The first few weeks were hectic for Martina. She had never lived on her own and was caught between the exhilaration of her new-found freedom, and the homesickness for the familiarity she had known all of her life.
She scurried around campus, peering around every building, glancing at every park bench, and inconspicuously peeking into every open door, hoping to see Callie.
After the third week, she went to the coffee shop. A smile came to her face when she saw Callie, flitting around, waiting on tables. Callie finally saw her and came over. Before she could say anything, Martina stood up and said, “I did it. I’m going to college, I have an apartment, and look. I’m wearing jeans.”
Callie looked her up and down, and said, “oh my God. Your jeans are….no. Seriously? No.”
Martina asked what she was trying to say. Callie said, “your jeans are pressed!” Martina said, “yes, mother had all of my clothes pressed for me.”
Callie said, “you don’t wear pressed clothes in college, and you certainly don’t have a crease in the middle of your jeans. They should be faded and torn and look like you slept in them. And your t-shirts should be wrinkled…clean but wrinkled, and have some clever saying on them…like ‘I’m married to Mick Jagger’ or something along those lines. When you go back to the manor, tell your mother to stop ironing your clothes. You’ll never fit in looking like that.”
Martina said, “I told you that I have an apartment now.” Callie said, “oh yeah. I forgot. Well, I’ve got to get back to work, and then I have a mountain of studying to do.”
Martina said, “could we do it together? I have to study, too.” Callie said, “sure,” and walked off.
She was acting strange. It was like she was running on high octane fuel or something. Martina knew that Callie was a go-getter and had the determination and ferocity of a Honey Badger, but she wondered if Callie still cared about her anymore. She wondered if Callie thought she hadn’t yet paid enough penance, and that was the reason for the nonchalant quip when she asked about getting together.
Taking a chance, Martina walked up to Callie and asked, “do you want to come to my place to study tonight, or would you like for me to come to yours?”
Callie looked at her like she was seeing her for the first time. Finally she said, “oh, yeah. Come to my room around 10-ish. Building 201, upstairs, second door on the right. And don’t be too obvious when you come in. The RA is a real bitch.”
Martina said, “Ten o’clock? Isn’t that a bit late?” Callie said, “I don’t get off work until 9. Don’t worry about it. It’ll be fine. I mean, it’s not like the nanny is going to spank you if you stay up past your bedtime.”
Martina though that comment was cruel, but didn’t say anything. Being punctual, she got to Callie’s room at exactly ten o’clock. Callie opened the door and said, “first things first. What classes are you taking?” Martina said, “the basic core classes, I guess. Math, Science, History.” Callie said, “and what are you taking for fun?”
“For fun?” Martina asked. “Yes,” Callie said. “Something like ceramics, or pottery, or…cooking, maybe.” She and Martina both laughed at that suggestion. Callie said, “you probably don’t even know how to boil water, do you?”
Martina said, “I don’t know how to do much of anything, but I’m learning. I know how to make my bed…well, mostly.”
Callie said, “how about drama? That would be good for you. Sort of…get you out of your shell, so to speak.” Martina was aghast. “Drama?”
Callie said, “you know how, in a book, you can go places you’ve never been, and do things you’ve never done?” Martina nodded. “Well, in drama class, you can be somebody you’ve never been. You already know how to be rich, but as a actress, you can be poor. You can be a queen. You can be the first woman to walk on Mars. You can be a serial killer…and you can get away with it, because you’re only acting like a serial killer.”
Martina said, “I wouldn’t dare.”
Callie impatiently said, “then what are you doing here? Still playing it safe? Still living by the ‘high society code’? Still playing by mother’s rules?”
“That’s not fair,” Martina said. Callie looked at her and said, “I’ve got a big news flash for you. Life isn’t fair. Life for most of us isn’t about butlers and chauffeurs, and swanky dinner parties. Life for most of us is real, and hard and we worry about whether or not our next paycheck will be enough to pay our rent and buy groceries. I don’t want to hear about what you ‘wouldn’t dare do’. I want to hear about what you would dare do.”
Callie sat down and said, “are you ready to study?” Martina said, “it’s awful late. Aren’t you tired?”
Callie said, “I don’t have time to be tired. Besides, I have some help.”
To be continued___________