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3 days after I switched my alley around, I bumped into another guy. Ed gave me butterflies, but this guy made my stomach flip flop, my face got hot, and I felt clumsier. I said hi to him anyways, because I didn’t know what to do about my stomach, and he answered back. “My stomach hurts.” I told him, and he offered to take me to MacDonald’s. “I love MacDonald’s.” I stated and he laughed. “Great! I’m Princeps. It’s not a common name, Princeps is Latin for prince, or leader.”
“You look prince” I foolishly blurted. Princeps laughed again and responded “Why thank you! Let’s head over to MacDonald’s.” When we got over to MacDonald’s, He asked where I lived, like Ed did. I pointed to my alley again, and he said “Oh! You’re that girl my brother Ed told me about! With the alley and no… parents.” I shrugged and I could tell Princeps felt bad. About a minute passed and suddenly, Princeps’ face lit up! He said “Follow me!” so I did. I could kind of walk, but when I did, I looked like a robot. Princeps looked back at me and laughed because of how I was walking. I smiled at him and kept walking. He took me to a place made with bricks. The outside looked grim and gloomy but on the inside, it was colorful. He took me inside, which was filled with kids my age. I looked around for someone who would tell me where Princeps was taking me, and I saw her. The girl I bumped into a year ago. She was being followed by 5 other girls who were copying her moves and hand positions. She pointed at me and told her friends “Look! It’s a rug rat I saw on the street last year! What’s she doing in Nia Ciara Middle School?” School! That was one of the vocabulary words I learned from Ed. He said it was “A place to learn.” So that was why Princeps was bringing me here! So I could learn! I stopped Princeps in his tracks. “This is school?” I asked Princeps.
“Yes, this is where you can learn new words!” The girl I bumped into burst into laughter. A second later, her encore did the same. “Hear that, girls? She can’t even talk!”
“She can talk very well!” Princeps fought for me
“Riiight. And I’m not Jessica Treasure!” The girl named Jessica Treasure protested.
“Then maybe you’re not Jessica Treasure.” Princeps proclaimed. The girl realized who she was talking to and said “I’m sorry, Princey-poo.”
“It’s Princeps. Pronounced Prin – Cheps. Get it right!” Princeps apparently did not like being called Princey-poo. I wouldn’t either. We left Jessica and her in-crowd and kept walking to a small room with writing on the door. I couldn’t read the writing yet, but I could tell it was where we needed to go because it was the first time Princeps had stopped since we saw Jessica. He opened the door and I saw a man behind a desk that looked full of paper. The room smelled like a big sheet of paper and the man behind the desk looked busy and at work. He didn’t see us at first, so Princeps knocked at the door. The man looked up and said “Ah, Princeps! Come in!”
“Thank you,” Princeps replied “I would like to enroll my friend here, um, what’s your name?” I racked my brain. Name. Name. Princeps needs my name. Wait a second, do I even have a name? I pondered quietly. I… don’t think so. “None.” I told the Desk Man. He seemed to think I was kidding. “Well then, let’s make you a new one! Hmm, Georgia? Francesca? Isabella? What do you think, Princeps?”
“I myself have always liked Arabic names.”
“Well then, Karina? No, Mariam? Nayeli! You don’t look like a Nayeli. Salma. Ok, Salma.” said the man.
“Allie!” Princeps exclaimed “It’s perfect! Because of the alley around the block! It’s Arabic, too!”
“Ok!” Said the Man Behind the Desk “Now, what’s your real name?”
“Allie?” I told him. I had never had a name before, so I didn’t know how to tell him that Allie was the only name I had.
“No, not the one we gave you, your name. From your parents.” Princeps gave a small gasp, like he was hoping the man wouldn’t say that. He exhaled and whispered something in the Desk Man’s ear. The Man Behind the Desk mouthed “Oh!” and his eyebrows went up. Then, his bushy eyebrows curved making a worried look. Princeps continued whispering and the man’s pupils got tiny, his face got white, and his eyebrows stayed in their curved position and raised high. I laughed out loud because of his expression, and his face became red and his eyebrows lowered and grew slanted. “If you want to laugh, young lady, do it somewhere else. Do not laugh because I am concerned for your safety! Do not laugh because of my eyebrow!” I noticed how he said “eyebrow” instead of “eyebrows.” I looked at his forehead and saw a brown, fuzzy caterpillar where his eyebrows should be. But he wasn’t done! “And do not laugh AT YOUR PRINCIPAL!!” His face was purple and his tie looked busted. His caterpillar was stuck in that one angry position and his hair went everywhere. I had to snicker again. He started shaking. I could practically see the steam coming out of his ears. I couldn’t help it. I burst out into a laughing fit on the floor. Even Princeps stifled a giggle. He was about to blow. I could tell. “Out.” I told Princeps, and then I ran. I ran and I would not stop until I reached outside. There were kids my age running laps following a woman wearing a track suit. I noticed that all the kids were wearing the same thing, a red t-shirt and beige shorts. I wondered how the kids coordinated that. They must’ve been very good friends, I thought, to all decide to wear the same thing on the same day. I decided to go back inside where I saw that all the people inside the school were wearing the same, too! Well, not exactly I noticed. The girls were wearing red or navy blue collared shirts and beige skirts. The boys wore red or navy blue collared shirts as well with either beige shorts or beige pants. I kept going to the small room with the wooden walls and desk. I reached the door and opened it. I looked around. I couldn’t find Princeps, but the Principal was coming right towards me with that purple look on his face.
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