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Island of Esta: Take Off
"Jamisson Iris! Hurry, wake up!" I quickly sat up, revealing my hideous, matted down morning hair to my frantic mom, and Leigh who symaltainiously sat up over on the couch.
My mom practically tackled me to make sure I was up, "Jamie, did you know you're A.P. history class was leaving for Greece today? I didn't think that was for months! We need to leave in 20 minutes, come on!" She ran out the door, I smiled at Leigh. I didn't know it would be this easy.
So the man in the beigh suit in the infomercial last night was actually legit, I soon found out. And in a few hours, I'd be on my way, as one of the country's most fascinating teens, to save the civilization on the uncharted island of Esta.
I ran upstairs, frantically buttoning my pink and black plaid flannel shirt over my white tank top. Leigh had her bangs half braided under her top layer, half in some form of a ponytail. I grabbed a chocolate chip muffin for me, peanut butter protien bar for Leigh-strict gymnast diet. My heart was racing and my legs were shaking. I had approximately 3 hours until I could let go of my fears of my mom finding out I was not attending a trip to Greece, as there was no trip to Greece, but an internatoinal journey to save the civilization of Esta from its neighboring countries, all of which was news to me last night.
"Yes. Yes I know I have state next week, coach-" Leigh has one finger in her left ear, her phone up to the other, "Bu-but-yes, yes I know this will be aired on ESPN-ye, yes I know. Yes coach, this is personal. An emergency. I-I know. I know. Yes, I know. Alright, thank-thank you coach. Bye." Click of the Lotus flip phone.
"You ready? Jamisson? Jamisson Iris, are you ready? Leigh, you ready? Cmon let's-"
That was it. The one piece of measley evidence pertaining to the trip I was going on, apposed to the one my mom thought I was going on. The light purple, partially ripped parent permission slip due in two weeks for the A.P History class's trip to Greece, in April.
"What is this?" she looked at me with anger, confusion, and disbelief. Her green eyes connected with my hazel eyes, and also Leigh's blue eyes, which I don't understand. But sometimes moms can get like that, "I thought the Greece trip was today. Care to explain?"
After 14 and a half minutes of explaining-
"And that's why I couldn't tell you. We didn't think you would let us, and you know what the man said, it's a task needed to keep the Estans alive. Plus it's life experience." My moms face shone of genuine shock, but not necessarily bad shock.
"Jamie, come over here." She led me and Leigh to the den, down to the cedar bookshelf under the west-faced bay window revealing the morning New Jersey beach. In the bottom right corner she pulls out a slim, green hardcover book squished between a Webster's and a huge photo album of my older brother, Aaron's, first year. In about the middle of the book she pulls out a piece of manilla paper, slightly ripped, folded twice. It looked to be a certificate, but Leigh and I soon realized it was actually a citizenship paper, with a familiar name: my dad's. It read:
Citizen of Esta: Established 1990
One of 100
Darrin John Marrot
My mom's eyes filled up with tears, streaming down her face with despair which-by the looks of it-have been built up for 20 years, "Jamisson, remember when you were 5 and you asked me why you were the only kindergartener without a daddy?" My heart sunk. I could barely remember that day, but I knew it was one of the worst days of my life.
I paused for a few moments, looked at Leigh, the only friend who knew the same story I knew about my dad, "Yeah. You said he left us for another family right before I was born."
"Yes, well, that's not the complete story. You see," she opened the book, which I had noticed had four faded, silver letters printed on the front, spelling out E-S-T-A, "that's not the complete story. Now, Jamie. You, being 14 and I, being 33, can tell that I had you at 17, Aaron at 15. It was immature, I know. I don't want you to follow in my footsteps. But your dad and I thought we were in love. See, he was the new kid at my high school. Tall, dark brown hair and eyes, mysterious. I never met his family, never even considered it until I was pregnant with Aaron. He told me he left his parents in California and moved out to New Jersey to start a new life. I let it go until I was pregnant with you. Then it became personal. He was hiding something from me, I knew it. I was about 6 months along with you when I found this."
She held out the book, open to the first page. The left side was a picture of three peoples' pictures from the shoulders up (like a school picture); two girls, one boy. They all looked about 16 years of age. The first girl had long, reddish-brown wavy hair. She was wearing a navy blue robe and had a matching narrow band around her head. She was half smiling with her mouth closed. She looked confident. Under her picture was a title: Jetta Drift, Ruler of Esta. The next picture was to the right of hers, the boy. He had short, almost buzzed, brown hair. He was wearing the same thing as Jetta, but dark green. He was not smiling at all. Under his picture read: Mont Grey, Leader of Estan Security. The third picture was of a thin, blonde haired girl in a light purple robe and hair band. She had a genuine, full-hearted smile. Under her picture read: Vay Yonna, Ambassador of Esta. These people looked so young, how could they behold such a noble title? So that's exactly what I asked. My mom paused, longer than I just had.
Then she said, "This is a piece of the whole puzzle I had to solve. When the man asked you to go on the trip, did he ever mention why you were chosen?"
Leigh spoke up, "Um, yeah, actually. He said we were two hundred of the most fascinating teens."
Now I spoke, in reply, "He said only first generationers-teens-could fufill the requirements in order to succeed. I can't say I completely understand that." Leigh nodded in agreement, silent once again.
"Look through that book, what do you see?" my mom said, hinting that my answer was within the 30 or so pristine pages held between the battered, torn cover. I saw just what I saw on the first page; teens. Some children, but mostly teens. Teens in robes and bands around their heads, but also in regular clothes. Some looked like police uniforms, some looked like fancier, more elegant clothing. But still-no adults.
"They're all kids." I inquired.
"But you're wrong, they're not." My mom paused, getting ready to tell what I now knew was the truth about my father, Darrin, and the civilization I was about to enter, "They're adults. When I was fed up, ready to leave Darrin, your dad, with Aaron and live with your grandma and grandpa Stevens, he told me what will shock you as much as it shocked me 14 years ago; in Esta, people never grow up. Well, they do emotionally, as well as mentally. But not physically. Once an Estan stops growing, they stop aging. All physical features of them freeze-as if paused on TiVo."
This was all coming at me so fast, like a softball to the forehead of a cheating third baseman. How is it that I went fourteen years not knowing my family's history, my father no less?
"This is all coming together," Leigh said, "Only teenagers can fufill the duty because outsiders will know someone else is her to protect Esta if they don't look like the Estans. We should-" then she was interrupted by the vibration of her cell phone located in her back pocket, indicating 9 AM-time to leave.
The big black sign with '15C' written in bold, white letters indicated it was time to depart the country. My mom gave us each a hug and was on her way back home. I was nervously sticking my shaky hand into the Panera bag full of crubling lemon poppyseed bread. Leigh sipped her lemonade in silence, nervousness. We were almost the first ones there, other than two other girls who almost mirrored us in facial expressions, and another boy sitting by himself. His back was facing us, but he had a familiar ora to him. I could see the back of his head, his short, brown hair. He was wearing a navy blue jacket, also familiar. It wasn't long before he turned around and-
The steady, up pace beat of my heart felt like a roller coaster; accelerating with speed and excitement. It couldn't be, the last person I would of ever thought. Noah.
"Oh my goodness, Noah!" I sprinted in my white and silver Nike Shox to give my, can you believe it, boyfriend a big hug. Leigh was stunned with shock. You could tell by her silence, but I was immune to that lately.
"You-you're going? You're going to Esta?" I could barely process a single word, they were robotically stuttering past my raspberry chapstick covered lips.
"Yeah! Weird, huh? My trip to London was booked, or so I thought, so I had to stay here a night. My dad knew all about it, I guess. But he had to keep it a secret just in case I'd spill to someone. I'm so relieved though, the two of you are here!" He gave both of us a huge hug, wrapping his long arms around us.
A lady with short, light brown hair and black glasses came up to the three of us. She was about 25, and really pretty. She was holding a clip board, "I hope I'm not interrupting, I'm Mallory Hankstrom, the East Coast Esta rep. I'll be your chaperone until you actually get to the island. You must be..." she paused while looking down her clip board, "Leigh Madison and Jamisson Marrot?"
"Yes ma'am." I said. She nodded and walked away.
It was about 5 minutes before two of the other teens accompanying us showed up. One was a girl and one was a boy, both 14. They didn't know each other, but the 5 of us seemed to all get along. Anna was the girl's name. She was tall and skinny and had dark brown hair. The boy's name was Jesse, his real name was Jessiah though, we soon found out. He was almost 6 foot, but was actually only 13. He had short blonde hair. Over the next 20 minutes, the last five straggled in nervously. They were either all shy or thought we were shy, because they nearly silently packed together and formed somewhat of a group and traded glances. I didn't worry, though, we'd soon know each other.
20 minutes later I came one step closer to finding out what this was all about. "Passengers in rows 11-20 may now board," said the flight attendant over the intercom. Mallory gave us the international body lingual sign of assurance-the casual downward nod of the head-and, with Leigh's hand and mine and Noah swiftly beside me, we were off to board.
"...and remember, cell phones are not aloud on any Delta flight. If we do see a phone, we are given the right to confiscate it until the plane has landed. All other electronic devices are aloud once the plane has..." Leigh recited symoltainiously with the redhead actress playing a Delta flight attendant on the safety video. Along with knowing the words, she successfully annoyed every other passenger. I grabbed her slim forearm, indicating her to stop. I sat in between Noah and her. For a teenage couple of 6 months, we weren't the cuddly type.
As the plane rose up I finally settled down, and slowly drifted to sleep. I wasn't one to dream very vividly, but this was a special occasion. In my dream I was at school, in English. Noah sat behind me and Pete Michaels sat in front. He turned around and started talking to me, taunting me. In real life, Noah would usually eye him or tell him to back off; this time he didn't say a word. Pete kept going. He was telling me I shouldn't wear short shorts because I don't look like Leigh or the other size 0 gymnasts. Still nothing. I turned around and gave Noah a look. He shrugged his shoulders and wrinkled his eye brow. I knew it was up to me, but I couldn't do it. I let him keep taunting me. Then, after insult upon insult, he stood up, pulled me by my pony tail and shoved me to the ground. As I hit the navy blue carpet-
I woke up. On Noah's shoulder as he was half sleeping.
I had to figure this out, "Noah, before I left, Pete texted me, telling me to burn all my short shorts."
"I'll kick his butt," he said, just louder than a whisper, "Hey, look."
I turned to the small, oval window to a runway surrounded by white sand and huge, bright gardens and palm trees, and knew this was going to be okay.