A Little Taste of Heaven

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"The music playing for only two." (2)

Dress clutched over my shoulder and make-up bag on my other, I walk across the hallway to my homeroom. I feel like I’m floating because I can’t even feel the ground as my feet land on it. Probably it’s because I’m skipping. I don’t mind the students who came early, looking at me oddly since I’m too happy to care. But I bet Ryan’s admirers are angrier now, for there wasn’t much of an appearance from him during the party last night since he was with me the whole time. They probably think I’m a flirt, but my care for their hateful and pimping thoughts and remarks are inexistent to me. I don’t give a damn. Nate must be right. They’re just jealous of what they don’t have: Ryan’s attention. LOL!

My lips creep up, and I realize my mean streak is coming back; I can’t believe it. I stop skipping and walk at a slow pace as the pang of guilt hits me in the guts. I am becoming the girl I didn’t like again, and the fact that I haven’t checked up on Nate yet.

“Shoot,” I say under my breath, and then I sigh sharply and shake my head, “oh no!” I pull my phone out to tell Nate to meet me at the docks whenever we squeeze in free time.

“Hey, Mariana!” shouts Jared. His voice sounds far and near at the same time if that makes any sense.

I look to my right and see Ros’s arms crossed and foot, tapping on the hardwood floor. I smile ruefully. I’m right beside my homeroom doorway, and so I enter. There was nothing new, to be honest, just Ros giving out the precise instructions on how she wants the schedule to flow like the Carmans River and then she dismisses us to be ready, physically. We changed into our costumes and beautified ourselves. Once we are pampered and ready, we scatter to our designated (3) stations.

When the gates open for everyone as the clock strikes at seven forty-five, Ros roams around. She is checking all the activities if they are going as smoothly as she had planned. First on her list is the bulletin board in the courtyard. It is being guarded and represented by Chandler and Jared. The second one, the booth by the main entrance hall with the teaser of our little café in our homeroom, and mostly she manages the third, the coffee and tea shop with April and the rest of my classmates inside the homeroom, waiting, serving and entertaining guests.

I manage the booth with Jason, Kayla, and Paul at the main hall to invite and give out flyers to our families, visitors, guests and sponsors, basically anyone who enters the premises of our beloved Harrison Private School.

When some students gather at the middle school field for the performances brought by middle school students, everywhere you look, the area is like an explosion of different eras because of the costumes. The middle school students are going to dance to hits of the 80s. My siblings must feel stupid when their class was called to the centre to present their routine. Mum captures photographs as dad videotapes them. Even though I could see the redness of embarrassment from Célina and Dion as they waited for the music, they flash their brightest smiles. I leap when the music, Wake Me Up (Before You Go Go) by Wham!, starts playing. April and I sway with them as the music changes into something else, snapping our fingers and dancing like idiots, having a lot of fun in our 20th-century gowns. I could tell my siblings are enjoying their dance steps, and when their routine is over, April and I go back to our stations and cater our guests before Ros finds out we were absent without leave.

By the time lunch draws closer, the guests double, and it gets busier. Our flyers are getting thinner as the crowd grows. The next thing we know, when the print-outs have run out, word of mouth spreads from our patrons. Our other classmates replaced us to man the booth after our ‘shift’, and now Jason, Kayla, Paul and I are having lunch at our very own coffee and tea shop. I took photos of everyone, even while we were still at the booth. It is so exciting and also tiring, but all in all, it is going great.

Ros’s eyes are gleaming with pride when I enter our homeroom, and the proud way she stands, in her baby blue turtle-necked day dress, embroidered with carefully sewn white flowers on the hem of the skirt, is radiating. Her strawberry blonde hair styled in a simple, messy side bun and topped with a straw-flowery hat.

As one of my classmates leads me to a free table, I notice April over the set-up counter, setting up plates and designing cute displays of the dishes. Just as she described to us for the thousandth time this week, she is wearing a gown like an extravagant 1912 actress. Her sleeveless (shapeless, too) dress flowed with sparkling beads, her arms of long, egg-shell white satin gloves, and the left one had a string that connected to the very edge of the left hem of her skirt. I know by the way she moves elegantly, from the pastries to the counters, thanking customers, she feels like royalty of being an actress from that era. Her hairstyle is up like Jane Seymour’s from Somewhere in Time. That’s when I realized it was the film where she copied her costume.

I sit back and observe my classmates and visitors, a small smile painted across my lips.

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