Somehow. It’s how things start. It’s how I got a volcano zit at the tip of my nose. It’s how I got into playing the violin. It’s how Mrs. Talula expects us to ace “Perseus,” the super-hard fun piece by an awesome composer called Soon Hee Newbold.
How did this woman ever come up with such an impossible piece! I thought, referring to the composer I just mentioned.
The answer was simple. Somehow.
OK, fine. Somehow sprinkled with skill, I guess. A lot of skill.
At the back of the first-violin section where I sat, I had a great eye view of the orchestra. The cellos at the far left corner, the bass at the back, the violas next by, the second-violins in the center, and us first-violins right in the far right corner.
Saige Porter, who was one of our two bass players, moved thoroughly with the music. Her silky light-brown hair swished as she moved. I see a lot, especially since she goes to my church and Pathfinders.
Saige had always been a bit of a nerd. But she was nice, and everyone admired and respected her. One of my sort of friends. She was probably the nicest girl in Bradlake, and probably had the most friends, besides Lilian Wesley.
Lilian is the most beautiful girl in Bradlake Middle. She moved here in the seventh grade, and being so shockingly pretty, everyone was obsessed with her. Even the popular kids. So Mia DeLane, the most popular girl in school, stole her and sat her in the popular group.
“She’s a puppet,” says my best friend, Trinity Daniels.
I don’t think she is. Trinity has always had a big imagination.
“Caddie, can you please hurry up? I need to shower and dress for church too!” I pounded on the bathroom door that Sabbath.
“Just a sec,” Caddie called back. “I’m brushing my hair!”
I glanced at my watch. “Well, you better hurry ‘cause it’s nine thirty-eight. We don’t want to be late for church!”
“Wait, Aspen!” she sighed.
I pictured Cadenza, who is fifteen, brushing her long, dark wavy hair with her swirly pink and gold Wet Brush. She looks just like the pictures of Mom as a teenager. Dark wavy hair, slender, rosy cheeks, you name it. All her features are Mom’s.
My little sister Ginny, who is eleven, looks like my dad for her golden-red hair and rosy cheeks splashed with freckles, yet has musty gray eyes and curly hair.
Daddy says I look like his biological mother. Slightly wavy strawberry-blond hair and vibrant teal eyes and millions of freckles. “And sunny like an Aspen tree in the fall,” he always says.
If you have not seen aspen trees in the fall, the bark is sort of an off-white, and black streaks paint it like a new canvass, and the leaves are a bright gold.
Ginny nudges me. “Tell Caddie to hurry up! I need to change!”
I shoot Ginny a knowing look. “I just told her to.”
Ginny rolled her eyes.
I love how she expresses herself. So loud and evident, if you know what I mean. You never fail to recognize her facial expressions behind her bobbing curls and mysteriously smokey eyes. And that inky humor. She really isn’t your typical eleven-year-old.
I watched as Ginny pulled out a leaf of paper from her notebook and scribbled:
Hurry up, Cheerio!
She and I giggled as we slipped the piece of paper under the door. It had been years since anyone had called Caddie “Cheerio.” And Caddie hated being called that.
“Virginia Carnelian Noel!” Caddie scolded, cracking the door open. I took that chance and slipped inside. “Aspen Camilla Noel! I still have to finish brushing my hair!”
“It’s nine forty-two! Sabbath School starts at ten thirty and Ginny’s still in her PJs!” I locked the door with Caddie out.
It’s kind of hard to sit still in church.
On a hard pew.
When the sermon was supposed to end twelve minutes ago, at twelve thirty.
When you find out that your dress suddenly got too short when it fit you fine last month.
And when you are wondering how you are going to do Pastor Peter’s youth challenge for the year.
The scene replayed in my mind several times.
“What are we doing next,” I had whispered to Trinity.
“Good question,” she nodded, eyeing the bright red dollar store bucket Pastor Peter was pulling out.
And then came the paper slips. Pastor Peter asked the class to write a good serious challenge for the year as a Sabbath School class resolution.
I think I wrote:
Feeding the homeless and stuff 🙂
Which, of course, is humiliatingly lame and dorky. Don’t you see? I have no creativity.
Then we turned them in, and the teachers checked to see if anyone put something stupid or profane. Once all was checked, Pastor Peter dumped all the acceptable slips (some of them were redone) into the buckets and then had everyone pick one out. Then that was our challenge.
Trinity got one that said:
Read a chapter a day of your Bible
And she scoffed because she had been doing the exact same thing.
I poked her and started unfolding my paper.
And to my dismay, it said:
Challenge for the year, bring someone to Christ.
I so wanted to trade slips with Trinity, but Pastor Peter made it clear that trading slips was not permitted.
So I sat on a hard pew, hungry and sleepy, waiting for the sermon to end, and with a suddenly too-short dress, pondering. About the piece of paper tucked deep in my bag.
I would do it. That’s for sure. I just didn’t know how.
Oh, wait, I did.