Chapter 31: Changes Hit The Playground!
“SNOW! I LOVE SNOW! IT’S WONDERFUL! YEEHAA!” Madison shouts and jumps and plays in all the accumulated snow piled up around the schoolyard, seemingly untouched during the entire time of Christmas vacation.
“Well, Madison is back and in fine form I see,” Cynthia says, “I really think she missed bellowing in the schoolyard for the past few weeks.”
“Can you blame her?” Collette laughs, “If she let loose like this in her backyard, the authorities would show up in an instant.”
“But we really should corral her over,” Clara says, fiddling with her smartphone, “We gotta show off to each other all the cool stuff we scored!”
Ilona steps forward and smiles at her friends.
“I’ll go get her. I think I have learned how to manipulate and control the primal force that is Maddie.”
Collette quickly high fives Ilona.
“Way to go with the big words! Someone got a dictionary for Christmas!”
“Nope,” Ilona laughs, “I have just been reading a metric ton of good books lately!”
“Metric ton?” Susan shakes her head, “that’s the kind of talk that hurts my braincells.”
Ilona giggles and turns to gather Madison, who is now throwing snow around and dancing to some song playing on her ipod. As she gets closer, her ears picks up Madison humming along to whatever she is listening to. Ilona could not quite place it at first, then realizes the words “Freeze Ray” come to her lips.
“I take it is laundry day?” Ilona asks, deftly dodging the snow Madison is heaving to and fro.
Madison swirls around in a strange, awkward, made up ballerina move and sees Ilona standing before her.
“DUUUUUUDETTE!” Madison shouts blindingly close to Ilona’s face, “EVERY DAY IS LAUNDRY DAY!”
“Your music is so loud from your ipod, how in Hogwarts name did you hear me?” Ilona asks.
“BECAUSE I AM THE MIGHTY MADDIE! AND ONE EAR BUD POPPED OUT WHILE I WAS DANCING!” Madison shouts and clutches Ilona by her shoulders, shaking her laughing friend. “KABOOM IN THREE! THREE! TWO! ONE!”
Ilona and Madison jump into the air at the same moment, letting loose with a massive slap from a high five that echoes through the chaotic playground, and filling the skies with their combined voices striking out with one powerful word.
Both land back on the snow covered ground, falling into a hug, giggling uncontrollably.
“We have to go to the wall,” Ilona barely huffs out, “We have to show off our gifts,” she continues wheezing.
“Out of breath,” Madison sputters, “from a simple kaboom,” she points at Ilona, “you are such a Muggle.”
“Guilty as charged,” Ilona says, finally catching her breath, and leads Madison back over to the wall and their friends.
“I think Josh heard that all the way at high school,” Clara states, fiddling with her smartphone, “and I saw that kaboom coming, so I took a quick picture, which is now going to be all over the interwebs.”
Susan is busy setting up her laptop in Cynthia’s arms, which Ilona notices looks very new and shiny, and shakes her head. “Just what the universe needs, more Maddie infecting it.” She smiles.
Cynthia addresses the group.
“Okay everyone gather around. I gathered all the pictures people sent me of their Christmas gifts, and did google image searches for those of us without digital cameras, all to put together this collage set to music. Susan, will you do the honours?”
Susan pulls out of her pocket a sonic screwdriver, flips it on producing a loud buzzing with bright blue light, then reaches over with it and gently pokes the enter button on the keyboard. As the music slowly builds, she quickly puts her device away.
Ilona and her friends see the graphic titled “Merry Christmas!” play across the screen and hear the kooky lyrics “Jingle bells, Batman smells,” swell out from the computer.
Images of electronics and books and gift cards and chocolates and clothes dazzle across their eyes.
Oohs and awws and comments and jibs and wows bounces in the air between their ears.
“That. Was. Awesome!” Clara declares.
“Indeed, excellent job Cynthia,” Collette states and gives an approving nod.
“Thank you all. But as Madison would paraphrase, That’s Not All Folks! Susan, will you do the honours again?” Cynthia says.
“With pleasure again.”
Susan goes down to her backpack and pulls out two laptops. She hands one to Ilona and one to Collette.
“Cynthia and I received for Christmas brand new laptops, one of which you can see here. We discussed this with our parents and decided to give our old laptops away to friends who could use them. And you two were the most obvious choices.”
Ilona stares down, wide eyed, at the laptop now living in her hands. The slight scruffs and occasional dings are barely noticed by her, but the gleam of the white surface and the beauty of the sleek design entrances her. Her vision of this new and lovely device becomes cloudy as Ilona suddenly realizes tears are forming in her eyes.
“Thank you, thank you so much,” she manages to squeak out as more tears form, “this is so wonderful and… and…”
Ilona feels the laptop press up against her chest as Cynthia’s arms wrap around her. A small hug, with hands gently comforting her back, fills Ilona with love. “It is alright Ilona. It is alright,” Cynthia whispers in her ear.
As they slowly pull apart, Cynthia gives Ilona some tissues from her jacket pocket. “My mother always tells me to carry tissues, now I know why.”
Wiping away her tears, Ilona looks over at Collette.
Grasping her laptop in a bear hug, tears also streaming down her face, Collette is being held lightly by her best friend forever Susan. As they break apart as well, Collette glances over at Ilona and their eyes meet and they smile.
“If you want, my father can soup up your laptop for you? Make it really sing?” Collette asks, reaching out a hand to Ilona.
“That would be amazing, thank you.” Ilona replies, taking Collette’s hand.
They both look over as the sound of zips and zaps and bings greet them.
Realizing that Susan had handed her shiny new laptop to Clara to hold, they see her and Madison working the controls and staring intently at the screen. Noticing being noticed, Clara and Madison look up.
“What? While you all were getting all mushy and such, we started playing Space Invaders,” Clara says.
The school bell, not heard in weeks and the first of the new year, jars the friends and snaps them back to the reality of the playground. Everyone gathers their bags, laptops new and old, and the occasional errant scarf, and start piling into lines and entering SummerFall. Goodbyes till recess are exchanged in the hallways and the friends split into their respective classrooms.
Ilona, Susan and Clara cross through the doorway and immediately stop.
A completely different teacher is greeting the class.
Song For This Chapter: My Freeze Ray by Joss Whedon
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.