Jocelyn Summers and Nadine Hart weren’t always close. There were those 4 years in which one had not known the other. And come to think of it... those 4 years hadn’t been the most pleasant. Or the most anything for that matter - except for the most lonely.
Thinking back to those years Jocelyn couldn’t remember a true “happy” birthday or a friend who could have in any way been what Nadine now meant to her. Everything. And whether other people understood it or not, the two didn’t care. Because all that needed to be cared for was one another.
From age 4 (when they met), there wasn’t a single birthday spent alone. Not one solitaire picture. And this was hardly ever a negative thing. By the time that the two were 5 and entered kindergarten, more children were added to the picture. But one thing remained the same. Both Jocelyn and Nadine sat side by side no matter what the circumstance.
All that their parents could fathom was that it was just a phase. The sleepovers every other weekend and infatuation. And they were right. Sleepovers became taking place every weekend, and infatuation turned into love for one another. True. Friendly. Love. And that was the best part. They hardly ever fought because there was never a reason to, and the final F in “B-F-F” was very much implied.
Forever. I don’t want to explain that aspect of it now, but it truly was. To the last second. And no one could ever take that away from them. Never.
And on this particular Saturday, they weren’t playing truth or dare. They weren’t sharing every intimate secret in which could be spilled. Jocelyn was holding Nadine’s hair. She had the flu.
Sure. Go ahead and ask why Nadine’s parents weren’t the ones holding a bowl in front of her face. There is an answer. The audition was on Monday. You know. That audition that at some point comes up in every girl’s life. The one that seems ever so more important than all of the others. The unmistakable status which could be acquired if she got it.
Jocelyn wasn’t sick, but she sure wanted to be after watching what one orange Tic Tac had done to the color of the vomit which was pouring off of Nadine’s chin. She grabbed the towel which had been white in its past lifetime, and was now becoming an orange sort of shade and handed it gently to Nadine.
Nadine had a sweet sense of humor which could pierce through any hard situation. There wasn’t much that she couldn’t brighten up. But this was one of them. She tried to laugh off the fact that she had gotten some of her puke on Jocelyn’s hand... but Jocelyn wasn’t laughing with her. Nadine knew that Jocelyn wasn’t upset over the orange gew that was on her fingertips, but she knew that she was angry about the lying.
Nadine had always been a lier. Not in a bad sense. But she'd always had secrets kept safe from her parents and everyone else in the world that only Jocelyn knew about. No - she wasn’t pregnant, anorexic, or doing drugs. She just felt as if people didn’t need to know everything about her. And she would always be that way.
Secrets like her favorite color. Or that she secretly hated chocolate. And even the fact that she had the flu. Things that her parents and other people would probably want to know, and should know... but it was the simple things that she valued the most. Simplicity was everything to her, which is why she hated this time in her life.
Being at age fifteen had never seemed like it would be in any way fun, but she never realized all of the hardships that age came with. Sure, looking back on past years in our life, some feel easier than others, but in general, they all seem easier than they really were. This year would be one of them.
Nadine liked to keep intricate people and ideas out of her life. This is why by choice, she only had one real friend, used a plain white bed spread, and was fond of her stick straight hair. She felt as if having multiple friends would cause dramatic scenes, and she only needed one. Jocelyn.
Jocelyn, on the other hand, had friends everywhere. Nowhere near as close to her as Nadine was, but just someone to talk to and get caught up in silly conversations with when there was a boring moment - which hardly ever happened.
Nadine went to the same school as Jocelyn, which both complicated and improved their relationship. They could talk about the same people, study together, and spend more time with each other, but it also established small arguments over one friend liking a girl whom the other hated. These instances were settled with something that Nadine had decided on long ago. Simplistic and small, the toss of a coin. Nadine was heads and Jocelyn tails.
As was said, they really only had each other, so when it came to lunch time, no one else was included in their conversation. They sat in the handicapped stall in the bathroom and ate their lunches while talking about everyone else behind their backs. No, they were not “popular” or in any way better than anyone else, but face it. All girls talk about each other. Nothing can stop it.
And once Nadine was done with a lapse of vomit spilling from her throat, she randomly mentioned Sarah Rollins. “Do we like her?”, Nadine asked.
Jocelyn stared out the window of the bathroom and answered, “I’m not really sure. She isn’t mean, but there is just something sort of ‘off’ about her. I don’t know what. You know what I mean?”
“Yeah. There is. That’s why I asked. She wanted to do that history project with me, but I told her that I already had plans and was going to do it alone.”
“Oh, I see,” Jocelyn stopped for a second and then said, “Well I guess if you need a partner for the project, then you can do it with her. I don’t really care. Just don’t invite her to sit with us at lunch.”
“I don’t like her. She’s just annoying and weird. Plus, I already asked Mr. Jones if I could do the project alone, and he agreed. But you don’t always have to bring up that one time when I invited...” Nadine had more to say, but already had started to hurl chunky vomit into the toilet. Jocelyn gripped her hair, and then flushed the filled toilet.
Nadine started to finish her interrupted sentence, when Jocelyn cut her off and said, “I know. But it just made me really angry. I don’t know why.”
Jocelyn was referring to the time when Nadine had invited Anne Ferns to eat lunch with them because she was doing a long-term English project with Jocelyn and herself. That had been what sacrificed their bench.
The two’d had a bench that they regularly sat at when they ate lunch everyday. It was just the two of them. No, they didn’t force people away from the bench - which is why they had to move. Anne Ferns had been invited by Nadine to sit with them for one day, and then she started sitting with them every day.
Jocelyn had always been kind hearted, and didn’t want to have to ask Anne to stop sitting with them, so she concluded that Nadine and herself would now eat lunch in the handicapped stall. There were no handicapped kids, so there was no reason not to. Except for the smell. It was not so terrible, but the fact that they were in the middle of eating was a good reason to cringe a little bit. But they dealt with it.
In Macy’s they give out mini perfume samples, and since the girls were big on going to the mall, they would gather all of the free samples that they could get without looking stingy. These would suffice for the change of smell in the bathroom.
Nadine looked up at Jocelyn, and said, “I think I’m feeling better now. At least for a little while.”
Jocelyn nodded, and set the towel down on the bathroom counter. The tiles were normally white, but the window was stained glass, and the blue and yellow squares were reflecting on the tile. The sun was coming up.
And since the girls had been in the bathroom since 4:30 AM, they were happy to see some source of light that wasn’t artificial. Nadine followed Jocelyn into her own room, where Jocelyn plopped herself onto the bed. She was so comfortable here. Even though Nadine’s room had been changed so many times, it was still home.
To the right was the pillow she had stuffed her face into when Collin Gades had dumped her. The blanket below her was the one that was still stained from her first time getting her monthly gift. And the painting above her was the one that she had made with Nadine in the second grade.
Everything else was either related to her in some way, or she had previously left her mark on. Nadine sat beside her, and softly asked, “Do you remember that time when Tommy Adriano got me into trouble?”
Jocelyn could sense that Nadine was trying to lighten the mood, but didn’t mind, so she answered, “Do you mean the time when you got yourself into trouble?”
Nadine had expected that Jocelyn would respond that way, and said, “Yes. Well I was thinking about it, and it was actually your fault.”
“My fault?”, Jocelyn questioned in reply.
Nadine smiled. It really had been Jocelyn’s fault. She hadn’t given Tommy Adriano the answers to the Spanish quiz, so later that day, when Jocelyn had gotten up to get her pencil sharpened, she got her pay back.
Tommy pulled the chair out from under her when she sat down, but what he hadn’t intended to do was this...
... Tommy had ceased to pull the chair out far enough to make her fall on the ground. Instead, she fell on the rounded leg of the chair, and forced herself to hold back tears and pure anger for the rest of the class. She excused herself to go to the bathroom, and what she missed when she was gone was in one word - “golden”.
None of the other students besides Nadine had noticed what Tommy had done. So Nadine, being the confident girl that she was, decided that it was his turn to be humiliated.
He was already sitting, so the pulling the chair out from under him option was unavailable. But that didn’t mean that the revenge couldn’t have to do with his chair...
Nadine decided that rather than pulling the chair out from under him, she would pull him out from under the chair. Nadine was smaller than the other girls, but she was sure strong.
She walked over to his desk which had been neighboring Jocelyn’s, and asked with her sweet and small voice, “Tommy...?”
He looked up at her and replied, “Yeah”.
“Can I borrow a pencil?”
While Tommy was rummaging through his backpack and had his back to her, she took hold of one of his muddy shoes, and pulled it forward taking his body with it. He gasped in surprise - but Nadine wasn’t done yet. She took the chair that he’d been sitting on and mounted it on top of him.
What Nadine hadn’t remembered to add into the equation was Mrs. Steele. Unlike Tommy, she didn’t have the type of talent that would allow her to be quiet and fast. She had been suspended for two days, and Jocelyn had ditched school and stayed home with her. After all, her butt hurt like hell, and she had an odd shaped bruise from the leg of the chair.
Nadine had finished recapping the story, when Jocelyn asked, “So how was that my fault?”
Nadine smugly answered, “If only someone had just given him the answers to the quiz...”
Just a girl...