Monica came over at around noon on Monday.Ella was between classes, so she had a couple hours to show Monica around.Kim was just about to go out the door to meet a friend for lunch when Monica came in.After making quick introductions, the three girls headed out together.
Ella showed her around campus, pointing out all the different historical buildings and statues and explaining what my freshman year had been like so far.Ella was hoping to become an official tour guide her sophomore year, so she was glad to be Monica’s unofficial guide.
After about an hour of walking around in the fall sunlight, Ella heard her stomach start to growl.“Are you hungry at all?” She asked Monica.
“A little.It’s like pretty close to lunchtime anyway.”
“Are you in the mood for ice cream?”
“Well, there’s this awesome little place on campus where we could grab a hot dog and a shake or cone or whatever.”
After a few moments of silence as they changed direction, Monica ventured, “So…what’s it like going to a school so many kids just dream about attending?”
“Actually, it doesn’t really feel like that big of a deal.I mean, yeah it’s an Ivy League school – woohoo!” Ella threw her hands up in the air and smiled, “but to me it just feels like my new home.”
“Aren’t there a lot of stuck up rich people here?”
She laughed, inevitably noticing Monica’s designer jeans, expensive purse, and killer shoes.“Well I wouldn’t exactly call them ‘stuck up’ but yes there are quite a few kids here who come from wealthy families.”
“Oh.I was just wondering because I’ve grown up around, like, stuck up rich kids my whole life.” Smiling, she added, “And some people might think that’s who I am as a result.”So Ella was right, she was rich. “I hope you don’t think I’m a snob though.”
“No, no of course not,” Ella responded without hesitation.“My first impression of you was the exact opposite.Come on…offering to pay the grocery bill of a stranger? How much nicer can a person get?”
“Thanks Ella.That means a lot to me.As much fun as it is to live in Cali, sometimes people there can just be so…” her eyes darted to the left as she searched for the right word.“Shallow,” she finally said, rather quietly with a faraway look in her eyes.
“Yeah, I know how that can be,” Ella gazed at the ground as they walked.
“I really feel like coming here – to the East Coast – is what I want: something different.I just…”
“You just want to get away from home, start your own life, right?” Ella finished for her.
“Yeah, that’s exactly it.”
“Well, that’s how a lot of people feel about college – that’s definitely how I felt last year.But just watch out, because once you’ve got freedom, you don’t want to…” Now Ella was the one at a loss for words. They finally reached the ice cream parlor and Kim opened the door for Ella who was fumbling around in her purse. “What am I trying to say?” she mumbled, half to herself.She just couldn’t think straight.“There’s my wallet,” She sighed with relief. “You don’t want to abuse it,” Ella finally finished, with grace.
“Yeah, I know.I’ve heard plenty about that from my parents.”
Not sure whether to be insulted or just ignore Monica’s tone, Ella took the chance to change the subject.“So your parents.What are they like?”
Fortunately that got Monica talking for a good twenty minutes after they ordered, sat down inside and then decided to go sit under a big elm tree to eat their chocolate cherry ice cream.
The ice cream had been a nice refresher, and since Ella actually had cash on her, she had insisted on paying for Monica’s lunch. By 3pm their stomachs were full and they were just arriving back at the dorm.Ella unlocked the door and they stepped into the cool, air-conditioned little living room.
“Man that feels good,” Monica said as she took a deep breath and walked towards the TV. “Looks like you’ve got a few messages,” she looked down at the blinking light on my answering machine.
“Oh yea that’s probably Sam.”Ella had completely forgotten that one of her friends had promised to call and tell her whether she got a job she interviewed for or not.Ella pressed the play button, and two messages began to play.
The first one was what Ella had expected – Sam just saying to call her back – but the second was an urgent. It was Kim.