“I walk upstairs and flop facedown on my bed. Uhh, I don’t want to do this. I wish I was in kindergarten again, then I could be friends with Galeian forever and never have to leave. That is my only wish.”
As I walk into the dining room, my mom says, “Katnissa. You’re late.”
“Sorry,” I say. “I was out with Galeian at the park.”
Galeian is my best friend. He and I have been best friends since we started kindergarten when we were five. I still remember on the first day of kindergarten I wore my hair in two braids instead of one (now the only hairstyle I wear is one braid over my left shoulder) and I was so nervous. He was the only one who was nice to me. Now, we are going into eighth grade. This year is the year we try out for high school. If we don’t go to the same high school, we won’t be friends anymore, and that would be sad.
“What’s for dinner,” I say.
“Spaghetti with meat sauce,” my mom says. “You know tomorrow you have an interview.”
“I know,” I reply.
“Don’t you want to prepare?”
“No,” I say.
I walk upstairs and flop facedown on my bed. Uhh, I don’t want to do this. I wish I was in kindergarten again, then I could be friends with Galeian forever and never have to leave. That is my only wish.
I wake up the next morning and immediately feel the warmth and coziness of the blanket on top of me. Then, I realize that I have my interview today, so I am allowed the skip school to go to my interview at Lexington High School. My bedroom is literally covered with posters of Alex Morgan, Lionel Messi, Abby Wambach, and Hope Solo.
I grab my phone off the nightstand and text Galeian, Hey are you nervous for our interview??
He almost instantly texts me and says, No, you.
And I say, Yes, a bit.
And he says, It’s okay don’t be nervous.
I then text, Meet you there.
When I stand up, I feel the shooting pain in my feet that you get when you first get up.
“Ow,” I mutter under my breath.
I open my drawer as it makes a low creaking sound. Creeeeeeeak. Then, I take my favorite shirt out of the drawer. It’s a black turtleneck sweaterish sort of thing. It’s plain, but I really like it. I also take out a pair of jeans. Then, I braid my hair into braid over my left shoulder, just like every morning. As I walk downstairs, I hear the slamming of our car’s trunk and the sound of our old garage doors closing. Yes, I can admit we don’t have the nicest house or the newest things, but we do live a good life. I walk across the lawn in my flip flops, and I feel the cold, wet grass on my toes. It must have just rained last night. I walk to the car and open the door. I get in the car, and my mom starts driving. It takes about 15 minutes to get there.
When I get out, my mom gives me a big hug and says, “I’m so proud of you.”
And I say, “Thanks, Mom,” but really inside it puts me under more pressure.
Then, I hear Galeian say, “Hey, Katnissa,” and I walk over to him.
“Hi, Galeian,” I say.
“Still nervous?” he asks.
“Let’s go in,” he says.
And I say, “Okay.”
As we walk into Lexington High School, I start to get butterflies in my stomach. The lady at the front desk tells us to go take a right through that door, then a left down the hallway, and then take a right right down the first hallway we see, and the room will be on our left at the end of that hall. We follow those directions, and we get there without getting lost. Yay!!! We go into the room and see a tall man with bright red hair.
He says, “Galeian, you’re up first.”
“Bye, Katnissa,” Galeian says.
“Bye,” I say.
“Hi, Mom, I’m home,” I say as I walk through the front door.
“Good,” she says. “I need to talk to you.”
“Okay.” I walk into the living room where she is watching a show. She pauses her show. I sit down on our couch and relax.
Then, my mom says, “How was your day.”
I then say, “Good.”
“Where were you,” she says.
“I was out at the park with Katnissa.”
We were practicing for our state soccer tournaments that we are both in the finals of. We play on the same team because Brooke Charter School only has one team, and it is for boys. Katnissa had to ask so many times and keep showing the coach her skills, and even then it took her a whole year to get on the team. She is really good.
“That sounds fun. Also, you have an interview tomorrow,” she says. That’s my mom alright, always worried about me when I don’t need her to be.
“I know, Mom, you have told me half a billion times,” I say.
“I know,” she says. “Still, do you want to prepare??”
“No,” I say. Actually, I kind of yell at her. Well anyway, I walk upstairs and lie down on my bed. I wish I didn’t have to switch schools. It’s so annoying. Now I might never be friends with Katnissa again.
I wake up the next morning and feel annoyed.
“Really, Mom,” I say. “It’s only 7:00 am. Why do you have to wake me up.”
“You have an interview today,” she says.
Uhhhhhhh, I think. “This is the quadrillianth time you have told me!!” I say.
“I know, I know” she says, “but really you have to get up.”
“Fine,” I say. I walk over to my dresser and take out an expensive top and my nicest jeans and get dressed. Then, I walk downstairs to have breakfast. My mom has prepared me a great breakfast. A bit of egg, a bit of bacon, and a bit of hash browns. Yum!! I scarf up my breakfast, and my mom and I drive to Lexington High School. I feel a little nervous, but I dont tell my mom, or she will start to freak out and tell me I don’t have to go if I don’t want to, but I do want to go.
When I arrive, I see Katnissa, and I say, “Hey, Katnissa.”
After that, everything’s a blur. Next thing I know, I’m being called in for the interview.
I walk into the interviewing room and sit down on a red velvet chair.
The man in front of me across the desk says, “Hello, you must be Katnissa.”
“Yes,” I say.
“How are you today?” he asks.
“Good,” I say.
“So I’m going to get to the point,” he says. “Why do you want to go to Lexington high school?”
“It is the best sports school in the state of Massachusetts,” I say.
“So you play sports I presume?” he asks.
“Yes,” I say. “If you look in my folder, you will see a review from all my past coaches.” He opens my folder and takes out a review from my middle school coach and looks surprised.
“What are your favorite subjects in school?” he asks.
“Math and gym,” I say. “I not only love soccer. I love all sports in general, although I will admit my favorite is soccer. I love math because I like mind games, and math includes a lot of them.”
“My last question is about friends.” He asks, “Do you have a lot of of them??”
“Honestly, I have a few, my teammates and Galeian who is also my teammate.”
“So boys are on your team,” he says.
“Yes,” I say. “It is an all boys team except for me.”
“Thank you, Ms. Katnissa. Watch for a letter,” he says.
“Thank you,” I say. Then, I walk out of the door feeling remarkably happy.
I open the front door to my house. I walked home with Katnissa, so I had to hold back tears the entire time. Why did I do that interview so horribly?! I walk into my house and feel the tears hot and salty rolling down my face. My mom comes out of the kitchen holding a spatula covered in sauce.
She says, “Honey, how was your int — , what happened, sweetheart?”
She gives me a big hug. The tears are slowing, and I am calming down slowly. I am breathing heavy, and for once, I am happy about my mom’s protecting nature.
“What happened, sweetheart, do you want to talk about it?”
“No,” I say.
“Okay,” she says.
She goes into the kitchen and gets me a fresh cup of her famous chocolate milk. When I drink it, I feel even better. After that, my mom and I curl up and watch my favorite movie. Later that night, as I walk upstairs, I feel a kind of happy, a happy I’ve never felt before, like I might be able to accept the the fact that I most likely will not get in to Lexington High School, and that’s okay. And for that, I thank my mother.
It’s a week after my interview, and we still haven’t gotten a letter or email about the school. It’s super nerve-wracking!! Suddenly, my mom yells from downstairs.
“Honey, I would come down here if I were you.”
I race downstairs and exclaim, “What.”
My mom says, “Come here.” I run over as fast as I can and look over her shoulder, and on her computer I see a message from Lexington High School.
“Open it!” I yell excitedly. “Open it!!”
She clicks it with her mouse, and here is what the email says.
Dear Ms. Rail
I am very pleased to inform you that your daughter has gotten into Lexington High School. Below I will provide a list of all details on this matter.
Thank you for your time,
“YES!” I exclaim. “YES, YES, YES!!”
My mom gives me a big hug. “I’m so proud of you!!” When we finally let go of each other, which is about half an hour later, my mom says, “Let’s go out to dinner to celebrate.”
“Yes,” I say.
Later that night, I’m still smiling. We hop in the car. We decide that we are going to my favorite restaurant that is on Oak Street. It’s an Italian restaurant, and it’s so good. The only problem is that it’s 30 minutes away. Whatever, who cares. I’m so happy.
Even though I expected that I wouldn’t make it into the school, I still feel sad that I didn’t get in. The thing that cheered me up the most was my mom. Do you know what she did?! She gave me a hard mad emoji pillow to punch and a sad emoji pillow to squeeze. I cracked up so hard when she gave them to me. I was laughing forever. It was hilarious!! But the funniest thing ever was when she asked me, “Why are you laughing?” After that, I laughed for 20 minutes. But then, I went upstairs. The fun was over, and the gloom started. I thought back to the day of the interview, and then I remembered the smirkish smile she gave me when she came out if the room. She told the interviewer bad things about me. Oh my gosh!! Why would she do such a terrible, terrible thing. What did I ever do to her?? Well, the day before our interview, I beat her at soccer for the first time. Now she thinks I’m a pushover and a baby, and I hate her for it.
As we get in the car, I say, “Oh shoot. I should call Galeian, right?”
My mom then says, “Yeah sure.”
I turn on my phone and call Galeian. “Hey, Galeian,” I say when he answers. “I got in. I’m so excited we are going to do all kinds of fun things together.”
“I didn’t get in,” he says, sounding quite upset like he just cried. “So go away.”
I look toward the front window and say, “I’m so sorry, Galeian, that’s aw — ” Then I see the big white headlights raging toward us. “AAAAAAA!” I scream. Then, I hear a crash!! I feel some kind of sharp glass hit my arm, and I feel a bit of wet blood. Everything becomes blurry, and then my world goes black.
As I am relaxing on my bed and feeling sleepy, I suddenly get a call. I pick up the phone and answer it without looking who it’s from. When I answer it, I hear Katnissa’s voice ranting about what we’re going to do together when we get to Lexington. Really, now she is trying to make me feel bad. Is she serious. She sounds so excited.
Then in the middle of her sentence, I cut her off and say, “I didn’t get in.”
Then unexpectedly she says, “Oh Galeian that’s aw — ” Then, I hear two screams and then a big crash. Oh my gosh, she just got into a car crash. Should I go and help her. Then I decide no, she ruined my dreams. I will never help her again. She doesn’t deserve it.
I wake up hearing voices. What’s going on? I think. What happened? Ow, my whole body hurts.
When I open my eyes, someone yells, “She’s awake.”
“Call the doctor,” yells someone else.
I open my eyes even wider to find my mom sitting there. With several scars on her face yes, but alive and awake. I smell an odd smell, like we are at a hospital. I also hear a quiet buzzing sound from the big machine Then, I notice that I have a bunch of wires connecting to me.
I try to say, “Mom, are we in a hospital,” but what comes out is this awful croaking sound.
I try to sit up, but the pain in my neck and right leg are too much to bare. Oh the pain!! I lay back down. I decide if I can’t get up, I will at least find out where I am. I can’t talk, so I decide my strategy will be to look around the room. I see a night table with a plant on it on my left side. On the table there is my phone cracked and most likely unusable. Then, I look on the other side and see a bunch of medical charts. Okay, we’re definitely at a hospital. But why are we here? Then I remember those big white headlights, and then I put two and two together, and I know we were in a car crash. Then, the doctor comes in with this clipboard in his hand.
Then, he says “Hello, Katnissa. I am Doctor Modisett.”
“What happened to me?” I ask.
He responds to me by saying, “You have a concussion, a broken arm, and a broken neck.”
“Nooooo,” I croak.
Then, the doctor drops the biggest bomb I’ve experienced on me. He says, “Soccer may be off the table for you.”
“Nooo,” I say.
“I have to go to the nationals.” Then I cry, and I feel the hot, salty tears slowly roll down my face.
“Oh, honey, I’m so sorry,” my mom says.
“Noooo,” I cry back. I feel like I have no use in the world anymore, and my heart is crushed.
My mom wakes me up the next day.
I ask her, “Why are you waking me up so early?”
She says, “We’re going to visit Katnissa in the hospital.”
Then I say, “Absolutely not, I will not go.”
“Yes, you will,” she says, “or you’re grounded, and don’t you care about your friend?”
“Fine,” I say.
I get dressed and walk down the stairs. She gives me breakfast, and we head off towards the hospital. When we get to the hospital, the person at the front desk says that she’s in room 302. Then, we take the elevator up to the third floor. The elevator is super slow. We open the door to her room, and I see her in the bed sleeping. My mom greets her mom and tells her how sorry she is that this happened. Then Katnissa wakes up. I glare at her.
She says, “Hi, Galeian.” I ignore her. “Galeian, did you hear me? Hello?” she says as she waved her hand in my face.
“Don’t put your hand in my face,” I say.
“Jeez,” she responds, “so harsh.”
I decide I would ignore her for the rest of the time we’re here. Then, I walk to the other side of the room and sit down facing away from her.
“What are you doing, Galeian?” my mom asks.
“You knew I didn’t want to come. Don’t expect me to talk.”
“But Katnissa is your best friend. Aren’t you happy to see her.”
I simply say, “No.”
The next time I open my eyes, I see Galeian walk through the door. I feel excited to see them, but still a little upset that he yelled at me when we were on the phone.
But I still try to be friends with him and say, “Hi, Galeian,” but he rudely ignores me. I don’t understand why he did that. I wave my hand in his face.
“Hello, why are you ignoring me.”
He yells at me again, telling me to not put my hands in his face. I don’t understand why he’s doing this. What did I ever do to him? Maybe it’s because I got into the school and he didn’t. May — that’s the only option. He’s mad at me because I got into the school and he didn’t. That’s not fair for him to do that. When I think about it, I should be the one mad at him. He hasn’t come to visit me and doesn’t even care that I’m okay. Then, Galeian leaves. He says he has to go to the bathroom, but I think he’s leaving for good.
I say to his mom, “Why is Galeian acting like this? Do you know?”
She says, “No, I have no idea. I don’t understand it either.”
Later that day, after Galeian and his mother left, my physical therapist comes for the first time to help me with my broken neck and leg. She has curly black hair and acts really nice.
She says, “Hello, I’m Ariana.”
“Hi, I’m Katnissa,” I say.
When I try to get out of bed, I realize just how bad my leg is. I almost fall over, but I catch myself using the bed.
“Ow,” I say. She tells me to sit down on the floor and slowly try to touch my toes. I do, and it hurts way too much to touch my toes.
“Ugh,” I say. “I can’t do this.”
“Yes you can,” she says. “If you want to get back to your passion, you have to work for it.”
“But it hurts to work for it,” I say.
“But you still have to do it,” she says.
Soon, she tells me to stand up and try walking but holding onto the railing. I get three steps before I have to stop. Each day, I get more and more steps, and eventually I start taking steps without needing to hold onto the rail. I’ve been working on getting better for two months, and every day I feel more and more confident that I could get back to soccer, and my neck is healing but not at as fast of a pace as my leg. I miss Galeian, but the old Galeian. Not the one who hates me.
It’s been two months since I visited Katnissa in the hospital. I’m less mad now, and I was going to visit her and tell her I’m sorry, but I don’t know how. I think and think, and I decide that I’m going to visit her in the hospital today and make it right. I tell my mom, and she tells me that that’s great, and we should totally do that. So we get in the car and head towards the hospital. The drive is 20 minutes long. When we get there, I go to room 302, and I don’t see her. I walk down the hallway to check if she’s anywhere else and see her walking with her physical therapist practicing trying to walk. She’s doing a pretty good job, and I’m happy for her.
“Hello, I’m really sorry for ignoring you. I was wrong,” I say as I walk up to her.
“Why were you doing that to me? It was very mean,” she responds angrily.
I say, “I was upset because I thought you told the interviewer something bad about me, and I had already had a very bad interview. Did you do that?”
“Absolutely not!” she says. “I would never do that. I wanted us both to be at the same school.”
“Really?” I say.
“Yeah,” she says, “I would never try to hurt you.”
“Will you forgive me?” I say.
“I don’t know. I was really hurt that you didn’t come see me, and I think that was wrong. We’re best friends. You shouldn’t give up on your best friend without even trying to make it right.”
“I’ll make it right. I’ll visit you more, and I promise that will never happen again. I’m really sorry,” I say.
She says, “I’ll forgive you, but you can’t do that again.”
I leave the hospital that day feeling very happy.
Galeian visited me today. He seemed really nice, and I’m happy he came. Like I said before, I don’t know if I can forgive him. What he did was really wrong, and I don’t like it. I think I will forgive him though. He has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. I can’t give up on him so easily. That would be just as mean as what he did to me. I can’t do that to him. Over the next few weeks, he visits me every day. And every day, he helps me walk a bit more than I did the day before. One day, I stop and tell him that it’s too hard, and I need to stop.
He tells me, “No, keep trying, keep going after it,” and I do.
I keep trying, and I keep working until I am allowed to stop physical therapy, as long as I keep taking walks with Galeian. So I realize that what I need is the promise that I can do it, that I’m not alone. And Galeian showed me that. So when he asks if I forgive him, I say yes.