Working Class Girls

October 8, 2011
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They weren’t the only girls in town whose parents were self-employed, but Melanie had gone onto college and since Kristie’s dad had made millions, it didn’t mean the same thing to her. So Mei and Vienna naturally gravitated towards each other. They were known to the others as working class girls. They didn’t care. They could talk about it to each other. It was nice to have someone who understood.
They weren’t too different from the other students who Truing High. They complained about the coursework and tests as much as anyone else. But tests always seemed to mean so much more to Vienna, trying to claw her way into college, and Mei, trying to do as well as her older sister. Tests were grades incarnate, and grades were scholarship opportunities, freedom, a way OUT-
They didn’t mention troubles to each other. Vienna didn’t need to know how Mei felt like nothing she ever did was good enough, and Mei didn’t need to know Vienna’s college fund had turned into her bail-the-store-out fund when she was fourteen- they didn't need to talk about it. Life already seemed to real without talking about it. They were both working class girls, and they understood that adulthood wasn’t a prize.
Sometimes it seemed like they were the only ones in their whole cruddy school who knew what it was like to suffer, to go without, to not have enough money. It probably wasn’t true, but that’s how they felt, which made it true more or less to a pair of teenage girls. They didn't need to talk about that either.
What they talked about to each other was how clever the other was. How one day they were going to be rich and rested and happy, because they sure as hell didn’t feel like those things right then. Vienna’s stories would be published. Mei would get a job away from Truing too. It was what they both needed to hear so desperately, and what they no longer trusted their parents to say anymore. And when Mei told Vienna she was smart it was actually a compliment, because Mei was one of the smartest people she’d ever met, and the strongest too, and she gave Vienna enough hope to keep going and to believe in the dark of night that maybe she was right, that someday the name Vienna Brunn would mean something great.
She wished she could stay in high school for an extra year so Mei could tell it to her more times, but she’d never get a scholarship that way.
Then it was her last day of school, much too quick and the final bell had rung. She hugged Mei. “Call me every day. Don’t let your parents work you into the ground.”
“I’m so proud of you.” The words sound cliché, but Mei is the force that kept her going, so she was welcome to it. “I told you you could do it. And soon I’ll be buying your books!”
“You were right, as usual.” Vienna bent slightly so she could look deep into Mei’s eyes. “One day you’re going to hold the sun in your hands, and no one will see you for how bright you shine.”
Mei grinned “I can’t wait.”
They were both working class girls, and they would survive.

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