Martina Maria Hamilton grew up in modern times, but was raised with old world style, and new world money, inherited by wealthy ancestors.
Her family was among the nouveau riche upper crust, whose sole journey of life seemed to be nothing more than having afternoon tea, and attending elaborate week-end parties.
She had been raised by nannies who cleaned and dressed her for the daily hour of attention given to her by seemingly non-nonchalant, uninterested parents.
She was driven to school by a chauffeur, and after the required mundane studies, private tutors were called in for the important things, like learning how to be graceful and using proper language and etiquette. That, her tutor said, was necessary to secure an appropriate husband of “her own kind.”
She was an average student, finding the need for excellence unnecessary. Her lot was to get her education and then settle into an existence that echoed her parents’ lifestyle. She was to be a prim and proper girl, married to a wealthy tycoon…a mere shadow…a quiet symbol of beauty…seen and not heard…much like she viewed her mother.
She was an obedient child. That way of life was the only way of life she knew. She knew nothing of poverty or hunger or dirty knees from taking a fall. She had never experienced the fun of having someone push her on a swing, while her hair danced back and forth, nor had she ever known the warmth of a hug from anyone other than the nanny.
She did however, know how to sit straight as if knives were implanted in the back of a chair at the ready to puncture her flesh, should she slouch or lean too far back. She also knew how to enter a room with the agility of a well-seasoned heiress.
Martina wasn’t what you would call shy, but she had always been a loner. Making friends had been difficult due to the obvious gap between her wealth and the children of working class people. In her senior year in high school, she was introduced to a new student named Callie, who couldn’t have cared less about social status, couture or designer clothes and handbags. It was then that Martina realized there was an entirely different world that she had never seen.
Callie was like a storm that blew in, swept everyone off their feet, and left them wondering what the hell had just happened. She clearly enjoyed life, and epitomized the saying, “carpe diem.”
She smoked, drank beer, told dirty jokes and was extremely recalcitrant. At least once a week, she would land in the principals’ office after blatantly and unapologetically calling one of her teachers an idiot. She didn’t consider herself to be a know-it-all, she just didn’t suffer fools.
All the boys instantly fell in love with Callie, and she set their hearts aflutter by loving them right back. But despite her free spirit image, she had plans. She just wanted to have fun while, as she put it, “I’m still young and beautiful.”
Her beauty was not so much in the physical aspect, but in the way she carried herself, and executed her eccentric, nonconformist ways. She exuded self-confidence, had a delicious sense of humor, and her rebellious streak was intoxicating.
Martina had never met anyone like Callie, and her boring, regimented life of charm schools and protocols was about to be turned upside down.
One day the flashy, flamboyant, bodacious Callie walked up to Martina, and with no hesitation said, “what’s your story?” Martina sheepishly said, “I don’t have a story.”
Callie, with an almost scary seriousness said, “you’re alive aren’t you?” Martina said, “Yes.” Callie laughed and said, “then you have a story.” Martina, almost submissively said, “it’s not a very interesting story.” Callie put her arm around the much shorter Martina and said, “well, that’s something we shall have to change, isn’t it? Meet me in the downstairs rotunda after school, and we’ll have a chat.”
Before Martina could tell her that the chauffeur would be waiting, Callie was off like a streak of lightning.
After the bell rang for the dismissal of the day, Martina nervously made her way to the rotunda. When Callie came walking up, Martina said that her “ride” was waiting outside and she had to go. Callie said, “okay. I’ll come with you. I can come to your house with you, if you like. Both of my parents work and they won’t be home for hours, so they won’t mind.” She laughed and said, “can’t mind about something you don’t know about, can you?”
Callie was an enigma. Martina had never really known anyone, other than the children of her parents’ friends, whom she found stodgy and ridiculously uninteresting. They were all little adults in childrens’ bodies, wrapped in the same dull, dreary cloth just waiting to emerge from their cocoons to become just like their dull, dreary parents, living their dull, dreary and monotonous lives.
Martina had never had an “outsider” visitor. She wasn’t sure what Morton, the chauffeur would say, but she knew her parents would be busy and wouldn’t notice. When Morton opened the door for Martina, Callie jumped in like she owned the car, and said, “home, Jeeves.” Martina smiled as she followed. Callie looked over at her and said, ”I’ve been watching you for a while, and that’s the first time I’ve ever seen you smile. You should do it more often.”
Morton turned onto what seemed like a mile long driveway. When Callie first gazed at the stately manor, she said, “great jumping jellybeans! This is where you live?” Martina nodded. Callie said, “cool. Let’s go inside.”
Morton drove them around to the back entrance, and Martina took Callie to the drawing-room. Callie plopped down into a comfortable, down-filled chair just as Mr. Bradley, the butler, came in.
“Good afternoon Miss Martina. Could I get you and your visitor something to drink?” Before Martina could answer, Callie laughed as she said, “Yes, Jeeves. Could your bring us a beer?”
Mr. Bradley frowned as he said, “the name is Mr. Bradley. I am the butler and no, miss, I will not bring you a beer. Perhaps you would enjoy a glass of lemonade.” Martina looked at him and said, “this is my friend, Callie.”
Mr. Bradley grunted as he walked out of the room. As soon as he was out of earshot, Callie said, “now, am I going to have to call your mother and father, ‘my lord and my lady’? I mean, are they royalty or something?” Martina smiled and said, “no, they’re not royalty. They’re just rich.”
Like flipping a switch, Callie said, “okay. Do you have homework?” Taken a little aback, Martina said, “yes, but not much and it doesn’t matter if I do it or not.”
“What do you mean?” asked Callie. Martina said, “my parents have endowed the school, which of course, ensures that I will receive my diploma. A diploma that will have absolutely no value. A diploma that will never be framed or even looked at. A diploma that will be stored in the attic, along with all the other trophies, awards and accolades my parents have bought for me.” “Well,” Callie said, “you know, you have to think about college.”
This free-spirited, fly by the seat of her pants, seemingly not a care in the world girl was now talking about college. “You do want to go to college, right?” Callie asked. Martina just looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights. Callie said, “you do, right? Say yes.” Martina continued to look at her with a blank expression and once again, Callie said, “say yes.”
Martina smiled and said, “okay, yes.”
“Okay,” said Callie. “How are your grades?”
Martina said, “average, I would imagine. Do you have good grades?” Callie said, “I have to. I need all the scholarships I can get. I’m going to try to get one for archery as well as academics. I know I have a bit of a problem with authority and most of my teachers think I’m a bit truculent, but I have plans and those plans are to go to college.”
“You know archery?” asked Martina. Callie laughed and said, “it’s not something you know. It’s something you do.”
“Are you good?” asked Martina. Callie said, “yes, I am. I can shoot the wings off of a fly at fifty paces, but I have practiced for a long time. My first bow and arrow set were two sticks and a piece of twine, and my quiver was one of my knee-socks.”
Callie looked at Martina and said, “this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to go to the same college and we’re going to be roommates. But it won’t be one of those community colleges. We’re going to shoot for the moon. Somewhere like Harvard or Yale or Princeton.”
Martina said, “I don’t think I could get into one of those schools.”
Callie said, “are you kidding? Sure you can. Your father can build a library on campus and they can name it after him, or he could maybe…I don’t know…buy the Dean a kidney or something. You don’t have to worry about getting accepted to a school. I do.”
Martina was intrigued with the notion of going to college. It had never been discussed, but she wondered aloud what good it would do if she did. Callie said, “with a degree, you can do anything. You could start a business!”
“What kind of business?” asked Martina. “Well, what can you do?” asked Callie. Martina thought for a minute and said, “I know how to sit properly, and I know where the silverware is supposed to be when we dine. I know how to…”
“To what?” asked Callie. “I know how to be seen and not heard,” said Martina.
Callie said, “you are going to learn how to be seen and heard. You are going to learn how to roar!”
To be continued___________________