The only person who I could say is a friend (though we are more like frenemies) is a redhead named Rosalia. But I hate that name so I call her Rose. You could say that we get along most of the time, if totally ignoring each other counts. In truth, we are total opposites. She is annoyingly talkative, but I hardly speak unless I have a comeback or an insult. She is very social, while I enjoy being alone. She is extremely pretty, and I am horribly ugly. The list goes on and on and on. Rose will always try to get me to talk and complains when I don't. And she always makes sure there are a lot of people around, as if the pressure and embarrassment will make me crack. But at times she will come and sit with me and try to get me to smile, like a real friend comforts another person. No one else ever takes the time to do this, so that is why I could classify her as my best friend here at Mrs. Price's Home for Orphans.
"Come on Marcie!" Rose shouted as she trotted down the steps that led to the cafeteria.
I didn't respond, instead I reached for my other pillow and put it over my face. Yawning, I rolled over and buried my face in the covers. After a few minutes, just as I had fallen back asleep, the door flew open and within seconds I was being shaken violently. The pillow on top of my head was flung across the room, and, opening my eyes I saw wisps of red curls bouncing around excitedly.
"Marcie! Marcie! MARCIE!" my friend yelled.
I groaned and turned the other way.
"Get UP! I have really good news!"
"The orphanage is closing?"
"No silly!" she said, cocking her head to one side and placing her hands on her hips.
"Darn," I muttered.
"We are getting a new girl!" she exclaimed with her usual peppiness.
"Isn't it great?" she asked expectantly.
"I honestly don't care," I said.
"And do you want to know the best part?"
"She's moving into our room!"
At this, I sat straight up and whipped my head around at her.
"O-our room? You mean, like, th-this room?" I stuttered, mortified.
"Yep!" she cried, and skipped out of the room, humming all the way.
I watched her leave with a horrified expression on my face. I looked around, imagining what it would be like to have TWO Roses running about. I couldn't bear the thought of it. I moaned and fell back onto my pillow.
"There you are!" Rose said when I arrived at breakfast and sat down next to her.
I didn't respond, and started eating my black sausage.
I spit out my charcoal-colored food and scrunched up my nose. My friend looked at it and made a disgusted face, quickly looking back at her tray.
"You're disgusting Marcie."
"Me? I'm disgusting? Just look at what is on my plate!" I cried.
Rose shook her head and stood up to throw away the remains of her meal.
"I'm going outside," she said when she returned and walked toward the door.
I finished eating the things that didn't look burned or poisoned and headed in the other direction, to the steps. I jogged up them until I reached my floor and turned. When I reached my room, I collapsed on the bed and sighed. I stared up at the blank ceiling and began to think about my parents, thinking about what they might look like. Yes, it had been ten years and I had forgotten a lot about them. Sometimes I imagined my mom to have curly dark hair like me. She would have a warm smile and a small nose, but I could never picture her eyes. They were a mystery to me. My dad would have shaggy brown hair, big, brown eyes, and a cheerful grin from ear to ear. And then, between them would be a young girl, smiling up at her parents, hugging them. This part of the picture always made me sad. Because I didn't know if that could ever be true, if I could stand beside them and grin at them and laugh with them.
I rolled off the bed and went over to the mirror. I stared at my reflection for a while, then shuffled over to my corner. I leaned on the wall and put my head against it. Then I slid down until I was in a sitting position. The days were long and boring, and to keep myself busy I would walk to different spots of the room and think. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. I was just dozing off when the door flew open again and Rose walked in, chattering with one of her friends.
"And then I was like, 'What the heck' and he ran off and tripped and-" she burst into fits of giggles. "And then, get this, I was like, 'Watch out for that tree root' but he was already on the ground..." she laughed even louder and her friend literally fell down laughing too.
I rolled my eyes and cleared my throat loudly. Rose opened her eyes wide in surprise and her shrieking quieted a little.
"Oh hey Marcie," she said between gasps.
I grunted and stood up.
"Well, I have to go to now, Rose," her friend said, still choking and giggling as she walked out of the room.
"Ok, see you later!" she called after her.
Rose turned to me and smiled.
"What have you been doing this whole time?" she asked, and sat down on the bed.
"None of your business."
She shrugged, but after a few moments, she added, "Why are you so grumpy all the time?"
"Why do you always ask me that?"
"I asked you first."
Ignoring her, I grabbed my coat and left the room. I trumped down the steps and speed-walked through the cafeteria toward the door leading to the outside area. As soon as I had stepped out of the building, I was blasted by the cold air and put my face deeper into my scarf. A few kids snickered as I walked by, but others huddled closer together and hurried away. I spotted a nearby bench and sat down, shivering. I leaned against the leafless tree and sighed. I was just beginning to enjoy being alone when a shaking figure came running toward me and settled herself next to where I sat in the snow.
"Hi," she said.
I didn't respond. Scowling, I stamped the ground and shook the snow off my boots.
"The new girl is gonna be here tomorrow," she added hopefully.
"Goody," I replied.
"Just... try to be nice to her."