I was wondering how I would find Rye's room on the train. Would they be next to each other? Would I get lost finding it? Maybe he would want to see me that night. It's not like we had never slept in the same room together. We practically had sleepovers every weekend. But these are different times. And it may not just be just a sleepover.
A Peacekeeper clutches my arm as I am dragged off to say goodbye to people I may never see again. I am practically thrown into my 'Goodbye Room'.
My mother comes rushing in a few seconds later, a tear line down her pale skin. "Oh, Wil. I'm so sorry." And she runs over to embrace me. "You poor poor thing." She whispers in my ear. Then, she lets me go and sits next to me.
Penny comes rushing in right then, almost breaking the door. "WILLOW!" She screams. I shoot up and run into her arms. Our tears merge as we embrace each other in the middle of the room. Penny, the girl I learned to walk with. Penny, the girl who knocked out my front tooth. Penny, the girl who overcame her fear of needles to sew me a ribbon for my hair, when it was long. Penny, the girl who yelled, "Willow likes you!" in the hallway to my first real crush. Penny, the girl who practically lives at my house every day that I don't even need to ask if she can come over anymore. Penny, my best friend.
"Oh, Willow. Why? Why wouldn't you let me volunteer for you? Why on your birthday?" She pulled her head up and grabbed my shoulders. "Wil, when you get back, we'll take them down, We'll stop the Games. You will win. I will see you again." She falls back on my shoulder again. "Right?"
"Of course. I will live Penny. For you. For Rye. For Mom. For Anne. I will see you soon Penny." I run my hand on her hair, thinking how I may never see her again.
Penny stands up straight and pulls out the ribbon she made me all those years ago from her pocket. "I took this from your dresser yesterday." She sniffles. "Take it. Take it as your token."
I take it in my hands. I will take it as my token. I would any day.
She looks at me and smiles, that devilish grin that has both scared and comforted me for so many years. "While you're in training, tell Mellark who I am. I want an autograph when you get back."
And then they're dragged away from me. Maybe for ever.