6 Years Later
“Maria! Over here!” Charity called through the thick crowd of middle-school students. Her best friend rushed over and they embraced quickly.
“So, what did you do over the summer?” Maria asked as soon as she let go of Charity.
“Well, we did a lot of stuff. My favorite part was when my dad took me on a cruise for my birthday!”
“Oooh, lucky!” Maria giggled in pretend jealousy.
“So, what did you do?”
“Um… I’ll… tell you later,” Maria looked around anxiously for the ring of the bell, but it didn’t come. Charity gazed at her best friend with a quizzical look. The two girls stayed that way, just staring at each other uncomfortably, until Lila, one of Charity’s younger friends spoke to them.
“Hi, Charity,” She called.
“Oh! I didn’t see you there! You guys remember each other, right?” Her friends nodding enthusiastically and Maria seemed visibly less tense as they chatted about Lila’s summer vacation. Finally, the bell rang and they all headed off in different directions to class. Charity hurried into her first period class room, history, this year with Mrs. Pharaoh as its teacher.
“Good morning students,” the elderly yet authoritative woman greeted her pupils.
“Andrew,” Mrs. Pharaoh snapped at a misbehaving boy in the front row. “Kindly hand these notebooks out to the rest of the students.” Charity rolled her eyes at a tall girl she had met before, Valerie, who in turn smirked back playfully. Andrew eventually submitted and passed out the books, while most of the boys made mocking faces at him and laughed.
One of the few boys not making fun of him was John Stirrup. John had always had something strange about him, and Charity thought she might have a slight crush on him, although she knew she would never be able to tell him, considering the ever-present fact that her father, Professor Harold Leopold, was a strict evolutionist.
Mrs. Pharaoh made everyone introduce themselves before continuing with the lesson. The rest of the day passed without much event. When it was time for her to leave, Charity hopped on the bus and talked with her friends until it they arrived at Maria’s bus stop.
“So,” Charity asked her friend as she was departing, “What did you do this summer?”
Maria relied in a small voice, “I went to church,” Then she stepped onto the pavement outside, leaving Charity barely able to keep her jaw from going slack.