Description: Rainbow Dash’s ill-fated study session continues outside.
Protag: “Dash, wait up!” I yelled to her as she walked through campus. When I caught up to her, he shoved my backpack towards me.
“That guy is a jerk." She declared. "It’s like he never heard kids talking loudly.”
“Yeah, how dare he do his job, right?”
“Even though you were yelling in his library?”
“Of course I was yelling. I had something to say.”
“He did what he was is paid to do?! The nerve of him!”
“Finally, you agree with me on something.”
The breezeway between the library and the school was quite, peppered with the chirping of birds here and there but no other noises. The sports field was in sight. We would have seen a setting sun if it weren’t for all the clouds.
“So...what were you saying?” I asked.
“Seriously? We were just talking about-”
“Oh that? Ha, I was just messing with you. It’s funny seeing you get all bent out of shape. And it’s easy.”
“Ah. So the stuff about having goals...that was all pretend?”
“...of course not.” Her voice dropped. She looked mildly worried.
“Are you okay?”
“Forget about it.”
“What did I do?”
“Huh? Nothing, nothing. I just got a chill, that’s all. I’m cool.” She reassuringly shoved her elbow into my arm.
“Um, so we should probably find somewhere else to get this work done.”
Her eyes rolled. “Work-work-work. Where’s your off-switch?”
“I’m just doing what you asked me to.”
“Yeah, but we already did a lot of work.”
“It was like twenty minutes!” I complained to her. Rainbow ignored me and started looking around the path, like a curious child. “I’m sure if we go back to the library and apologize...”
Rainbow grabbed me by my backpack and ran down the hill, towards the sports field.
Some equipment was lying around the edges of the field. Unmarked lacrosse sticks, a soccer ball, a coat someone left behind. We were the only ones there.
Rainbow sat down on the bleachers, dug through my backpack and pulled out her assignment. I sat next to her. The coldness metal sent a chill up my back.
“You only have to correct my work, right?”
“Did you finish it?”
“All but the last question, yeah.”
I took the sheet and quickly scanned it for errors. She did much better this time. I circled the mistakes where I saw them, and made mental notes on where she still needed to improve.
“This is a lot-”
While I was working for her, Dashie has gotten comfortable. She had laid down on the belcher, on her back, her head hanging over the edge giving her an upside down view. Her arms and legs dangling limply over the side of the seat. Gravity pulled her bangs and ponytail down.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“Looking at the world from a different perspective. You should try it sometime.”
“Can you focus on the homework?”
“Did I do good?”
“Yeah, much better. This is about an 80 percent.”
"Sweet!" Rainbow pawed at my back until I handed her the homework. She looked at it upside-down. “That’s a higher C+….right?”
“A bit higher actually.”
“Right on!” She tried to high-five me as her fingers pointed downward. I obliged her. “Now lock it.”
“Never mind. So…is that it?”
“Well, we could study more. It couldn’t hurt.”
“We already got kicked out of the library. I’m thinking that’s a sign from the Egghead-gods to cut our losses while we still can.”
“Dashie, you’re not going to get better if you slack off all the time!”
“But this is just day one. And look how much progress we made!” All she needed to do was slow down and focus. I didn’t do much but coach her. Maybe she wasn’t a lost cause after all.
“Um...I guess I’d be okay if we stopped for today.”
“I guess I’ll see you tomorrow.”
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, you’re leaving?”
“Well yeah. What else is there to do?”
“Uh, you could hang out. Shoot the breeze. Veg for a bit.”
"Well..." I looked at the sky she was admiring. And remember those broken promises I made to myself. “…I guess a few minutes wouldn’t hurt.”
“There ya go..” I sat down...and said nothing. Neither did she. A bird chirped in one of the trees and another bird spoke back. “It’s getting’ colder.”
“Yeah. Winter is on its way.”
“I don’t like winter. It’s sooo boring. There’s nothing to do!”
“There’s stuff to do.”
“I mean stuff that’s not in a library.”
“Yeah, if it snows enough. But doing that every day? Please. I can’t stick with one thing all the time.”
“Except napping, right?”
"Okay, so there’s one thing.” She stretched and yawned without looking away from the sky above.
“So...what do you do for fun?”
“Whatever I feel like. But it’s harder when it’s cold outside.”
“I wouldn’t know. I’m not into extreme sports.”
“Or sports period.”
“Didn’t you say you played basketball?”
“Yeah. For about a year.”
“Why’d you stop?”
It just wasn’t my group.”
“Why not?” She liked asking that question. ‘Why not?’ Like a first answer was never enough.
“Schoolwork was more important. My other teammates didn’t feel the same way.”
“Of course they didn’t. They were there to play basketball, not talk about how Pie-thag-ora made the triangle.”
"His name was Pythagoras. And he made a theorem on triangles. He didn’t invent them.” Rainbow blinked. “How did you make it to senior year? Those theories are important.”
“To who?” She asked.
“To...a lot of people.”
“Name one person who isn’t a teacher or a student that thinks that is important.”
“Ha! Gottcha!” She let her head fall over the edge of her seat again. Her world was upside-down.
“So...I’m still curious.”
“What you were saying in the library. About your goals.”
“I have...one goal. It’s never changed.”
“Well, one official goal. I have plenty of smaller ones. Like be happy, enjoy where I am no matter what, not go to jail, that stuff.”
“But what is you big goal?”
Rainbow closed her eyes for a second and inhaled deeply. I saw her do that before, and like last time I felt the world stop moving.
“I want to go...” She raised her finger to the sky and pointed at a cloud. “...there.”
“Where?” I tilted my head and looked up, where she was pointing. I don’t think I saw what she wanted me to see…as usual
“You see that big blue thing?”
“Theee sky! Good job.”
"You want get your head in the clouds? You’ve done that already.”
“I want to live in the clouds. I want to fly. I’ve always wanted to fly. I’ve wanted to fly before I could ride a bike. Before I knew what a bike was. It’s always been my dream.”
Her face was practically glowing. She was not with me as she spoke. She had slipped back in time, drowning in a wave of nostalgia. The memories and experiences that made her who she was today swallowed her up for a minute.
“Yep. Flying. I’m sending in my application to the Air Force Academy as soon as I can.”
“So that’s what you meant earlier. Those are hard to get into. You have to be almost perfect physical condition...”
“...and your grades have to be great.”
“That’s where you come in. I’ve got good grades in everything else. It’s just...math. I don’t need flawless grades. I just need it to be higher enough so my GPA is above a 3.2. I’m getting B’s in everything else. So...”
“Wait, you need to take an advance math class to get in the Air Force Academy?”
“Yep, and a bunch of other ones. A few sciences, I took an engineering class at the community class over the summer.
“So…you’re taking advance math willing? I thought you said you got put in that class because you didn’t sign up for another on in time.”
“When did I say that?”
“The first day of school.”
“Oh. Yeah well…but…I didn’t know you back then. I tell everyone that.”
“Cause. I don’t want them knowing I….” She turned her head and ended that inquiry before it escalated. “…it’s not important But math. Yeah. Not to sound desperate but…I kinda need you Egghead.”
As she told me that, she somehow looked smaller. Less invincible.
“If it means that much to you...”
“Oh man, you have no idea. I’m gonna be big, I know it. I’ll bet I even get in the Wonderbolts.”
“The Wonderbolts? The stunt flyers?”
“They are almost the best in the world. They’ll become the best in the world after I join.”
“You wanna get into The Wonderbolts? That’s pretty ambitious.”
“It is me we’re talking’ about. But it’s not even about the Wonderbolts. I could get in them, I could not. The Big Goal has always been to get into an airplane by myself and make it move!”
Her head teetered over the edge of the bleachers again. Then...suddenly, she kicked her legs in the air. They flew over her head!
“Rainbow Dash!!” I moved to catch her, out of reflex, but before I could she landed on her palms and safely cart wheeled to her feet.
“I’ve spent enough time on the ground. I want to go up in the air and never come down.”
“Don’t do that again!”
“Don’t do what?”
“Fall off the bleachers.”
“Why not?” She smirked, teasingly. That question again...
“Cause, you might hurt yourself.”
“You might hurt yourself. I’ve done that a million times.”
You can still get hurt if you do it. I’m too young to have a heart attack.”
Wearing that irritatingly smug grin, she climbed the bleachers again, this time perching herself on the highest one. The tips of her sneakers teetered off the edge of the tallest rung, over ten feet off the ground.
“What are you doing?”
“...guess?” She turned around and raised her arms in the air.
“Wait, Rainbow! You can’t do that!”
“I can’t? Oh, it’s a good thing you told me that, cause then I would do this.” She slowly fell backwards, not seeing where she was going.
“No, no, wait!” I thought the worst first, and waited to hear her neck crack. But like before she caught herself on her small hands, flipped backwards, and cart wheeled a few meters away. She pivoted back one her feet with her arms high, and bowed.
“Go ahead. Tell me what else I can’t do.”
"You could have-”
“Yeah, but I didn’t!”
“But you could have!”
“But I didn’t.”
“What if you hurt yourself?!
“I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try it.”
“Yeah, because trying something out is more important than safety, right?!”
“I was being sarcastic!”
“Sarcasm or not, that was the smartest thing you’ve said since I met you. Why would you want to be safe all the time? Nothing cool happens when there’s no chance of messing up.”
She jogged back up the bleachers, back to the highest one. She balanced on the edge with one foot in the air like a tightrope walker and used her arms to balance and play a game where switched feet as fast as she could without falling. Just to mess with me, I’m sure.
“How can...why....I don’t...ugh, you are just...”
“Why am I so cool? So awesome? So radical? I know I’m a lot to take in, so pace yourself. Bask in my stupendousness.”
“You don’t have to do that to impress me.”
“Yeah no shit. I’m not doing it to impress anyone. I’m doing it because it’s fun.” Again, she did a flawless back flip off the bleachers, safely landing on the ground. My heart raced.
“I’ll stop when I am dead. Or in a wheelchair. She paused, balancing on one leg for a moment. “Actually, I think I’d still do awesome stuff in a wheelchair. You can rail grind while sitting down, right?”
She jumped next to me and sat on the bleacher next to mine, once again on her back looking up towards the sky again. My heart was still pounding. Rainbow was relaxed. She had switched gears from ‘energetic’ to ‘calm’ before I had time to catch my breath.
“We can study tomorrow, right?” She asked.
” Yeah. Sure.”
“Awesome.” Another silent moment. The sky rumbled softly. A few drops fell on my forehead. “Did you feel that?
More raindrops fell on Rainbow’s face. She didn’t move. “If you could have a superpower, what would it be?” She asked as her face got wet.
“I don’t know. I don’t usually-”
“I think I’d pick weather control. I’d pick flying too if I could, but weather control would be equally awesome. I’d be like ‘Get out of here rain clouds!’. And they’d listen. Or if I didn’t want to go to school, I could make it snow. Or make it rain when it’s really, really hot out.” The drizzle picked up. Rainbow still didn’t budge. I covered my head.
“Maybe I could make a tornado.”
"Why would you want to make a tornado?”
“I don’t know. If I can control the weather, why not? It’d be fun to ride one of those. I think. I haven’t tried it yet.”
“Now would be a good time to run inside.”
“Get out of here rain clouds!” Rainbow shouted at the top of her lungs. The sky answered with a soft growl.
“I don’t think they are going to listen.”
“Wait. Give them at least ten seconds.”
I waited. To humor her. “They must not have heard you.” I said jokingly.
Rainbow sat up. A splash of water flicked off her bangs.
“Is the rain bothering you?”
"I don’t like getting wet.”
A wicked smiled on her face appeared before she shook her head like a dog and flicked her hair around. “How’d that feel?”
“Yep. That’s water for you.” Rainbow stood up and patted my shoulder.
“Thanks for the study session Egghead. See you tomorrow.”
"Yeah. See yeah.” She darted off. “Wait! I still have your homework!”
“Hold on to it!” She hollered back to me and kept running. I officially decided that that she was the weirdest girl I’ve ever met.
The sky roared at me again so I ran. I told myself I’d give her the assignment tomorrow.
The storm started dying down right after I got back to my dorm room. I replayed the odd conversation Rainbow and I had as I dried off.
Not taking the future seriously…what a ridiculous idea. She was supposed to study hard and get good grades. That was what you were supposed to do.
My phone buzzed again, this time with a phone call.
“Hi. How did your study session go?” She got right to the point.
“It was...interesting. Rainbow is definitely going to be hard to teach.”
“Right. Um...I’m sorry I couldn’t show up.”
“You had things to do, I know how it goes.”
“...are...you...um…about Rainbow Dash and this study session. I think that...um...I...”
“I’ll call you later.” She hung up. I shrugged. It probably wasn’t important.
I took threw on a dry set of clothes, then sat down to finished the homework I still had.
I swore I heard Rainbow Dash say “You’re such a dork.” as I opened my planner.
What a pain. Even when I was alone, she bugged me.
Why did she have to say things like that? Telling me I worry too much, making inappropriate jokes…ones I laughed at…and putting weird thoughts in my head, ones I wasn’t supposed to have.
“There is nothing wrong with getting good grades!” I argued out loud with my own anxiety. An argument I was losing.
I ended up pacing in my room for hours, only glancing at my textbook now and then. I don’t know why. It was habit, it was something I just did/. Because if whatever higher force up there saw me not studying, I’d be in trouble.
I hated that I thought that way. It was ingrain in my personality at this point. And I knew it, and couldn’t stop think about it now.
Rainbow Dash didn’t touch a nerve. She stabbed it until it bled.
“She’s just thinks I’m different because she’s not as smart as I am.” I bitterly rationalized the situation. That helped make the world more logical…for a minute.
Then I recalled that Rainbow Dash never cared. She never questioned things, she did them. She probably said all that stuff because they were the first things that came to her head, things that sprang from her soul. But that made me more annoyed because that means she was that confident.
It drove me crazy that someone, anyone, could know themselves that well and be that unabashed about it. I knew who I was, I think. I was sure I did. Rainbow was so confident and knew exactly what she was and it made me jealous…
“…oh…oh…” A ton of bricks hit me. The was it. “…I’m jealous.” Rainbow knew who she was. And I didn’t.
My identity had changed since I came here, but it honestly was never established to begin with. I wanted say it was because I was still a teenage and that my life was supposed to be a bit confusing, but that felt like an excuse.
Somewhere between being born and today, I had forgotten myself. Rainbow was everything I wished I was.
Before I knew it, it was 11 o’clock and I had spent hours stressing out over a few comments a girl made. It made me feel silly.
And as I closed my eyes and entered what was sure to be a bad night’s rest, I swore I could hear Rainbow laughing, smugly bragging of how incredible she was.
Rainbow Dash was so awesome. And I was just me.