Chapter 3: Daring To Be Daring
The dream seems to not end in the morning. When the alarm brings Ilona to wakefulness, she finds the book is sitting gently on her side table. This seems odd and dreamlike to her. How could this be? Opening the cover, she sees a note scrawled inside:
I went out last night after you had gone to sleep and picked this up for you. We knew it was important to you and we really hope you enjoy it. You deserve this happiness.
With Much Love,
Mumma and Poppa
P.S. Do not forget your lunch in the fridge.
Ilona had not called her parents those pet names in such a long long time. The memory of that past sit still with her for a few moments, causing the cherished book, still existing in her hands, to be forgotten. Ilona’s staring straight ahead into nothingness halts when the weight of the book is suddenly reminded to her. Snapping her head down, she finally takes in the cover, feel, and texture of this wonderment. A squeal of crazed happiness erupts from every pore, which combines with a frantic thrashing of legs, sends her bed sheets flying about. Finishing with a deep breath, Ilona leans her head gently forward and kisses the book. “I love you,” she whispers, still smiling.
The rest of the morning is filled with Ilona’s usual routine, all while inhabiting the empty apartment. Her parents always left early, which she had been used to for years. Moving at top speed, she consumes breakfast, gets dressed, does her teeth, and completely brushes and checks her dark hair in order to look good and proper for today. The first day of the rest of her life. Making sure she has her lunch, a task she has never missed in all this time, she stops at the door for one last check. Is the book in her bag? Yes it is. Yes it is. Yes it is. Five more checks are done, with almost compulsive attention to detail, but she has to be sure. Finally feeling satisfied, she exits the apartment for the last time as the Ilona of old. “Goodbye” she smiles to walls of her home. They fail to reply.
The walk to school seems brighter and sunnier. The playground looks happier than ever before. The classroom smells like hope.
All feels new and fresh this morning, but as the clock pounds closer to the zero hour called lunch, Ilona is feeling dread. Would she allow herself to do this? Would the old her willingly let itself expire? Her nerves start to be shot, causing perspiration to swell inside. When the time comes for food, Ilona is herded with her class to the large cavernous gymnasium. Everyone sits in groupings and couplings but her. Eating away leftover stew, with miles seemingly separating her from the rest of life, Ilona never looks up. The stew consumes her attention. Concentrate on this, just get through the stew, and everything will be okay.
With lunch done, Ilona and the rest of the mass of children leave the cavernous gym and get ready to pile outside and experience sunshine. Ilona pulls the book from her backpack and quickly hides it in the crook of her arm. She does not want the world to know of her plan in case it decides to mock her. Within scant minutes, everyone is in the open air and resuming their play from the day before. The gathering of girls strides with their usual purpose to the long wall of brick and mortar. All line up, then settle in quite nicely, the five book lovers withdraw their copies and open to wherever they each left off at. Smiles abound amongst them. All from love and companionship and the written word together.
All is as Ilona has left it just the other day. It feels as if nothing has happened, nothing has changed, all is as it was. Ilona knows different. She has the book now, nestled with what seems like a massive weight, which calls to her attention and it wants a response. Ilona had to finally make a decision.
New her with the book. Old her with nothing.
Ilona pulls the book out from under her arm and stares once more at its cover. It is daring, to use this book as her passport to the wall. Would they accept it? Would they welcome her shared thirst for this piece of imagination as entrance to their universe? She is so lonely, so very lonely, and for the first time ever that wicked thought crosses the surface of her being. It is always there, for such a very long time, but never openly acknowledged. This yearning hatched this impossible plan, and now, on the cusp of finally curing her despair, she realizes what it is she is truly after.
Friends. People to love her. People for her to love. Someone to hug. Someone to high five. An end to the pain. It aches inside.
This would cure this. Using the book as an instrument, she would solve so many things. The pain told her she has to move forward and use the passport.
As she continues staring at the book, and the world around her disappears into a fog of noise, her left foot shoots forward with precision and determination. Her right leg follows like a good soldier. The mission to the new Ilona is marching towards the wall, the girls, and destiny.
Within seconds Ilona has met the wall and is standing next to the blonde girl sitting on the one end of the club. She has a name which Ilona is unaware of, but that detail did not matter as she, and the rest of them following suit, all look up from their readings with inquisitive faces to see who the visitor is. Holding out the book towards their collective gazes, she utters a line she never thought would ever come out of her.
“Can I join you?” Ilona smiles, hoping the terror inside would not explode.
They all look at her passport, look at her, and then all smile in unison.
“Of course dudette!” exclaims the girl at the other end, who proceeds to wave hello to her. It is the first time a friend has ever waved at Ilona. “You can sit done right next to Clara,” she says pointing to the blonde next to Ilona. She immediately scrambles to the ground and pushes her back up next to the wall. Her elbow touches Clara’s arm while doing this and Ilona hopes she does not mind.
Clara doesn’t seem to notice and instead pipes into the conversation. “How far are you into the first one?” she inquires while glancing at the book in Ilona’s hand.
“I haven’t started yet,” she admits.
Song For This Chapter: Bring It On by Seal.
The Passport To The Wall is Copyright 2013 to Paul Riches
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First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.