replied and hurried off to get in my poofy dress.

The run-through was not, in fact, quick. It took most of the class period but when it was over, the whole class was buzzing with excitement. They all wanted to hear me say what play we would do. Except they didn’t know I was announcing it.

“Give a big hand to Thalia Brown who will be helping with the auditions and play arrangement!” Mr. Calahensky’s voice echoed around the whole auditorium. At first, only Rose cheered and clapped and whooped but as I climbed the steps to the stage I heard a dozen kids cheering me on loudly. I turned around and smiled. Mr. Calahensky handed me a microphone and I spoke confidently into it.

“This year, for the Winter Show, we will be putting on the play PETER PAN!” Everyone cheered. Not a single his or boo to be heard. I continued. “But that’s not all, we are going to put a modern twist into this beloved old fairy tale!” The “crowd” roared including Mr. Calahensky which was probably the reason why it sounded like a roar and not a cheer. I bowed and jumped off the stage and took my seat. Rose high fived me. I was beaming, grinning from ear to ear, and really, if I smiled any bigger, I don’t know if I’d have any face left with that smile!

School zoomed. Everyone was asking my autograph. Everyone wanted me to talk about my “acting career.” One kid even asked if I would pick according to friends or talent, the nerve! Of course I’d choose by talent though I think Rose might be getting the part of Wendy or Tiger Lilly.

The rest of the day, I feel ashamed to say, was boring. So was Wednesday. We started with Ms. Emily Bentley’s math class and science and after that I just got pestered by kids thinking I was some famous actress. And I thought I would never be famous or have a nice older sister! Sometimes I wonder how two completely opposite girls became best friends.

Wednesday melted into Thursday which brought the play. I was in the dressing room getting ready when I heard one of the two voices I didn’t want to hear for a long time. And then I saw the person attached to the voice.

Natalie.

I made a beeline for the bathrooms but it was too late. She had seen me. Luckily Mr. Calahensky grabbed her shoulder before she could step in after me. I took this distraction and ran straight into the bathroom stall. I heard Mr. Calahensky telling Natalie that this was a play for the middle schoolers to watch not high schoolers and that one was on the 14th of December and I heard Natalie tell Mr. Calahensky that I ran away. And I heard nothing more. Other than Natalie leaving. I crept out of the stall and down to Mr. Calahensky. He looked at me and I looked at him and he nodded and walked away and started calling orders to the curtain and lights people.

The curtain went up. I was sitting in my tree. Rose was crouched in the roses. Funny coincidence. The music started and I began humming the song I had practiced over and over. On queue, Rose hopped out of the roses and I giggled. I didn’t remember if I was supposed to giggle or not but I swung down from the tree. All of this was like second nature to me so I just let it take me, doing what my hands and feet and voice told me to do. Before I knew it, people were standing, cheering, clapping, whistling and I was being rushed out to curtsy. People began stomping when I did. I smiled and waved and ran off again.

After I left the changing room I tried to find Rose and Nolan. It turned out, they actually found me. Both congratulated me on my spectacular performance and I told them about Natalie in the dressing room. Both listened with frowns on their faces.

“Well, we gotta go,” Nolan said grabbing my arm. Everyone left the auditorium and we just sort of floated with the crowd. We scanned for Natalie, if she was there we would separate so she wouldn’t suspect anything. We dashed out to the brown toyota it the parking lot like we were running through a cold sprinkler. We leapt into the car, giggling like two year olds and breathless. I looked at Nolan and he looked at me and we stopped laughing at just that one moment as our eyes locked. And then we opened the garage door.

I read the rest of the night. Mostly the old copy Peter Pan that the Merriweathers had on there great big book shelf in the living room. I heard a gentle knock on the black chalkboard door. Before I could get up and open it, Sam stepped into the room. She was quiet, which was odd for Sam. I sat up and pushed a strand of hair out of my eyes. It was longer than it was when I came here, now about down to my armpit. Sam sat next to me, her head ducked down so she would fit under the bed. I looked into Sam’s eyes, the same blue as Nolan’s, and I could tell she was sad. No, not sad. Lonely.

“Hey.” Sam smiled but her eyes were still lonely. I wanted them to be happy and excited.

“Hey,” she replied.

“Wanna go play on the XBox?” I asked. I’d do anything to make her eyes bright again. She shrugged.

“I thought I could teach you how to play chess,” she answered. I nodded.

“I’d love to play chess.”

And so she taught me how to play chess and the more I think about it, the more I realized that I wasn’t a pawn anymore. I was growing up to be a knight.

That night I made the fourth mark on the 2×4 above my bed.

Saturday came in a hurry. Rose was sleeping over and I had to pretend to be Megan again because Mrs. Merriweather was home. It was kind of like being in a play. You had to pretend to be a different person but you couldn’t spill the beans that you were just faking. We still stayed out of Mrs. Merriweather’s range of fire, though, in case she realized I wasn’t really Megan because Megan didn’t have freckles. I almost showed Rose and Nolan the marks above my bed but I didn’t. For some reason I felt like it was my secret. I didn’t have many secrets but if I did, I wouldn’t tell anyone. I wondered what dad was doing and whether mom and Natalie were missing me at all. I didn’t know if I missed them. Rose slept over Sunday too. We stayed up late into the night talking about things. School. Sam. Friends. Plays. Natalie.

“Rose?”

“Hmm?”

“Do you ever wonder about things?”

“What do you mean, Thalia?”

“The things in books or plays, there so… unreal. But do you ever wonder if something like that would ever happen?”

“Never say never.”

“Goodnight, Rose.”

“Goodnight, Thalia.”

I hope you enjoyed that! I really need to take the time to go back and reread Never Never. It’s one of the first stories I actually felt proud of and it’s how I discovered online writing in GoogleDocs. How do you like to write? Let me know in the comments. I’ve heard some very interesting strategies before, and if I get enough different ways, I might do a post on it!

News!:

It was my birthday on Saturday! Unfortunately, I was feeling under the weather, but I did get lots of lovely cards and presents!

I’m not sure how to say this lightly, but most of you already know it, so I’ll just go full force! I’m going back to Holland Christian next year! Yay! I’m very excited, although I’ll miss all my sweet, loving Friday Addition friends! I only knew you for a year, but we were starting to feel like family.

As  one chapter ends, another begins. Sadly, the chapter of my life titled “ballet” is ending. It will go with lots of tear and I will miss everyone at Turning Pointe SOOOO much, but everything must come to an end some day. 😦 Although, like I said, as one chapter ends, another begins, or in my case, restarts! I am going to pick piano back up again!

Everyone is probably wondering why I’m making all these crazy decisions in a few weeks! I went to New York to visit my cousins. Either the scenery and family is inspiring or everyone is crazy and makes you incurably crazy as well!!

Well, that’s all for today, ladies and gents! I hope to talk to you very soon!

Your forever, writing and bookish pal,

Abigail June

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