Marie Coady – Not Her Again
Not Her Again
By Marie Coady
Amongst the gaggle of wandering new students, stood a girl no different to anybody
else. As the others around her started to chat and plant the seeds of friendships that would soon flourish and grow, she seemed to hold back just a little. It was clearly not as a result of a coldness of character but rather the specific type of shyness that comes with your first day in college. The sheer scale of everything: the grounds, the crowds … yes even the doors, seemed ten times taller than at school so that even those who appeared super confident had to be feeling at least marginally intimidated.
So yes, the girl was frightened. She gripped her bag so tightly that her knuckles protruded through the skin of her hands. “Oh God”, she thought, “It’s first year all over again”. She looked down at her name sticker, she had written “Tasha” instead of “Natasha” in a fruitless attempt at looking carefree and nonchalant. She frowned, that had definitely been an obvious fresher move.
Behind her and further down, another girl came in looking around drinking in the sights with a mix of excitement and reservation, just like everyone else. No-one took any notice of her as she scanned the crowd although had anyone been watching they would have seen her freeze slightly at something.
The girl felt the blood rush from her head, “Oh dear God, no”, she thought, alarms pealing in her mind. “It can’t be”. She peered through her new sophisticated black rimmed glasses, carefully chosen to evoke an air of unflinching conformity. Oh, but
it was true, Natasha Perry and Rachel Leeds back together again.
No-one had been really sure what exactly had set off the cataclysmic implosion of their friendship. The pair themselves would point to tensions built up during a school play. No tornado can compare to two theatre kids competing for the role of Maureen in Rent. Rachel got it, Natasha didn’t, the friendship ended.The end. Everyone moved on with their lives.
Rachel was not sure how to feel about this new development. On the one hand: College! New experiences, new friends, personal growth, no problem! They were adults now after all. They had moved on, they could put their grudges behind them and put on the air of those who never let the past interfere with the present. On the other hand: That bitch! Arrgh! Annoying! How dare she traipse in here looking for an education, with her stupid face and…..hair and….stuff!! She wasn’t proud of her reaction, so much for being suave and sophisticated.
They certainly wouldn’t be able to avoid each other. They’d both be joining the same societies, both of them over-zealous over-achievers with flamboyant streaks a mile long.
It was actually surprising how long the girls’ friendship had lasted They really shouldn’t ever have hit it off and yet they had almost been inseperable for a solid five years with little trouble until the Maureen debacle.
With Natasha blissfully unaware of the impending crisis, Rachel weighed her options. “I go and say “Hello”, we embrace, we pretend to forget everything and squeal with feigned delight” She chewed her lip “or I go and tear chunks from her stupid little face”
She was leaning towards the latter when Natasha turned around. It was amazing how quickly the identical delighted fake grins popped up on both their faces. “Rachel!” she exclaimed, as she thought in horror “Why God why?” her grin growing more strained by the second. The two girls eyed one another looking for weakness. “Her glasses are so tacky” thought Natasha. “Of course she’s going by Tasha now”, thought Rachel. “You look fantastic” they both yelped embracing each other and air kissing awkwardly. When they separated they stood smiling artificially, not sure what to do. “I didn’t know you were coming here too” said Natasha. “Why did nobody warn me?” she thought. Ah, yeah, no… me neither…..!!!!” said Rachel, eyes darting around her, looking for an escape route. Silence ensued. Panic pulsed across each of their stricken faces. “How do I get out of here now?” they both thought “before I smack her smug face”
A short boy in a Pink Floyd t-shirt appeared an acned enigma. “I love your glasses”, he said, smiling at Rachel. “Are you Rachel? I think you’re in the group I’m giving the tour to” “YES!.. I mean yes, I think so, she said, as the boy recoiled I fear. She turned to Natasha. “I guess I better go then…” Natasha exhaled, not having realised that she had been holding her breath. “Yeah, me too, I suppose I’ll see you around”
And with that, they set off planning never to speak to each other again and hoping, just hoping, that the university would never try to put on a production of ‘Rent’.
Marie Coady, Leaving Cert.Presentation Secondary School, Galway