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Rhonda’s Spring Break-Personal Narrative

It was the smell of food that woke me up. When I looked at the clock, I realized I’d been allowed to sleep in until almost noon. The previous night’s nightmare felt like a dream within a dream. I could hear Hannah and Rhonda talking in the kitchen so I slipped away and into the bathroom. The thought of a shower sounded better than the food smelled which was saying a lot. When I walked out into the living room, they were sitting down eating grilled cheese. Hannah looked tired and a flood of guilt hit me. Even tired, though, her smile was bright. “Before you ask, I called the school and told them you were sick.

I’ve already got an excuse written. ” It didn’t even hit me that it was Thursday until she said that. “I’m sorry about last night. ” “It’s not your fault,” Hannah replied. “There’s a sandwich in the kitchen for you. ” I smiled weakly and wandered into the kitchen to get my sandwich. As I sat down I looked at her and said, “I’m not a victim. I am an individual that needs to take responsibility for my own thoughts, feelings, and choices. ” Hannah scoffed. “Mac, taking a sermon or a piece of scripture and twisting it to make your child feel inadequate or ashamed is not okay. It’s emotional manipulation.

You may not be a victim in the traditional sense, but you are a victim of people who didn’t think about the impact of their choices. ” “It’s like I said last night. How can I escape a prison that I’ve designed? ” “Sweetie, you have people that are going to saw at those bars until you are free. ” Rhonda nibbled on a bare pancake. “I’m way too lazy for sawing. I think I’m just going to back a semi up to the bars, hook a chain to them, and floor it. ” The image of that flashed through my head and I chuckled. Wild-eyed Rhonda wielding a large truck. Scary. “Okay, so I’ve been thinking,” Rhonda spoke up.

The Friday date night is still on. ” I started to protest. She put a finger to her lips to shush me. “We go on the date, and see if Jay can help us find out some information. I think his talents could come in handy. It’s a good way for us to test the waters and see if we can trust him. ” She was right. “I was thinking dinner and a movie. ” I stiffened noticeably. “What’s wrong? ” Rhonda asked. “I’ve never been to a theater, remember? ” She nodded. I relaxed. “There’s a first time for everything. ” She smiled proudly at me. “That’s my little authority challenger. ” I rolled my eyes.

I spent the day working on assignments. My goal was to be completely done until after Spring Break. Most of the homework took moments. When I finished my math, I handed it to Rhonda. I felt I owed her for last night. Then I started on the speech for Daphne. Rhonda had trouble understanding why I was working so hard for her since she’d been such a jerk. I had some theories about Daphne that I’d been bouncing around in my brain. They weren’t fully cooked, so I thought it best to keep them to myself for a while longer. Seamus and Hannah were on their way out to run errands when Alex stopped by right after school.

He and I sat on the couch while Rhonda took her usual spot in the chair facing us. “She had a nightmare last night,” Rhonda said. I squeezed my eyes shut. There was no doubt in my mind that she was going to tell on me, but a small part of me had hoped she wouldn’t. “Have you ever thought about taking control of the nightmare? ” he asked. “No, I hadn’t, but that’s a good idea. ” “I have flashes of brilliance. ” He smiled. “How do I do that? ” I asked. “It’s your dream. No one can control those, but you. If you catch yourself in a situation you don’t like, just take control. I’ve never thought about it like that. ”

“Maybe it’s time you did,” Rhonda said. Alex’s visit was a short one. His host family wasn’t feeling very host-like with Alex gone all the time so he went home to spend time with them. It was kinda nice having some time alone with Rhonda. Our conversation would drift from topic to topic. Rhonda perked up when I asked about her brother. Robbie was in the Air Force. He was stationed in Germany as a member of the Air Mobility Command. She told me he was a pilot and he transported patients. “Was it weird when he left? ” I asked. She shrugged. “At first.

We were really close, but after he left I took it as an opportunity to stop being Robbie’s little sister. ” “I was either five or six when my parents started asking if I wanted a brother or sister. ” Rhonda seemed surprised by that admission. “They stopped shortly after that. I’d ask about it, but they’d just say that they wanted to concentrate on loving me. ” Rhonda nodded. “They were afraid of another gifted kid. ” “Right. ” Rhonda glanced at me. “So, girl to girl, you really think Jay likes me or you think he’s just trying to find a way to go on a date with you? ”

“I hope he’s smarter than that. You’d hope, but with boys, you can never be sure,” she said, giggling. “True, but I think he likes you. He’s not acting the same way he was. I mean he was invading my personal space and being all flirty. I think he traded up. ” She elbowed me. “Don’t be so self-deprecating. You don’t give yourself enough credit. ” I laid back with my hands behind my head. “I feel so out of place most of the time. ” “Well, you are. ” “Thanks. ” “No, that’s not what I mean. What I mean is, you aren’t like everyone else and that’s kind of a good thing. I think it’s why God called you to be what you are.

She copied me by laying down. “I just wish I was normal. ” “Are you kidding? No way! Normal is boring. ” “Normal doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night screaming. ” “Normal doesn’t stop jerks from selling kids either. ” “Point received. ” She rolled her head and looked at me. “I win. ” I picked up a pillow and smacked her with it. When Friday night finally arrived, Rhonda and I were beyond excited. Alex showed up looking like an Australian cowboy with his plaid shirt, jeans, and boots. All he needed was a cowboy hat to complete the picture. Wow. Earlier in the week, we’d all nixed the theater idea.

So when we picked up Jay we headed to Jimmy’s Pub in Summerville to eat and play pool. When we got there we headed to a booth in the back and staked our claim for the night. Rhonda ordered something for us to share and the boys each got burgers. I discovered a new love that night: fried pickles. “So, how did you get into computers? ” Alex asked. “Ever since I was little I liked all things electronic. Computers were a natural thing for me. I’m ADHD which is why I have such a hard time in Biology. I don’t mind the dissecting, but all the other stuff is just boring. ” He looked at me and smiled.

Did you have a class with me at the beginning of the year? ” Alex asked. “Oh, that’s right, I did. We had Social Studies together. ” Alex laughed. “Did I scare you off? ” Jay laughed right along with him. “No, I switched classes. My counselor got me into this computer coding class. Good thing too, I’d probably be failing Social Studies. ” I was impressed. “That’s really cool. ” Jay nodded toward the pool tables. “How about we play some pool? ” We all agreed and moved to the pool table closest to our table. Jay wanted to play 8-ball. “You and I can be a team. ” Jay smiled at Rhonda. Rhonda looked at me. “Um, I want Mac on my team.

You know, guys versus girls. ” Alex narrowed his eyes at Rhonda. “Right. We’ll let Jay shoot first. ” He then turned to me. “You’ll shoot last. ” Jay looked at Rhonda and Alex with a funny look on his face. “Why don’t we let one of the girls go first? ” Alex puts his hand on Jay’s shoulder. “Just trust me on this one, man. ” “Okay,” Jay said as he racked the balls on the table. “Since we’re playing a casual game we don’t have to call shots until the last one. Agreed? ” We all agreed, and Jay took the first shot and a striped ball fell into a pocket. On his next shot, he wasn’t as lucky and it was Rhonda’s turn.

It was obvious as soon as she stepped up to the table that Rhonda couldn’t play pool. Her turn ended rather quickly when the cue ball shot off the side of the table. She made a face and handed me her pool cue. Alex went next, he was pretty proud of himself when he sunk two balls in a row. I think his confidence got him because when he tried for the third ball he sunk one of the solids. It was my turn. With the pool cue in hand, I walked around the table to study the balls left then I stepped up to the table and took my shot. I sank two then walked around to the other side and sunk another one. Jay’s mouth dropped.

No way. You’ve played pool before! ” I shook my head and laughed. “No. ” Jay was beyond flustered at this point. “I guess I know why you went last. ” He looked at Rhonda. Rhonda raised her hands. “Don’t look at me. I don’t understand either. ” I shrugged, walked to the corner of the table and took my third shot. “I just have good aim. ” I’d set it up pretty well to sink the last three balls with one shot. “8-ball, side pocket off the rail,” I said, and tapped the cue. “What are you? ” Jay asked incredulously. “When I figure it out I’ll let you know. ” Alex stood, came over, and put an arm around me.

Rhonda turned to Jay. “We need to talk. ” That was signal for me and Alex to give them a moment so we went back to the booth. He draped his arm over my shoulder, and I leaned my head again him. “Can I ask you something? ” “Sure. ” “When do you go back to Australia? ” He paused long enough that I began to wonder if he was going to answer me. “For now, about a week after school gets out. ” “What does that mean? ” “It means I’m working on a way to stay. ” I sat up and looked at him. “I understand if you can’t. It’s not that it won’t hurt, but I’ll understand. ” Alex started twisting a piece of my hair around his finger.

The only way I’m leaving is if I take you with me. ” I hated to rain on his determined parade. “You do realize that we are only sixteen. My parents may have something to say about that. ” Alex sat back. “Yeah, I’ve thought about that. Like I said I’m working on it. ” “Working on what? ” Rhonda plopped down in the booth. She slid over to let Jay sit down. “His flight back down under,” I said. Rhonda made an “oh” face. Jay raised his hand like he needed permission to speak. “I need to apologize to you,” he said, looking at me. “No, you don’t. ” “Yes, I do. I was just caught off guard. ”

I shrugged. “It’s okay. I seem to catch a lot of people off guard. ” “I have some questions though and I apologize in advance if they’re too personal. ” “Shoot,” I said playfully. “Nice, thanks,” he said. “Anyway, you seem to breeze through classes, you don’t talk like anyone else, and sometimes in class, it’s like you know more than the teacher. Are you like a prodigy or something? ” I had no idea Jay was that observant. Jay continued. “When I was interested in you, I asked some friends to find out more about you, you know? Like reconnaissance so I knew where to take you or whatever.

My buddy in your history class said you schooled the teacher so bad that he made you leave one day. ” Aw, man. Rhonda looked at Alex, then at me. Great.? I folded my arms on the table and leaned forward on them. Here goes I guess. “Well, you know I was homeschooled right? ” They all three nodded. Jay had done his homework on me. “When you are homeschooled, there are tests you have to take before you can enter public school. So, when my parents agreed to let me start high school, I actually tested out of high school. ” Rhonda shook her head.

“Wait. ” She held both hands up. “Slow down. ” Jay looked at her. You didn’t know that? ” “Uh, no,” Rhonda said. He looked at Alex. “Nope. ” Rhonda looked dumbfounded. “So why are you even in high school? ” “I was fourteen when I took the test. There was no way they would let me go to college,” I said. Alex leaned forward on his elbows. “And your dad let you go to public school? ” “No, somehow my mom talked him into it. To this day, I have no idea how. ” They were quiet for a moment. Jay laughed. “So does this mean that I can copy your biology again? ” He had this big cheesy grin. I rolled my eyes. “No. ” We spent the remainder of the night joking and talking.

I thought dancing was fun, but sitting at a table with people I trusted, talking and having fun was the best. Jay was sweet, articulate, and well versed in all things computer. When we told him about what was going on at the terminal port his face went slack. Once he recovered, he was absolutely on board with stopping the jerks selling that were kids. He said he’d work on getting the video feed from Moore office. It was an answer to prayer. It was a little before midnight when Alex dropped us off at home. Hannah stayed up waiting for us. After giving her a hug, I headed to my room while Rhonda started telling her about Jay.

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