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A Model's Mediation
“And this other girl, Mila… I think I told you about her. Anyway, she was so inexperienced and incompetent! Gerard simply asked her to place her hand on Demarco’s chest and she couldn’t do that keeping her face straight! I felt so sorry for Gerard that he had to deal with a model so unprofessional! I mean, I am quite new in the business, too, but at least I can do such simple things as holding a pose if I’m asked to. And – what’s up?”
We were sitting in the mediation room of our school like every Wednesday chatting about life, guys and modeling while we were supposed to wait for fifth- or sixth-graders. Mediation was voluntary, which was the reason why so few kids actually came to us with their argument. But if they did, they usually argued about the most unnecessary conflicts. Of course we had to treat every conflict seriously.
“Are you even listening, Carrie?” I hissed. I was telling her an important story and she as my best friend should listen! Biting her tongue nervously she just stared out of the window. “Um, Marie?” she whispered, still not looking at me. “What’s up with you?” I asked, now concerned. “IKISSEDJAKE!” she shouted. I stared at her in disbelief. She WHAT? “I am so sorry … I-I don’t know how … it just happened …” she stuttered facing the floor. I opened my mouth but no words came out. I could not believe it! My boyfriend and my best friend …
Suddenly it knocked on the door and two little boys came in. “Is this the mediation room?” the blonde one asked. He looked from my stunned face to Carrie’s. “Um … yes. It is. Why don’t you … come in?” Carrie said. We sat down at the round table in the middle of the room. Carrie sat at the opposite of me and directed the two boys introducing themselves as Tom and Richard to my right and left. “Okay … um, first of all … the rules. Yeah. Um …” she nervously rummaged in her papers, careful to not look at me by accident.
I imagined a picture of Jake, my cute, handsome, intelligent, caring Jake, standing in the hallway and Carrie walking up to him pressing her lips on his … ew. Carrie spluttered the rules of mediation for the boys: No interrupting, no insulting, no violence, and keeping secret every thing said in the room. But I could not listen. Staring at Carrie, furiousness circulated in my veins. How could she do that to me? How could he do that to me? What were they thinking?
“Okay … um, who wants to start telling what happened?” Carrie asked. “Tom stole my signed world cup soccer-ball!” Carrie frowned. “Why do you think so?” Richard folded his arms. “I know it. I brought it with me to school. After English it wasn’t there anymore. And do you know who is sitting next to me in English? Tom!” He leaned back in his seat and stared at Tom as if he had brought the cast iron proof. “Is that true?” I asked Tom. “No! He is lying! I didn’t take it. Why would I want some stupid ball where some stupid soccer-player wrote his stupid name on? Exactly – I wouldn’t!” I noticed quite many “stupid”s in this sentence …
“Sure you wanted it! You were just jealous because you couldn’t come with me to the meet-the-players-night!” Richard shouted. “Hey boys” Carrie got in between, “calm down. Richard, is there any other possibility where your ball could be?”
“No” he simply answered. “But only because Tom is sitting next to you that doesn’t mean he took it. Have you seen someone else with it? Or have you played with it in your lunch break outside?” Richard shook his head. “I know it was Tom. He was so angry that I could go to the meeting and got Christiano Ronaldo’s signature! Of course he stole it! He has a motive!” But Carrie wouldn’t give up. “Have you looked at home? Maybe-“
“Haven’t you heard him? He had his ball in school! And it was away after English, right? So someone in his English class must have stolen it!” I interrupted Carrie. She gave me an angry look but I didn’t care. I know we were supposed to be a team here but Carrie had definitely broken the rules first. She was the one who kissed my boyfriend! “Have you stolen Richard’s ball, Tom?” I said slowly staring at Tom’s face. “Hey” Carrie said, “that’s not the way we work!” But I didn’t care what Carrie said. Tom looked shyly away. “Tom? Tom! Look at me … Now, think before you answer this, and it will better be the truth. Do you have Richards ball?” Tom shifted on his seat. Carrie shook her head. She was mad but I didn’t care.
“Yes” whispered Tom staring on the ground. “Ha!” I shouted. “I knew it!” I smiled triumphantly at Carrie. “Why did you do that, Tom?” she asked softly. “We wanted to go to the meeting together! And when I became sick Richard went alone. And he came back with this ball. And … every one wanted to touch it and play with it. And Richard was so showy and only talked about his ball and Christiano Ronaldo and he was so busy with his new friends that he totally forgot about me.” Carrie looked compassionately down at Tom. “Did you feel lonely?” Tom nodded.
I laughed. “Please, that is not a reason to steal a ball! You could have talked to Richard!” Carrie folded her arms in front of her chest. “Oh yeah? And you really think Richard would have listened to Tom?”
“Why not? But Tom didn't even try!" I hissed back. “Maybe because Richard was all over his new ball and had better things to do than talking to his old friends? If Richard hadn’t been so braggy, Tom would not have been forced to steal the ball!” My ears turned red and my hands shook as they always did when I became really angry. “No one forced Tom to steal! That was his decision!” Carrie banged her fist on the table. “Please Marie, if Richard just had included Tom and would have let him play with them, Tom would never have felt left out! And he mustn’t been so showy with it. Of course Tom got jealous!”
I sprung from my seat. Was she saying that … “IT WAS NOT MY FAULT MY BOYFRIEND CHEATED ON ME WITH YOU!” I screamed. “No?!” Carrie stood up from her seat, too, her hands on her hips. “Who was all about her breakthrough in the model-business? Who didn’t care about her friends and her boyfriend anymore because she was oh so important now? Why do you think he came to me that evening?” WHAT? I just couldn’t believe what I heard. She was the one kissing my boyfriend. She was the bad one, not me! And why couldn’t she just be happy for my success? “You are just jealous, Carrie!”
“Of what? Of loosing my boyfriend because I don’t have time for him anymore? Because I am not listening to his problems but rather keep talking about stupid Mila, the shooting, or the oh so fabulous Gerard? Of being too sophisticated to spend time with my friends? You are so self-concerned, Marie! It was just this one little campaign. Come down to earth!” I couldn’t move. I couldn’t talk. She made it so easy for her! As if every thing that happened was my fault!
“We didn’t know you anymore, Marie. You changed to that uppity, arrogant, egocentric model. He wanted to talk to somebody so came over to my house because he couldn’t talk to you anymore. He was afraid of losing you, Marie. Losing the Marie he fell in love with.” She looked at me seriously. Suddenly my eyes were filled with tears. “It was just this one kiss” she said. “And it felt so awkward for both of us that he just left right after. It didn’t mean anything and he still loves you. But I don’t know how much longer he can take your behavior any more.” Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I sank back on my chair.
“Hey” Carrie whispered softly and came around the table. “I feel so stupid” I sobbed. Carrie kneeled next to me on the floor. “You were” she susurrated rubbing my back. I laughed awkwardly. I wiped some tears from my face and looked at my best friend. “I am so sorry!” Carrie smiled. “I know.” I started chewing on my lip. “I don’t know what I was thinking. I am sorry … I need to talk with Jake. And I … I am so sorry, Carrie!” She hugged me long. “There is the Marie I know! She’s back, finally!” she whispered in my hair.
From the corner of my eyes I could see Tom and Richard sharing a look. Then Tom opened his backpack and held Richard’s ball in his hand. “Let’s go play outside!” Richard nodded watching me hugging Carrie, drowned in tears. “Yeah, I’m so out of here!” They grabbed their bags and went outside. Carrie and I looked at each other and burst out laughing.