“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 time.
“Hey Kim, it’s Elle.Just checkin’ in to see how you are.”
“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 cordless phone.
“Apparently Krystal’s not hurt.Just had a rash and a headache.”
“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 ofher 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 asshe 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, rememberingthe 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 more fun.”
“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 intoher tea.
“Oh sorry…I forgot to mention I have a twin sister.”
“Seriously?”My eyes widened.“I’ve always wanted a twin.”
“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, asshe 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 pocket.
“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 figuredtheir 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 toldher 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 schoolshe had always imagined what the best teacher would be like but then again, she knewshe 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 eather 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 ledElla 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.