|Posted by Matt Posner on July 10, 2011 at 7:53 AM|
It means a lot more to say someone likes you if you’re thirteen going on fourteen. I wanted to ask Goldberry “Likes me how? How do you know?” but I thought it would be embarrassing. If she liked me as in “trusted me,” then I’d just be her friend, which I definitely wanted to do anyway. If she liked me more than that, it would be much harder. Leah was a girl that every boy looked at, not just because she might be the prettiest girl in the school but because she was politely mysterious. The more she pushed people away, the more curious they got. I couldn’t not like her back. But then, my roommate Robbie liked Leah, and I didn’t want not to be friends with him. And Goldberry was only my partner, but still I felt like being interested in Leah was like cheating on her. I didn’t like how Goodenough was always hanging around Goldberry. So how could I be close to Leah and make Robbie jealous and still be jealous of Goodenough at the same time?
The complications made my head spin. Lying in bed that night, I felt like throwing up. I kept going over in my mind every conversation I’d every had with any of them until I finally drifted off.
YOU MUST GIVE ME FORGIVENESS, said the voice.
I snapped awake. Robbie was still snoring on the other side of the room.
I couldn’t move or speak aloud, but I tried to think my conversation, as I had with the spirit in the memento.
“Who are you?” I thought.
YOU WILL LEARN OF ME. THEN YOU WILL GO TO RAV YEHOSHUA AND HE WILL FORGIVE ME.
“Who is that?”
YOU MUST FIND A WAY.
It was if something in my head was wiped away. I knew the spirit was gone, and I could move again. This time I wouldn’t wake Robbie. I would figure it out myself.
I got up and went down the candlelit stone corridor to the bathroom. I could see my breaths in the icy air. As I returned to the room, I decided I would keep practicing with the mementos, get better, and then figure out how to deal with this ghost. It still took me a long time to get to sleep.
I woke up in the morning thinking I would talk to Leah at breakfast. When I got to the dining hall after meditation, she was there, eating alone at a table, but I couldn’t go over to her when so many people were watching. I sat with Rocco instead. He told me a funny story about Dempsey, the senior who had given the Dean a hard time at the assembly the first day of school. I hardly heard him. I’d failed at meditation, hadn’t seen the triangle; I was being haunted by a nameless spirit; and all of a sudden I couldn’t talk to a girl I’d been talking to without trouble for most of the week before. That was enough problems for one morning, but unfortunately another arrived: William Goodenough, along with King, a classmate I’d seen him with in the halls. He sat next to me, ignoring Rocco’s cheerful greeting.
“I just wanted to talk to you,” said Goodenough mildly. “We’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, you and I. I’m not sure why. Perhaps we can talk it out.”
I looked at him, then at King, who was expressionless, and then at him again.
“That’s not why you’re here,” I said. “I think you know what the problem is as well as I do.”
“Well, I’ve learned, from my father as well as my teachers, never to underestimate a magician, even a novice. I just want to say that if I should not underestimate a novice, neither should that novice underestimate me.”
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