Disclaimer: This is entirely mine, but I wrote the rough draft in fifth grade, when I was newly into my beloved Harry Potter darling. So you'll see J.K. Rowling's influence throughout the whole thing. I would have liked to change it so it didn't resemble Harry Potter so much, but I liked the conflict so much I kept the plot. A witch afraid of a broomstick? HAHAHA! Pure genius. Evilness abounds. Haha. Pure evil. Evil!
I've always overreacted. Things that weren't that horrible always seemed extremely terrible, even if I simply couldn't get the toilet to flush or lost my pencil the first day of preschool. I'd start bawling or biting my nails. Once I ran off to the nap corner and hid under blankets until my mother was called to the school because I had been missing for an hour. And I'm still doing it, even though I'm nearly 13.
One day, a letter arrived for me. I was sure I had done something stupid again, because I got letters and phone calls practically every week.
While mom was looking at her magazines and junk mail, I quietly slipped into the bathroom and locked the door; I didn't want her to see I still hadn't grown up. I had been hiding the envelopes from her for a while now, and if she saw this one I think she'd figure out what had been happening.
I tried to stall by looking at the envelope. It looked like anything you'd get from the school corporation; it had the typed letters and my name was spelled wrong. (My name's Almeda Guillemette Nalini, so I can hardly blame them.) But, the return address said GSHGG, Artic. Maybe I was being sent to some special school for immature idoits in Siberia.
After looking at it for a few more minutes, utterly dreading what might be in it, I opened the letter. What came next sent my heart into my throat. Three-foot-tall gold-and-purple letters were flying into the air, along with loud, brassy music that made the sink rattle. I tried to get up and out of there, but I was pulled back onto the toilet as if someone had reached around and yanked at my waist. I sat back against the toilet, as the envelope which had start buzzing, flew to the ceiling and stayed there. I watched as the letters began to arrange themselves in midair, lighting up the peeling wallpaper with over-enthusiasm.
Dear Miss Nalini,
You are formally invited to attend Grisslomas School For Highly Gifted Girls, where you will meet other young women like and unlike yourself. You will be trained in the arts of Brewing, Travel, Enchanting, and Expedition.
You are to respond within a week of this invitation's arrival to receive further information about supplies, transportation and other essential facts. Our e-mail is [email protected]. Please include a listing of previous schools or education.
Headgiantess and Principal of Grisslomas School
for Highly Gifted Girls
The music stopped, the letters vanished, the envelope floated slowly back onto my lap, and the invisible hand let go. Grisslomas? Brewing? Expedition? Headgiantess? Highly gifted?
I thought at the time I was going mad. Four months later, I was on a flying carpet and going to huge school in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.
The classroom was so stifling, the sweat from my forehead was blurring my vision. I was trying to make a huge blue button spin, but I couldn't get it to. It sprouted a tail, but now I couldn't get the tail to go back in. I was so frustrated. And the talking textbook didn't help. I ultimately slammed the book shut (with a slight grunt from page 53) and threw myself into my seat with an exasperated sigh.
"You know, you'll never get it done if you don't read the directions," said Oni, my friend. She was already having her button do flips. She was usually behind me. But today I had other things on my mind.
And I had had enough. " You think it's no big deal! You've been saying the same thing for a week! You, like everyone else, think I'm super-girl! I can't do everything! Especially not anything that has to do with broomsticks! I can't even carry a broom without getting sick!" I heard the sound of button spinning falter, but it was exchanged for snickers. "You think it's so easy. Well, guess what? I don't!" I realized almost at once I had gone overboard. Oni was back in her chair, trying not to yell back. I leaned closer over the table, and whispered, "I'm sorry. It's not your fault. I shouldn't blow up at you." I really was tense these days. Since last week I haven't been myself.
"Aly, listen. You had better concentrate on making that button spin. Remember, it's rotatumo not ratotumo."
We went through all our other subjects that day without really talking, probably so I wouldn't lose my temper again. After school, Oni went to air-basket practice, while I left for the library. I pulled every book on broomsticks and flying out of the huge shelves and began frantically looking for tips. When I was reading about how to do a flip, Fulvia Brimstone walked up to me with her usual pompous attitude. As usual, she was acting like she hated me. But she really loathed every inch of Almeda Guillemette Nalini. She usually tries to be like one of those bullies you read about in books, you know, they're really stupid, rich, stuck-up and muscular. Fulvia's smart; she's not rich, but not poor; she's extremely small ; but she is a snob. She hates school because of me. I tried for to be friendly, I really did, but it didn't work.
She sneered at the diagrams for figure eights. " So, working on some homework for clown class? I thought you skipped that. You know, since you were already a master at it," she said with a extremely fake laugh. I could have ignored her, but I didn't think that would happen easily. You can't act like she's not there.
" No. Just doing some brush-up reading. I want to be ready when we start doing formation flying in a few weeks," I said as casually as possible. Fulvia's smirk faded a little; she was probably thinking I'd say something extremely egotistic.
"Well, I'm going to that demo tonight. I need to "brush-up" too. It seems some "star" student will teach the first graders to fly. I just hope they have the stretchers ready. It would be so horrible if that Almeeeeda breaks her neck!" She brought out the "e" with such annoying highness I felt sick. She went on, "I just couldn't bear it if she had to stop answering every single question!" She smiled her repugnant silver-wire smile at me and strode off, bumping into some younger girls reciting poems. I glared at her back. Why was she such a pain? I shook her image out of my head. I just needed to stay focused.
But before my mind started to clear again, Ms. Enid walked into the library. She was my literature teacher and a part time sports Ms.. She got me into this mess. I frantically shoved all the books together; I didn't feel like explaining to her why I couldn't do a proper dive. But, she saw me and must have thought it tactful to come and ask how I was doing.
"Hello, Almeda," she said. " Are you ready for tonight?"
I wished I could have said Nope. Absolutely not. I am mortally terrified of flying. No Ms. Enid, not airplanes, but floating a hundred feet above the ground on a twig. I guess you'll have to get someone else!
But, I said "Yeah! Definitely! Can't wait!" She probably knew I was going to say that. Why did she even ask? Since I was good in almost every other subject, she probably thought I'd be terrific with a demonstration. Truth is, I should be watching the demonstration, not doing it.
" Well, you should give those reluctant first timers some real confidence," she said with zeal. I smiled and shifted my arms. I was still holding a copy of Beginning with Your Broomstick. She eyed it with joy. "You're getting into character! Great idea!" she said with a happy look at me. I smiled and shoved all the other books together. She might get suspicious if she saw all my diagrams and notes.
" Well, I'll see you tonight then!" I said as enthusiastically as I could. She nodded and walked off.
I collapsed into my chair and covered my face with my hands. Ugh! Ugh! And, oh yes, ugh! I was not a supernatural, dexterous, adept kid who could do anything! I was trapped. Trapped in something as silly and simple as a broomstick demonstration. I was acting like it was the Olympics or something.
If only I could rewind to that last Friday. I remembered as the whole hour flashed through my mind.
I walked into literature, and everyone was talking about the reading assignment we had the night before. I sat down next to Oni and took out my book. Ms. Enid came in with her usual fervent attitude. "Hello, class! Well, before we discuss the reading, I have something to announce." I leaned closer, thinking it was test scores or an extra credit assignment.
"As you know, we have many girls at our school who aren't very used to flying. I am planning a demonstration to get them to see how much fun it is. Do I have any volunteers to help me?" Ms. Enid looked around the room. Some members of the air-basket team raised their hands, including Oni. But me, mine were glued to the chair. I-- let's put this in simple terms -- abhorred flying.
To my horror, Ms. Enid smiled at me. "How about you, Miss Nalani?" I smiled feebly. Fulvia snickered. Oni choked like she had swallowed a lemon whole. Everyone knew I was petrified of broomsticks since my first travel class, but why didn't Ms. Enid?
I gulped. "Uh, yeah . . . um . . . sure . . . I guess I c-could," I said flimsily. Oni looked at me like I had spouted horns.
After class, Ms. Enid came to my seat.. "I'll see you after dinner tonight, in the auditorium. Don't worry about a broomstick. I think I'll just tell you what you need to know.
Before I could say "No, thank you, I don't want to do this," the bell rang, and I ran out as seventh graders came pouring in.
I had to do the most embarrassing thing of my life, all because of my perfectionist attitude.
I snapped back to the present. It was already four-thirty. I really needed to get my other homework done.
As I walked into the cafeteria, my stomach was already churning. In one hour I would be humiliated in front every girl in the school. I would be the laughing stock for the rest of my life. I could hear it now. In twenty years, people would think of me for the most hilarious Halloween costume award. I'd be an inspiration for the comedy writers. There would be so many jokes about me, people would be sick to death of them. I was ruined. I might as well go around with a giant sign saying "DORK" around my neck.
I flopped down next to Oni at the fifth grade table. I stared at my plate. Maybe I could work in the kitchen. Washing dishes. Maybe take classes at night. Before I could dwell more on the thought, a wave of green peas rolled onto my plate. I looked up at Oni. She was obviously annoyed.
"Come on! It is only a stupid demo! You are taking this much too seriously. It's -- no -- big -- deal!" she said with exasperation. I forced myself not to cry. Oni sighed and and said "Really, Almeda, you get worked up about the most unimportant things. You just need to calm down. I know you still haven't gotten used to flying but. . . " She took a deep breath. "Okay. Broken arms aren't that bad. Legs aren't that bad either. It's not like you are going to crack your skull. This isn't anything life-threatening. Just chill out." She had a strange expression, like she was nervous and confident at the same time. I really admire her. She isn't as immature as me. She doesn't overreact. I wish I could be like her. But, no. She was making me frustrated.
"Oni! I can't just quit! Not now!" I was so mad at her. I couldn't believe she could be so stupid.
"Aly, you are good at nearly everything else. Don't worry! You'll be fine."
I sniffed and shaked my head furiously.
"Stop it. I command you. I show you how to do it, you do it? I can't stand quitters, especially if they never quit before." She stood up and conjured an illusion of a giant club in her left hand. "And if you don't stop all this business about not quitting, then I am going to make you quit. You finish that food and get to the auditorium," she ordered with a Nigerian distortion of a drill sergeant. She brought the club down on the table, where it disappeared in a cloud of smoke. "NOW!"
"Stop it. You're going to make my cry," I said as in a silly voice. She was a real friend. She actually put up with my immaturity. "Well, let's hurry up and get finished. I needed some help with my dives."
Oni smiled. I shoveled all my peas in my mouth and grabbed some garlic bread. She and I rushed to the auditorium. We practiced. I was still wobbly, but every time I messed up, she came up and showed me the way
After a while, I was doing okay, just as long as I didn't think about when I broke my arm in my first week during gym. Other than that, I was pretty relaxed, I pulled out of all my dives pretty well. I did some nice flips. I actually did a figure eight. More like a figure thirty-seven, but still a figure.
By the time that Ms. Enid came in, I was a master at flying. At least I felt like a master. Ms. Enid and I went over the demonstration, and then I started zooming again. This time I didn't feel queasy, I felt ecstatic. The air rushing through my hair, the feeling of being open and free, the pure loveliness-
Okay, it wasn't that nice. But anyway, I got lots of applause. Fulvia was somewhat friendly afterward. I'm pretty sure I'll see her and the first graders when I go to air-basket tryouts next semester. I hope a lot of them get on the team, too. They sure will help me and the rest of the team.
Hey, it could happen.