Illusions begin, p.29
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       Illusions Begin, p.29

           N.L. Greene
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  Chapter 1

  I held that promise near and dear to my heart as we started the sixth grade. I remember being scared and excited about going to middle school. There was definitely much more responsibility, between changing classes, having lockers, and meeting a ton of new people while being separated from those I’d known my whole life. Mel and I were on different teams at school, which meant that we had different classes. We still stuck close to each other at every opportunity though; meeting up between classes, eating lunch together, and catching up before and after school on the bus ride. I remember thinking that I would wake up on the first morning of middle school and magically be a different person - older, wiser, and maybe even prettier. Nothing like that happened. I was still me. I was shy, nervous, and painfully average. But not Mel, though - she seemed to go through an overnight change. It wasn’t major or anything crazy, but it was definitely different. She started to develop her own sense of style, and even her attitude started to change, almost imperceptibly.

  She’d always had a quiet personality like mine. But now she liked heavy metal (I think it was because of her older brother, but she would never admit that she liked the same things he did), she wore rocker-type clothes, combat boots, make-up, and had started to curse a lot. I didn’t really mind, because I was used to the language from all the other kids at school, but it was sort of weird to hear it from Mel. She also argued a lot more, with both the boys and the girls, and sometimes it even got a little intense. I’d even heard a few kids call her badass or cool, so I guess I was proud of her for starting to get popular and build a reputation for herself…and I thought it was even better that she still wanted to be my best friend. She made sure that everyone knew who I was and not to mess with me, not that anyone did, anyway. It was still kinda cool though.

  Sadly, the only significant thing to happen to me was convincing my parents to finally let me shave my legs…and that didn’t even happen until the very end of the year! I remember having to beg my parents for this rite of passage, only after one of the cutest, most popular guys in the eighth grade had pointed out my hairy legs to the entire bus. I remember how giggly and nervous I got when he sat in the seat beside me and turned toward me with a smile on his face. I was already blushing, and he hadn’t even spoken to me yet! He glanced down at my bare legs, and the smile turned into a smirk. “Aren’t girls supposed to shave their legs?” he asked, way too loudly. I turned away quickly as tears pricked my eyes. I held it together while on the school bus, but as soon as I got dropped off and started walking home, I couldn’t hold it back any longer. That night I told my parents, and they finally took pity on me.

  After that defining milestone, nothing else really happened and Mel and I were able to sail through our first year of middle school and into the second. Mel made a name for herself as a mover and a shaker, someone who was always in the know, and made sure that my name got associated with hers. We made a lot of friends, and Mel even made a few enemies, but none of those relationships could compare to the bond that was steadily growing between the two of us. We shared secrets, spent as much time together as possible both inside and outside of school, and began to call each other ‘sister’.
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