Always and Forever Episode 2
with pink glitter or gold glitter?” I hold up an Easter egg to my computer screen for Margot’s inspection. I’ve dyed the shell pale turquoise blue and decoupaged it with a cameo of Marie Antoinette.
“Hold it up closer,” Margot says, squinting into the camera. She’s in her pajamas; a sheet mask clings to her face. Her hair has grown just past her shoulders, which means she’ll probably cut it soon. I have a feeling she’ll always keep her hair short now. It really suits her.
It’s night in Scotland, and still afternoon here. We are five hours and 3,500 miles apart. She’s in her dorm room; I’m sitting at our kitchen table, surrounded by Easter eggs and bowls of dye and rhinestones and stickers and fluffy white feathers that I saved from when I made Christmas ornaments a few years ago. I’ve got my laptop propped up on a stack of cookbooks. Margot’s keeping me company while I finish decorating my eggs. “I think I’m going to do a pearl border around her, if that helps inform your decision,” I tell her.
“Then I say go with the pink,” she says, adjusting her sheet mask. “Pink will pop more.”
“That’s what I was thinking too,” I say, and I get to work
dusting glitter with an old eye-shadow brush. Last night I spent hours blowing the yolks out of the shells. This was supposed to be a fun thing for Kitty and me to do together like the old days, but she bailed when she was invited over to Madeline Klinger’s house. An invitation from Madeline Klinger is a rare and momentous occasion, so of course I couldn’t begrudge Kitty that.
“Only a little while longer before you find out, right?”
“Sometime this month.” I start lining up pearls in a row. Part of me wishes I could just get this over with, but another part of me is glad to have this time of not knowing, of still hoping.
“You’ll get in,” Margot says, and it’s like a proclamation. Everyone around me seems to think that my getting into
is a foregone conclusion. Peter, Kitty, Margot, my dad. My guidance counselor, Mrs. Duvall. I’d never dare say it out loud, for fear of jinxing anything, but maybe I think so too. I’ve worked hard: I got my
scores up by two hundred points. My grades are almost as good as Margot’s were, and Margot got in. I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, but will it be enough? At this point, all I can do is wait, and hope. And hope and hope.
I’m in the middle of hot-gluing a little white bow to the top of my egg when I stop to cast a suspicious look at my sister. “Wait a minute. If I get in, are you going to try to convince me to go somewhere else, just so I can spread my wings?”
Margot laughs, and her sheet mask slips down her face. Readjusting it, she says, “No. I trust you to know what’s best.”
She means it, I can tell. Just like that, her words make it so. I trust me too. I trust that when the time comes, I will know what’s best. And for me,
is best. I know it. “The only thing I’ll say is, make your own friends. Peter will be making tons of friends because of lacrosse, and the people he’ll be friends with aren’t necessarily the kinds of people you’d pick to be friends with. So make your own friends. Find your people.
“I will,” I promise.
“And make sure you join the Asian association. The one thing I feel like I’ve missed out on by going to school in a different country is an Asian-American group. It’s definitely a thing, you know, going to college and finding your racial identity. Like Tim.”
“Tim Monahan, from my class.”
,” I say. Tim Monahan is Korean, and he was adopted. There aren’t all that many Asian people at our school, so we all know who each other are, at least tangentially.
“He never hung out with Asians in high school, and then he went to Tech and met a ton of Korean people, and now I think he’s the president of an Asian fraternity.”
“I’m glad Greek life isn’t a thing in the
. You’re not going to join a sorority, are you?” She is quick to add, “No judgment if so!”
“I hadn’t thought about it.”
“Peter will probably join a fraternity, though.”
“He hasn’t said anything about it either. . . .” Even though he hasn’t mentioned it, I could easily picture Peter in a fraternity.
“I’ve heard it’s hard if your boyfriend’s in one and you’re not. Something about all the mixers and stuff, like it’s easier if you’re friends with the girls from the sister sorority. I don’t know. The whole thing seems silly to me, but it could be worth it. I hear sorority girls like to craft.” She waggles her eyebrows at me.
“Speaking of which.” I hold up my egg for her. “Ta-da!”
Margot moves closer to the camera to look. “You should go into the egg-decorating business! I want to see the other ones.”
I hold up the egg carton. I’ve got a dozen blown-out eggs, pale pink with neon pink rickrack trim, brilliant blue and lemon yellow, lavender with dried lavender buds. I was glad to have an excuse to use that dried lavender. I bought a sack of it months ago for a lavender crème brûlée, and it’s just been taking up space in our pantry.
“What are you going to do with them?” Margot asks.
“I’m bringing them over to Belleview so they can put them on display in the reception area. It always looks so dreary and hospitaly there.”
Margot leans back against her pillows. “How is everyone at Belleview?”
“Fine. I’ve been so busy with college apps and senior year stuff, I haven’t been able to go by as much as I used to. Now
that I don’t officially work there anymore, it’s a lot harder to find the time.” I spin the egg in my hand. “I think I’ll give this one to Stormy.
It’s very her.” I set the Marie Antoinette egg down on the rack to dry, and I pick up a lilac egg and begin affixing it with candy-colored gemstones. “I’m going to visit more, from here on out.”
“It’s hard,” Margot agrees. “When I come home for spring break, let’s go over there together. I want to introduce Ravi to Stormy.”
Ravi is Margot’s boyfriend of six months. His parents are from India, but he was born in London, so his accent is as posh as you might imagine.
When I met him over Skype, I said, “You sound just like Prince William,” and he laughed and said, “Cheers.” He’s two years older than Margot, and maybe it’s because he’s older, or maybe it’s because he’s English, but he seems very sophisticated and not at all like Josh. Not in a snobby way, but definitely different.
More cultured, probably from living in such a grand city, and going to the theater whenever he wants, and meeting dignitaries and the like because his mother is a diplomat.
When I told Margot that, she laughed and said it’s just because I haven’t gotten to know him yet, but Ravi’s actually a huge nerd and not at all smooth or Prince Williamish. “Don’t let the accent fool you,” she said.
She’s bringing Ravi home with her over spring break, so I suppose I’ll see for myself soon enough.
The plan is for Ravi to stay at our house for two nights and then fly to Texas to see relatives. Margot will stay here with us for the rest of the week.
“I can’t wait to meet him in real life,” I say, and she beams.
“You’re going to love him.”
I’m sure I will. I like everyone Margot likes, but the truly lucky thing is that now that Margot’s gotten to know Peter better, she sees how special he is.
When Ravi’s here, all four of us will be able to hang out, true double dates.
My sister and I are both in love at the same time, and we have this thing we can share, and how wonderful is that!