Randall whipped around and said, “that’s fine Martina. If you don’t want to call me, don’t, but call your mother and father. Remember, a child pouts and thinks they know everything. An adult is responsible, and grateful, and respectful. You…are none of those.”
As he walked away, Martina made a gesture and mumbled under her breath, “who the hell does he think he is?”
Martina had taken Callie’s advice and joined the drama class. She found that a little help, dissolved her almost painful shyness, and although the help had increased from one or two times a day, to four or five, Callie was right. She could be anyone when she was acting.
The class was going to perform “Les Misérables” at the end of the semester, and Martina wanted to play the grisette, tritagonist, Fantine. The part, she believed, was perfect for her. She had never been a “working class” person, or student, or anything, but she had often felt as though she was of little or no importance to her family. The name Fantine meant infant, and that was how Martina believed her family saw and treated her.
All of her focus was on getting the part, and she lobbied hard. She boldly referenced her naturally golden blonde hair, which would run true to the description in the original novel, and promised to deliver a never before witnessed portrayal of the tragic Fantine.
After weeks of auditions, Martina was told that she had the part. Her first inclination was to tell Callie, but they had begun to drift apart. She hadn’t seen her in weeks. It was partly due to Martina’s determination to be a success in her new interest, and partly due to Callie’s every increasing dependence on the help. It never occurred to Martina that she herself, was on the same path.
She went to Callie’s room and knocked. After hearing a laughing, “just a minute,” Callie opened the door. In just a few short weeks, Callie had lost a tremendous amount of weight, and being tall made the loss even more obvious. Her skin was sallow and her eyes were dull and lifeless.
Trying to disguise the look of disbelief on her face, Martina walked in and said, “I have some wonderful news.” Callie sat down on the floor and ignored her. After a few seconds, Callie said, “did you know that I own the R & L Railroad?” Martina, somewhat bewildered, answered, “no.”
Callie said, “yep. The Right and Left Railroad.” She held up her right arm and then held up her left. She raised the sleeves on her shirt and said, “see? This is my R & L Railroad, and these are the tracks.” She nearly doubled over with an almost insane laughter.
Martina was horrified at what she saw. Callie had started injecting the help, and her arms were bruised and full of holes. Martina said, “Callie. You need to stop. Do you see your arms? Do you see what you are doing to yourself?”
Callie stood up, towering over Martina and snapped, “don’t tell me I need to stop. Do you think I don’t know how much you’re using? Do you think I don’t know that you can barely function without a little help? And, I know what your wonderful news is. You got the part in that play. Big deal. Try learning your lines without the help. Try getting on the stage in front of hundreds of people without the help. You think you’re going to preach to me about needing to stop? I suggest you clean up your own back yard before you start complaining about the shit in mine.”
Martina got up and walked toward the door. She turned and said, “I wanted to invite you to come see the play.”
Callie said with a smirk, “oh, sure. You can count on it. That has always been my fondest wish. Watching a little rich girl play a poor little waif who sells her hair and her teeth. Like you would have a clue what that’s like.”
Martina walked to her apartment, and called Randall.
To be continued___________