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Nina's World
Rebecca & Sarah, Age 10, Tallahassee, FL

I was walking. Running really. Almost there. Just a few more steps.            

“Where have you been, Nina?”

Uh-oh. Discovered. “I was at the, the orthodontist.”

“Why?"

"To get my, uh braces tightened."

"I did not know you had braces. Smile for me."

I smiled but had no braces. "Nina, you don't have braces. Where have you been?"

"I, uh was feeling kind of sick this morning, so I decided to stay home. But now I'm feeling better, so I came to school."

"And your mother will confirm this with me?"

I nodded. What else could I do?            

"What is your phone number Nina?"

I gulped. "637-0065." Ring-ring.

"Hello? Mrs. Robinson? This is the principal. No, nothing is wrong. I just have a question. Was Nina sick this morning? She wasn't? Where was she then? Oh, well that's another story. Thank you Mrs. Robinson."

The principal hung up. I was in trouble. "Nina, playing hooky is terrible. I'm going to have to give you detention for a month."

"A month? But that's not fair!" The moment the words left my mouth I wished I hadn't said them. The principal looked at me seriously.

"Nina, it is perfectly fair. What you did was wrong and you know it."

Uh-oh. My life was over.     

"Nina. What is wrong? Are you okay?"

"No, I am not okay, Katherine. I have never been less okay in my life."

I spilled out my story to my best friend. She listened sympathetically. After a moment, she hugged me. I hugged her back. I realized I wasn't crying anymore. We started walking to my house. When we got there we listened to CD’s and played on my computer for a while. When we finally went back downstairs it was 5:30. I looked at Katherine. She looked at me. We grinned. We strolled into the kitchen where my mom was making dinner.

"Mom?" I said.

"Yes, honey?" My mom replied.

"Can Katherine sleep over?"

"Well....." she hesitated.

"Come on, Mom. It's Friday." I urged.

"Okay" She consented. We ran up to my room. Since I am an only child I have a computer, a telephone, a TV and a CD
player. I don't have twin beds but believe me, I've asked for them. When we got to my room, Katherine picked up my phone and dialed her number. "Hi, Mom. I'm at Nina's house. Can I spend the night? I can? Great. Thanks, mom. You're the best. Bye." Katherine hung up.        
             
I looked at Katherine. She grinned. Suddenly I had an idea. "Come here." I walked over to my huge walk-in closet,
opened the door and stepped inside. Katherine followed. I pulled out my new sleeping bag. Katherine looked at it longingly. "Here, you can use it." I handed it to her.

"Thanks, it's gorgeous."

"I know," I smiled. It really is gorgeous with sky blue, golden stars and a golden moon sprinkled across it.

"What shall we do now?"Katherine asked, "Do what we always do?"

"What else?" I replied with a grin. For the next hour we goof-called kids in our class. "Who should we call next?" Katherine asked.

"The principal," I replied.

"You're kidding!"

"No seriously, it's a good idea." Although I sounded confident, I got butterflies at the thought of it.

"Nina, you are so brave! I am afraid of just the thought of it," Katherine admitted. She did not know I was too.

"Oh come on, it'll be easy." I regretted those words the minute I said them.

Katherine looked impressed. I picked up the phone. "What's his number, Katherine? Look it up in my address book."

Katherine read it. I dialed. Ring-ring. My heart was pounding.

"Hello?" said a man's voice. I tried not to giggle. It was the principal. My fears were gone.

"Happy Halloween!"

"What? It's not Halloween. Nina Robinson, is that you?" Click. I slammed down the phone. I was shivering. How did he know it was me? Fear rushed through me.

"How did it go, Nina?"

I didn’t answer.

"What's wrong?" Katherine asked.

"He, he recognized me." I stammered.

"He what? You're kidding!" Katherine laughed.

"Katherine, you’ve got to believe me. It's true!"

Katherine stopped laughing. "Seriously?"

"Seriously," I assured Katherine.

"That's horrible, Nina. You could get in trouble big time."

"I can't get into worse trouble than I'm already in," I grumbled.

"I forgot. Nina, I'm sorry," Katherine said sympathetically.

All my troubles came rushing back to be and I didn’t feel like a sleepover anymore.

"Go home, Katherine. Just go home."

"But Nina..."

"I mean it. Go home."

"Okay, okay." Katherine grumbled, leaving my room. I heard the front door slam.

I felt terrible. How could I have done this to my best friend? She would never have done this to me. But that was part of the problem. She has always been so sweet, so good at everything. And me? I'm just Nina. Plain, old, Nina. When we
started getting letter grades on our report cards, Katherine got straight A's. I got straight B's, if there is such a thing. I never told Katherine, though. I did not want to seem less important than she was. I told her I got A's, just like her. She was proud of me.

"I told you you could do it”, she would say. I hated it. I lied. I had to. I had no choice. The next report card I got A's. Real A's. When Katherine told everyone, I was proud, not embarrassed. It was then that Katherine and I became best friends. And now we are fighting. I have never fought with Katherine before.  
             
I decided to call her. Ring-ring. "Hello, this is Nina. May I please speak to Katherine? Thank-you Mrs. Ford. Katherine? I'm sorry. Can we still be friends? We can? Great! Can you come over? You can? Yup, the sleepover is still on. See you in two minutes. Bye."

Hanging up, I was feeling a lot better.

"Hello!" Katherine said, smiling, a few minutes later as she came into my house. Something was different about her, but I couldn't put my finger on it. And then I realized.. "You have pierced ears!"

"I didn’t think you would notice." Katherine exclaimed.

"Of course I noticed." I said, "I know exactly what you look like.”

"I should have realized" Katherine laughed, "I can imagine you with my eyes closed!"

"Have you ever tried?" I joked.

"No, but maybe I should." Katherine teased, her dark eyes shining.

"Come on," I said joyfully "My room is waiting.”  We ran to my room.

Katherine thumbed through my collection of movies. I lay down on my bed. My mouth opened into a huge yawn.

"Nina, wake-up!"

"What is it, Katherine?" I asked.

"I found a movie."

"Which one?"

"The Parent Trap. It's my favorite."

"Mine, too." I exclaimed. I pushed the video into the VCR and pressed play. We watched the whole movie in silence. When it was over, I looked at the clock. "It's only 9:00."

Katherine looked surprised. "Weird! I thought it was at least 12:00."

"Hey, I've got an idea! Let's make up a skit and we can tape it with my new self-taping video camera."

"Great idea!" Katherine's eyes shone with delight.

"I have another idea! How about a skit about horses? I love horses." I said all in one breath.

"How about a horse race?" Katherine suggested, "We can both be horses." We found two long, brown nightgowns, and two pairs of brown shoes. We also found two black hats. We got into our costumes and I put the video camera on self-control.

"Action!" We shouted in unison. It was a great movie. Katherine won by two inches.

"I have another great idea." I exclaimed.
             
"You are just chock full of ideas today." Katherine joked.

"But this idea is really grea...” My words trailed off as I remembered. "Thirty days worth of detention." I said weakly, "And the phone call." Everything went black as it all came back to me and I fainted.
                      
"Nina, Nina. Are you alright?" said a worried voice. Slowly, I opened my eyes.

"What happened? Where am I?" I whispered.

Panic rushed through me. What if I was at school? If everyone saw me like this, I would die.

"You're in the hospital." said a soothing voice. My confusion increased.

"The hospital? But why?"

"You fainted, Nina." I recognized Katherine's concerned voice. I sat up slowly. Things were beginning to make sense.

 "Why did you faint, Nina?" My mother's anxious voice sounded in my ear.

"Detention, thirty days." The thought brought tears to my eyes.

"Don't cry Nina, don't cry."

My father's words made me mad. "I'm not crying!" I said angrily. I climbed out of bed and walked around the room. It looked exactly what I thought a hospital room should look like. The white walls, the pictures of doctors and nurses, and the posters of body parts. The two red leather chairs, the bed in the corner, and.... 

"Nina!" My father was looking at me strangely. "Are you alright?"

My mother also looked surprised. Katherine looked like she was trying not to laugh. She knew what I had been doing. She calls it "Taking it in."

"Nina!" My father said again.

"I'm fine, I'm fine. Please, can Katherine come home with us?"

My father looked at my mother. She shrugged. "I don't see why not."

"Yay!" I ran over to my father and hugged him. "Thank-you so much." When we got to my house, I ran to my room. Katherine was not far behind. As soon as she was inside, I closed the door.

"I have a surprise for you, Nina." Katherine looked straight at me when she said this. "What is it?" I jumped up onto my bed.

"You don't have detention anymore." Katherine said calmly.

"You're kidding, right?" But I knew she wasn't. She would never joke about something this serious.

"How come?" I asked Katherine curiously.

"Well," she replied, "when you fainted, I told your parents, and they brought you to the hospital, and the principal came to visit you, and he said you did not have detention anymore, and he was sorry you fainted, and it was his fault, and....”

"Enough, enough. Too many ands." I was grinning.

"Sorry. I guess I got a little carried away." Katherine was grinning also. "Oh, and Nina."

"What?"

"It's Sunday night. I guess tomorrow is school."

"I guess so. Well, I've got to go. Bye Nina."

"Bye Katherine. Thanks for your help."

She left, and I fell asleep. With a friend like that I could face anything, even school.

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