On the way home from a voice lesson, this conversation:
Chloe: I’m growing tired of hearing all about Max from people I go to school with at Redwood (Middle School), as if he’s some kind of “legend” or something.
Cassie: What? In band? This is about his trumpet playing?
Chloe: Yea…there’s always talk about the great Max Bollinger during band. (She sighs and rolls her eyes dramatically.) But the other day, some eighth grader came up to me during lunch and said something about how Max was going to ask some girl out and did I know that, and then she said, “Good Luck!” What does that mean, “Good Luck?” Good luck about what?
Cassie: Well, who was the girl?
Chloe: I have no idea. Never noticed her before in my life.
Cassie: Maybe she’s the younger sibling of the girl Max is going to ask out and she knows what it’s like to be the sister of a popular older sibling, and she was just saying good luck to you on that score because it can be tough to have a popular sibling.
Chloe: I doubt it. I think that it’s because this town is so small, everyone knows everyone else’s business. (Pause) You think Max is popular?
Cassie: Maybe a little. He seems to know a lot of the students at the high school and he’s earned the respect of some of the upper class men — because of Marching Band, I think. He’s a smart talker from the east coast who knows how to play trumpet pretty well. Plus, he knew how to get around in big New York City when Saratoga High went on the Macy’s Day Parade trip. Many of those California students had never been to New York City. Max knew how to make his way through the busy city streets and that was impressive…for a freshman…so he probably gained some credibility because of that.
Chloe: It’ll get worse when he plays lacrosse. A whole new sports crowd. Were you popular when you were in high school?
Cassie: Definitely not. Maybe with a couple of the teachers…but there’s no prestige in that. I never went to the parties. I never drank alcohol. I didn’t have a boyfriend. I was really into ballet and dancing…and that filled up my time when I wasn’t studying.
Chloe: What if you had met Dad when you guys were in high school?
Cassie: He probably wouldn’t have noticed me. From what I understand, Dad was able to bridge two different crowds when he was in high school….the academic one and the cool one. That’s a tricky thing to do. You have to be courageous. I was always very wary of risk and I never even came close to knowing the cool kids. Ever. I didn’t really loosen up and have fun until I was out of high school and college and had started my life in New York City. I was kind of “all business.”
Chloe: Do you think he’s good looking?
Cassie: Who? Max?
Chloe: Yea. It’s so gross to imagine him having a girlfriend…and it’s not really something I care to discuss while I’m eating lunch, going through my own day…in middle school.
Cassie: Yes. I can see that. (Pause) Yes, I do think he’s a handsome kid. And I think YOU are beautiful. And I think there are going to be a lot of people in your future who are going to think that…who are going to consider you one of the popular ones and they’ll want to go out with you or be your friend. (Pause) But, the thing about you, Chloe, is that besides being smart and beautiful, you are KIND and there’s a lot of power in that. The kindness, matched with those other things, will take you very far in life.
Cassie: Your time to be “almost famous” is coming…just around the corner. I can feel it.