Our power was restored after a week, and soon, life went back to normal. It was still a little chilly out, but by March fifteen, the weather started leveling up. Like, yes, it was still in the forties and fifties, but, no, it didn’t go below zero.
Lilian, so far, hadn’t gotten a chance to go to Pathfinders. It was a little disappointing, but we agreed that somehow, we’d make it happen.
“It’s just that my Mom doesn’t want me getting into this ‘religious stuff,’” Lilian sighed. “It’s not like I’m getting all religious or anything, it’s just something I want to check out.”
Saige nodded. “Hey, sometime we will.”
“Promise?” Lilian stuck out her pinkie.
“Promise,” Saige and I agreed in unison, hooking onto Lilian’s pinkie.
Lilian beamed. “Somehow!”
The time for Pathfinders actually came rather unexpectedly. It was the last Thursday of the month…
“Pack up!” Mrs. Talula instructed.
Saige looked relieved as she made her way to her huge bass hard-case. “Finally!”
Lilian and I giggled. “Step two: find a way to push that mammoth out the door,” Lilian joked.
“Come o-o-on,” Saige drawled. “It’s not that bad. And besides, I don’t have to balance anything on my shoulder!”
“You are aware that you have to stand for the whole eight minute and twenty-seven seconds, right,” I teased.
Saige rolled her eyes. “You guys are so…”
Lilian giggled, raising her eyebrows. “‘So’ what?”
“So fun,” Saige concluded. “You guys are so fun!”
“Speaking of fun,” I said. “Can you guys come over at five today to practice at my house? I know that Saige doesn’t live too far. Right in my neighborhood. How about you, Lilian?”
Just a note, we’ve never really practiced at each other’s houses. Just parks and stuff when the weather agreed.
“We-e-ell,” Lilian thought for a moment. “I live in Nutmeg Groves right by Saddlehorn Street.”
“Saddlehorn,” Saige said thoughtfully. “Saddlehorn. Right! But that’s like a ten minute drive from Oak Ridge, where we live!”
“My babysitter can take me. She might not mind!” Lilian reasoned. “Hey, I’ll try.”
“I’m sure it’s fine with my mom,” I said. By now we were helping Saige hoist her bass down the stairs. “Saige, this is unsustainable. Your bass weighs a ton. Next time, the elevator!”
I now directed my conversation towards practicing. “So I’ll check with my mom and see how things go, OK?”
“Sur-r-re,” Lilian said, checking her phone now that we were in the atrium. “Oh, look! Cassandra just got a bunny!” She showed us the picture on the screen. “Cute…” Lilian mumbled, texting. “What’s his name… Oops. It’s a girl. She doesn’t have a name…”
Saige glanced at me with boredom as Lilian exclaimed, “How can you not like this super cute bunny, Cassandra?!!”
I rolled my eyes as I pushed the double doors and walked into the strikingly cool air. “See you guys soon!”
Today, Mom picked me up, so I told her all about the girls coming over to practice. She agreed, so, as planned, the girls arrived at five.
“Hey,” I greeted, taking them to my room. “We can only play for forty-five minutes because Saige and I have Pathfinders. Sorry, Lilian.”
“No sweat,” Lilian smiled.
I took out three tall stands and set them on the floor. “Ready?” I asked.
“Set,” Saige continued.
“Go,” Lilian finished, and in a moment, the room was filled with inescapable music.
Once we were done with this round of the piece, we looked through some parts, fixing, playing, and giggling.
Lilian’s phone buzzed. “Sorry,” she apologized, picking up the phone. “That should be my babysitter. She’ll freak out if I don’t respond.”
Saige and I nodded.
Lilian’s face got pale with horror.
“What’s wrong?” Saige asked, taking a step closer.
“It’s not my babysitter,” Lilian said, bug-eyed. “It’s my mom. My babysitter had an emergency. Anaphylactic shock, she says. What am I going to do? Mom has a night shift at the hospital!”
“Everything going OK here, girls,” Mom stuck her head in my room.
“No,” I responded. “Lilian’s babysitter had an emergency. Lilian’s mom has night shift. Can Lilian stay overnight?”
Mom thought for a moment. “If it’s OK with her mom, yes. Ask Mrs. Porter if Saige can stay too!”
We cheered. “Does that mean I get to go to Pathfinders?” Lilian asked.
“What else?” Mom smiled.
Mom went out of the room as we packed our instruments. Instantly, we started chatting.
“I just can’t wait for the Collegedale Commons thing!” Saige gushed. “Maybe we’ll just get a tour of Southern Adventist University! It’s only a mile away, is it?”
“Saige,” I sighed. “True, it’s a mile away from the Commons, but remember that we go to a public school. We are not going there any time soon with the school.”
“Right,” Saige nodded in a slightly embarrassed way. “I remember.”
“I can just imagine the announcer for our performance,” Lilian giggled, putting on a radio announcer’s voice. “‘And now, we present to you, Vivaldi’s Curls! Oh, what’s that? Vivaldi’s Girls!’”
“Bet you they won’t say Vivaldi’s Curls,” I said.
“Bet you they will,” Saige joined.
“Who cares anyway,” I said, tossing my head. “Can’t wait for Pathfinders! It’ll be great!”
Lilian nodded with a faraway look. “Oh, man,” she mumbled, over and over.
“Are you OK, Lilian,” Saige asked, her eyebrows furrowed.
Lilian gave a weak smile. “Yeah, I’m fine, just– just stressed.”
“OK,” Saige and I chorused.
“So,” Lilian said, changing the subject. “Do I have to wear something special for Pathfinders, or what?”
“Not really,” I said. “Saige and I have to wear our field uniform, but because you aren’t part of Pathfinders — yet.”
Lilian threw her head back, and laughed. “No, it’s too late in the year. I think that, if I like it, I will join next year.”
“I think you will like it,” Saige said.
“I think so too.”
“Hop in the car!” Mom instructed.
Saige, Ginny, Lilian, and I stumbled into the car as told. Saige sat in the back and I joined her. The back is my favorite spot. I pulled out my folder with our Ranger Pathfinder requirements, and we began discussing what we had and had not done.
Lilian, on the other hand, sat down to talk to Ginny. And boy, did she talk! By the end of the short ride, they were just about best friends.
And I wasn’t sure if I liked that.