My Life

May 10, 2010
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“Lilah, hurry up! You’re going to be late for your flight! I am not sending you on another flight!”
“Okay, I’m coming!” I yelled down the stairs. My mother had decided to send me to her old school, in London. I wasn’t excited about spending the next four years of my life in a strange and far off place, but whatever Mother wanted, Mother got.

“Goodbye Lilah. Remember, your new school is named Nightwing, and a man named Nigel will come to pick you up at Heathrow. I love you!”
And with that my mother walked away from me, leaving me, her only child, alone at JFK airport.
I was lucky enough to fly first class in the plane, and I wanted for nothing. The flight attendants were nice enough, and gave me everything I asked during the flight. When they announced that we had landed in London, I was surprised.

“Lilah Ann Japheth? Is anyone named Lilah Ann?” a tall man asked.
“Hello,” I said, “my name is Lilah Ann. Are you Nigel?”
“Yes, I am from Nightwing. I assume your mother told you as much, correct?”
“Yes. She told me that you would come pick me up.”
With that, I collected my suitcases and headed off to Nightwing. I wasn’t sure what to expect; I had never been to England, let alone London. When we drove up, I was surprised to see that it looked like a regular school, just like the ones at home in New York.
“Welcome to Nightwing. Some girls have been here since the beginning of summer, so they all know each other quite well. I expect they’ll make you at home though.” said Nigel as way of greeting me to Nightwing.

I walked in, expecting nothing. I thought that it would be an interesting social experiment, and nothing else. Ms. Benson, the headmistress, greeted me, along with a pretty blonde girl.
“Hello Lilah Ann. My name is Jane Esther, and I would like to welcome you to Nightwing. You are just in time for dinner. Please follow me.”
As I followed Jane, I could tell that hundreds of eyes stared at me. Even though it was the first day of school, I could tell that I was out of the ordinary here.
“Girls, this is Lilah Ann Japheth. She is from New York, in America. Her roommate will be Gretchen Blair. Please welcome her. Gretchen Blair, please come up here to greet your roommate,” announced Ms. Benson.
A tall brunette stood up and made her way towards us. She had freckles all over her face, and piercing blue eyes. They made me think of my deceased father, who had the same eyes.
“Hello Lilah Ann. I’m Gretchen Blair. Let’s take your suitcases up to our room, and then you can meet some of my friends. They’re awesome.”
As we headed up the stairs to the dorms, Gretchen hounded me with information and questions alike.
“So you’re from New York? I used to live in California, but then my parents sent me here for school. I’ve only been here since July. I love New York, but I’ve only been once. All I remember is a huge Christmas tree and some ball dropping.” I laughed. She was remembering Christmas in New York, my favorite time of the year. With that, we reached our room. It was the size of a hotel suite, which was surprising.
“I also share this room with two other girls, Ava and Annabel. You’ll probably meet them in a few minutes.”
Two girls bounded in the room at those words.
“Hi, I’m Ava,” a short redhead said “I play volleyball and soccer, but volleyball’s my passion. Do you play a sport?”
“I play volleyball too, and I swim in the summer.”
“Hi, I’m Annabel,” a tall black girl said, “I’m from London, and Ava’s from Ireland. We’ve all been here since around July.”
I was reassured by that. They were relatively new, too, so I wouldn’t have to do that much catching up. We compared schedules, and they were all shocked that I had placed into French 2.
“Hardly anyone gets placed into French 2 unless they’re really good at it,” Ava told me. She was in French One with Annabel, and Gretchen was in Spanish One.
“Let’s go down to dinner, and you can meet the rest of our grade,” said Gretchen.
“I have a question,” I ventured cautiously. “Why is everyone called by their first and middle names?”
“I don’t know. Everyone calls each other by their first and middle names, except for us. We call each other by our first names, Lilah,” explained Annabel.

Today is my first official day of classes.
“Good morning Lilah Ann! Have you reviewed your schedule with Gretchen Blair?” asked Benson.
“Yes ma’am, I have. Thank you,” I replied.
Benson turned to the whole student body.
“I would like to make the following announcement. On Friday, there will be mandatory dorm cleanup. If you do not participate, Marie has some dusting to be done. All throughout the school. Please help us keep our school clean.”
“That’s code for the trustees are coming,” Gretchen whispered to me.
“Miss Lilah Ann and Miss Gretchen Blair please see me after breakfast. That is all, have a wonderful day.”

“Gretchen Blair, have you explained the rules to Lilah Ann?”
“No ma’am. I have not.”
Benson pardoned me, but told Gretchen that she was banned from study group for a whole week. Once we were outside Benson’s office, Gretchen began to cry.
“Lilah Ann, I’m going home.”
“To your home in London?”
“No. Home to America. My mother told me that if I got in trouble once during my education here, she would put me in military school in California. I think it’s called Montana School.”
I began to cry also. In just two days I had gone from being a roommate to being a single, all because of one simple mistake by Gretchen.
“Lilah, I leave tomorrow. Could you tell Ava and Annabel please?”
“Sure. I’ll see you off.”

Three months later

Annabel, Ava, and I are heading off to Santa Fe to pick up Gretchen and take her to Australia. When we arrived, in my mother’s private jet, Gretchen entered the plane and we screamed.
“Gretchen!! How are you? We’ve missed you so much! Nightwing isn’t the same without you. Shanelle, my new roommate, isn’t as much fun as you!” I announced.
“I’m good, I guess. Military school isn’t as fun as Nightwing, and it’s way harder. The first day, I had to go swimming and riding in the same day. I miss you guys all so much, and I can’t wait to leave for Australia, to get away from here.”

Australia was so much fun. We swam in the Great Barrier Reef, and we saw eucalyptus trees with koalas in them. Gretchen and I did everything together, and we went everywhere together. Ava and Annabel put up with this, and Gretchen hung out with everyone. We had such an amazing time in Australia, and it was bittersweet when we left Gretchen in Santa Fe. We knew that we would see her again soon, during summer, but it was still difficult to leave her alone while we went back to Nightwing together.
“I’ll see you soon, then?” I asked Gretchen. It was our favorite line from Dear John, her favorite movie.
“Yeah, see you soon,” she replied. I could hear Annabel and Ava telling Gretchen to not worry, we’ll see her over the summer. We all cried throughout the plane ride home, but we pulled ourselves together for school.

Three Weeks Later
Annabel and I are leaving London today for San Francisco. Last week, Gretchen died in a car accident. She was driving with her mom, for her license, and another car hit her. The other car was driven by a drunk, and he survived. Gretchen died on impact, and her mother is still in the hospital, fighting for her life. Ava couldn’t make it; she is studying for her final exams. Annabel and I have been granted an extension for Gretchen’s death.

“Today we are here to celebrate the life of a vivacious young woman whose life was cut tragically short. Her roommate Lilah Ann Japheth, and her best friend Annabel Grace Jagger have come from London to celebrate her life, and to tell about Gretchen while she was away from us in London,” her father said at the funeral.
“Hello. For those of you who do not know me, I was Gretchen’s roommate at Nightwing” I talked for about ten minutes, and then Annabel took over. Until her talk, I hadn’t realized how little I knew about Gretchen. After Annabel spoke, her father spoke about Gretchen and her life outside of school. She had played soccer and volleyball, but her first love was writing. I had seen her stories in French, and they were amazing. Right before we left her in Santa Fe, she had given her notebook to me, and told me to publish her writing.
“In case I never see you again, I want you to have this,” she had said.
As I remembered this, I began to cry. Gretchen was the friend I could always count on to cheer me up, and now I was crying without her to help me. Next to me, Annabel was crying also, and her father was crying.

On the plane back, I showed Annabel the notebook Gretchen had, and I began to write. Guess what you have just finished reading? No, not her notebook, but mine. I kept a record of everything I did during my year at Nightwing. Ava and Annabel helped me write it, and Gretchen helped me too, while she was my roommate.

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