������������ "Ella! Oh my god, I'm over at the Student Center
with Krystal and she collapsed!�We were getting off the computers
and heading back and she looked really pale.�Then all of a sudden
she just fell over!�I called 911 and they're coming but Elle I'm
just so freaked out! Call my cell as soon as you can - I really
need you right now."
����������� It was clear to me from the message that Kim was
stressed, barely breathing, and in need of someone or something
to calm her down.
����������� "Was that Kim?" Monica asked.�"She sounds so
scared.�Aren't you going to call her back?"
����������� After pondering the question for the moment, Ella
came up with a simple answer.�"No." She was tired of always being
the one everybody looked to because she was responsible and put
together.�Sure, she loved Kim, but sometimes Kim was just going
to have to learn how to deal with her own situations.�
����������� "No?" Monica was incredulous.�"You don't even know if
Krystal's gonna be okay!"
����������� "Well, she called over half an hour ago.�I'm sure
they're at the hospital by now.�I have a feeling he'll be fine."
����������� "Ella, I really think you should call her."
����������� "All right," I sighed.�"I guess I probably should
call her.�But I still think she's making a big deal out of a
little incident."�So much for being tired of being leaned on.
����������� "Well if you were in her situation, you'd probably
appreciate your friend calling you back.�I know I would."
����������� Ella took a deep breath and exhaled.�"Yeah," she
said, dialing the number.
����������� "Hello?" Kim sounded a hundred times calmer this
����������� "Hey Kim, it's Elle.�Just checkin' in to see how you
����������� "Well I'm at the hospital and it turns out that
Krystal just has a really bad headache…they're still running some
tests though to make sure that's what happened, but she's okay
for now.�They think she might not have enough potassium in her
system or something like that."
����������� "Oh I'm so glad," Ella said as she mouthed the words
"He's fine," to Monica.
����������� "Well, I have to go. I'm not supposed to be talking
on my cell in here.�I'll see you later tonight Elle."
����������� "Bye Kim." She pressed the end button on the
����������� "Apparently Krystal's not hurt.�Just had a rash and a
����������� "Well that's great news!" Monica smiled.�"Aren't you
glad you called though?"
����������� "Yeah," Ella answered reluctantly.�The tables had
been turned.�Now she felt like Monica was trying to be
Ella's mother.�Apparently Ella was getting a dose of�her
own medicine: control.�Suddenly, she didn't feel so responsible
and put together anymore.
����������� Breaking the momentary silence, Monica made an effort
to leave.�"It's kind of getting late…I should probably get back
to my brother.�He's probably bored watching TV or something."
����������� "So how old is your brother anyway?" Ella asked
as�she walked toward her tiny kitchen.�"I think I'm going to make
some hot tea. You want some?"�she offered.
����������� "Yeah sure. Do you have green?"
����������� "Yup.�That's my favorite."
����������� "Oh yeah, anyway…Garrett," she said, remembering�the
initial question.�"He's probably the same age as you.�He's a
freshman over at UM Boston."
����������� Curious about why he didn't attend a more expensive
college, Ella ventured, "Why didn't he come to Harvard, or go to
another Ivy League school?"
����������� "I'm not sure exactly, but I know he says he
doesn't care about money or prestige or any of that stuff."
����������� A guy not interested in materialism.�Hmm…Ella was
having trouble believing he was really out there.� "Well, he
sounds like a nice person,"�she emerged from the kitchen with two
mugs of green tea and a jar of honey.
����������� "Yeah, if you consider dull nice," Monica
laughed.�"When I got here this weekend, I found him just the same
as always.�I hoped that he would've like…changed just a little,
but he's still his old self.�I thought college might make him
����������� "You sound like his exact opposite."
����������� "Pretty much.�Garrett's never really gotten along
with me or Caroline."
����������� "Who's Caroline?"�Ella asked, stirring some honey
����������� "Oh sorry…I forgot to mention I have a twin sister."
����������� "Seriously?"�My eyes widened.�"I've always wanted a
����������� "Ha! You don't want my twin.�She's just a little
umm…different from me. I'm not trying to be like mean about this,
but she's just-" Monica's eyebrows went up slightly as she looked
at me "-not too smart."
����������� "Ohh,"�Ella replied with an understanding nod, not
really wanting to hear about how dumb her rich sister was.�"Well,
I still think it'd be neat to have a twin, somebody to always be
there, like a best friend but even closer."
����������� "That's a great like…ideal, but in real life it never
works out that way."�Monica took a sip of her tea.
����������� "I guess you're right,"�Ella conceded. Maybe that's
my problem,�she thought. Perhaps I set my standards too
high. "But there's no harm in wishing is there?"�she asked
wistfully, more to herself than Monica, as�she gazed softly at
the turned-off TV.
����������� Just then, Monica's cell phone rang. "Sorry my butt's
making so much noise," she laughed.�"Is it okay if I answer?" She
put her tea on the coffee table and pulled her cell from her back
����������� "Oh sure don't worry about it."�She was so polite;
for being a rich girl, Monica seemed pretty ordinary to Ella.�At
this point,�she figured�their conversation was pretty much
done.�As Monica conversed with her boyfriend,�Ella sat thinking
about the future…mostly about the coming weekend.
����������� That new job she'd had told�her parents about - the
teaching middle school kids' thing - Saturday was going to be her
first day.�She was excited about it, but mostly nervous.�In high
school�she had always imagined what the best teacher would be
like but then again, she knew�she would never measure up to that
standard. She'd just have to try - there's always a first time
for everything.�She just prayed the kids wouldn't eat�her alive.
����������� Momentarily, Monica hung up with her boyfriend,
ending their short conversation with an "I love you…No I love you
more…Can't wait to come home!"
����������� "Well I should probably let you get back to your
brother.�Call me again if you want to do something this week."
����������� "Okay I definitely will," Monica replied cheerily as
she grabbed her jacket and headed for the door.�"See ya!"
����������� Saturday morning Ella's alarm went off and she jumped
out of bed, ready for the new day.�She'd always been a morning
person, getting up early even when it wasn't really
necessary.�Saturday, she got up at 7.�She went downstairs, had
her usual breakfast of cereal and cold apple cider, then turned
on the news to see what was happening in the world.
����������� As she got dressed, she wondered what she should
expect - would the kids be nice, would they like her, hate her,
love her?�Anticipation was in the air.
����������� At 9:30, Ella pulled into the parking lot of Marbury
Middle School.�She walked through the double doors and down the
hallway, turning left at the office labeled Ms. Camp.�She was the
one who had interviewed Ella and called her to tell inform her
that she got the position.
����������� "Welcome Ella!" she said, stretching out her hand and
smiling. "I'm Ms. Camp, but please, call me Susan."
����������� "Hi," Ella replied rather shyly.�"Nice to meet you,"
she managed to add.
����������� "I'm so glad you're here.�I hope you enjoy being a
student teacher.�Sometimes the kids can be tough to relate to,
but you're young, so I'm sure it'll be a breeze for you."
����������� She led�Ella down the hall and through more double
doors until we reached C Hall.�
����������� "This is where all the Saturday tutoring takes
place." She gestured towards the classrooms.�"This is the English
room where you'll be." Ella poked her head in.�"And this is the
room for Math tutoring," Susan led them across the hallway.�Ella
did more than poke her head in this time.�She practically gawked
- gawked at him.