Chapter 9: Ringtones
After the rush and excitement of the group high five, everyone just starts babbling away. Homework, television, some obscure thing someone had said yesterday being analyzed yet again, and why Collette needs to borrow Cynthia’s purple sparkly nail polish, are all topics tossed about in random order.
This big rush and jumble of craziness no longer slam into Ilona, but instead flows into her veins. For several minutes that seem to launch into multiple hours, this went on. A ringtone with a tune she recognizes hits her ear. Clara keeps giggling at whatever Susan has said, all while zipping her secret code onto her phone, unlocking it. She is about to click again when Ilona stops her.
“Please wait for a second, I love the Phineas and Ferb theme song.” Ilona is surprised she has even said that. The words just come out, like magic.
Clara never flinches, and raises the phone into the air between them, all while flipping some switch causing the volume to go up and up.
“My mom’s text can wait, cause Perry is forever!”
The song plays on and on, for another eternity of really a few minutes, with the two new friends just enjoying the moment.
When the last notes float out, Clara brings her phone back down to her and finally clicks on it.
“Gotta go, mother-unit is calling me back to the base ship.” Clara starts typing in a response while informing the others.
Jabbers of goodbyes and farewells pass around between the six, which pleases Ilona very much. Every part of her wants to stay and chat forever, but she knows piles of homework weigh down her back and chores galore await her time at home. All these items just seem like momentary distractions from the real excitement, getting back together with her new friends tomorrow. Her mind is already in that time period.
As the last words pass amongst them, Madison and Clara peel off in one direction, with arms and babbling flying away, with Ilona feeling like this is an everyday occurrence. Susan and Collette move off a different way, much quieter and engaging in a conversation that sounds a bit beyond Ilona.
As she is about to head out through the park, with the spread out clumps and groupings of other students scattered all around, all heading to the side streets full of low-rise apartment buildings, she senses a presence.
“Hello Ilona, mind if I walk with you?” Cynthia asks.
“Sure.” Ilona responds. Walking home alone today does not bother her, after the excitement of everything. She has no clue where her new friends live at all, but is fairly certain she has never seen Cynthia on her route. “But isn’t this out of your way?”
“Yes, but don’t worry. I have already texted my mother to pick me up on the street at the end of the park. Thought it would be good to talk.” Cynthia’s light voice creates a soothing feeling in Ilona, a situation that seemed to happen quite a bit this afternoon.
They trudge through the park, with banter and frivolity living between them. Another gentle reminder to start reading the book soon, all to not incur the playful wrath of Madison, came up. Ilona inquiring what television shows Cynthia watches, hoping for some common ground. By the time they reach the end of park, Cynthia sends out a quick text, informing her mother where she now was.
“It has been really great talking to you Ilona. I had a fun time.”
“Thank you, it was fun for me as well.”
Cynthia’s smartphone pipes in right at the end of their conversation. Right away, Ilona knew it was a ringtone featuring a song she recognizes, but this time could not quite name.
Cynthia has taken her phone from her pocket and is already glancing at the screen.
“That’s just my mother saying she will be here shortly. She is being generous and letting one of my older brothers drive. This should prove interesting.” She sounds so matter of factly yet again, just like earlier, about her family.
“Cynthia, do you mind if I ask you, what song is that ringtone? I know it, but can’t place it.” Ilona is purposefully being extra polite, just in case it is a private matter.
“I don’t mind Ilona. The song is called Amazing Grace. I picked it as the ringtone for my mother because it is her favourite song of all time. It is her. And she is the song”
Ilona loves the song and how it sounds, but has no idea what Cynthia is talking about. Not just because she has never met Cynthia’s mother, but also because she has no clue what the song means. Another mental note, this one marked even more urgent, is quickly bookmarked.
A blue mini-van rolls up beside them, all filled with smiling faces. Ilona could see one teen boy driving and two more teen boys in the backseats. They have pulled their attention away from their smartphones just as the van stops, and just as quickly went back to them. In the front passenger seat is a lady Ilona could tell, by the look and face and hair, is Cynthia’s mother. She immediately jumps out and envelops her daughter in a hug that lifts her off the ground.
“Sweetpea!” Her mother utters in the embrace.
“Mama!” Cynthia replies.
This whole spectacle feels so personal, so intense, that Ilona wishes she is not intruding. Her feet want to walk away from this private moment, but before the command can be executed, the hug breaks up.
“And you must be Ilona!”
Within a beat, Cynthia’s mother scoops up Ilona in a hug, raises her up off the ground, and just holds her for a few seconds. Only her own relatives have ever done this before. Now this loving stranger.
And Ilona does not mind at all.
Song For This Chapter: Today is gonna be a great day, the Phineas and Ferb theme song, by Bowling For Soup.
The Passport To The Wall is Copyright 2013 to Paul Riches
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First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.