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Edgar and Lola
Every now and then, my world needs to be replaced by another one. The replacement world doesn’t have to be bigger, better, newer- just different. Whenever I enter room 402 in my school at St. Bernard's, that replacement of worlds becomes essential to surviving. Well okay not essential. . .the teacher in the class is just sort of evil.
Anyway, today, its fiction author Grayer Sweeden changing my world from a dull homeroom to an epic landscape: from desks to mountains, ceilings to dusty gray skies, students to mischieveous bankers, abandoned orphans, and plotting stepsons.
I’m in front of the 402 door now. My book, The Moped is in hand, my gaze set at the floor. I don’t look up as I make my way to a desk in the back, right hand side of the room. I toss my bag to the wooden floor. I rest Sweeden’s open book on the small surface of the desk and begin to enter another world now. It’s happening. The classroom walls have disappeared. I am standing in the middle of an abandoned carnival on a gloomy, white-skied day. The lightbulbs on the rides are casting reds, blues, greens everywhere. The ferris wheel stands erect in the middle of it all- towering at least 300 feet above everything else. I am mesmerized by its beauty. Sweeden paints the picture- the bulbs on the wheel’s beams twinkling, the empty seats swaying eerily in the wind. I begin to silently glide towards it-
-“ Now stand up and introduce yourself, Edgar. Come on, don’t be so public school. Have some decency and respect, new kid.”
My teacher startles my daydream with his strict, mocking voice. All at once, the twinkling lights, along with the rest of the glowing carnival change back into the florescent lights of the classroom ceiling.
“Of course, Mr. Gashner.” A figure catches the corner of my eye. In the front of my room, a boy stands up. Edgar’s dark brown hair is neatly trimmed- at least from what I can see from the back. He’s tall- over six feet. And then I catch something interesting- Edgar is wearing a gray tweed blazer, and it looks like it came from another prep school. Why would someone switch prep schools halfway through senior year? Edgar is standing up. “Hi, I’m Edgar. Now if you all don’t mind, in order to avoid rumors, I would like to tell you the true reason I came to St. Bernard’s halfway through the semester.” I watch as three girls in front stop doodling on their notebooks, and turn in their chairs to face Edgar. Two boys in the back have stopped making paper airplanes.
“Well,” Edgar continues with a sigh, “Two years ago, my stepmom Vicky brutally murdered my dad with an aerosol can. Being confused, I ran away.” Why does that sound so familiar? Then it dawns on me, and I attempt to hide my smile, while Edgar pauses for a moment to dab his eyes.
“At a rest stop, I met a man named Pav who graciously took me in. For the past six months I have been traveling the country with him. I have met many great people along the way- including the principal here. In fact, after I told the principal about my situation, he told me he’d take me in here at St. Bernard's. . .and now here I am.”
At this point, I couldn’t stifle my giggle any longer. “Is something funny to you, Miss Opus?” Immediately wiping the smile off my face, I innocently look up to Edgar and ask, “This man, Pav. Did he, by chance, have an affair with your Aunt Glenda?”
Edgar turns around, now shaking with what must be laughter (but could very easily be viewed as crying.) He dramatically whales "Yeeees!" The students around him awkwardly pat him on the back, as other students eye me curiously, whispering "How did you know that?" I shrug innocently.
“Well! I think we’ve heard enough about Edgar for today. Everyone be nice to the kid. I was mistaken; he’s not from the public school. So everyone can forget about treating him as an outcast- you may treat him like our own. That is all, now talk for the rest of the hour.” Mr. Gashner states with the wave of a dismissive hand.
I look over at Edgar, and he’s grinning right at me. I can feel the blood rush to my face, all the way up to my hairline. Quickly, I rush to bury my nose in my book, but before I can even get it open, I see Edgar making his way toward me. I sit up straight, attempting to look like I have composure.
“Edgar, is it?” I ask.
Edgar tries to stifle another smile, fails, and then says, “Lola, how did you ever know Pav had an affair with my aunt?” Edgar asks with a slight smile.
“You know, I actually just finished that chapter,” I say, pointing to my book. “Believe it or not, your life sounds a whole lot like this book, The Moped.”
Edgar dramatically puts one hand on his chest and gasps. “Well, I never! That is just crazier than anything I’ve ever heard! Are you telling me, my life is all in that book right there?”
I laugh again, this time it’s comes out kind of loud and embarassing. “What would the students of St. Bernard think of you if they knew you weren’t at all telling them your past history, but in fact just recapping the first half of The Moped?” I ask with a fake scolding tone.
“To be honest with you, Lola, I don’t know that anyone else in this school has read that very large and very complicated book you’re holding. I think my secret’s safe.” With a smile and a wink, Edgar heads back to the seat up front where his tattered canvas bag is.
Edgar sits down and immediately the two girls who were doodling before flock around him. “Edgar, I can’t believe that happened to you! You must have been- like- really scared!” Edgar peers at me through the corner of his eye for a quick instant, then puts on the fakest sad face I’ve ever seen.
“That’s not even the worst of it. My cousin tried to throw me off the top of a ferris wheel last summer after I made out with his girlfriend.”
The girls throw their hands over their mouths. Now that’s just annoying. I haven’t read that part yet.
Ding, ding, ding. Three bells in D# signify the end of homeroom.
I get up quickly, throw my book in my bag, and rush out the door before Edgar can give away anymore of the story.