By Jorge Lara
“Come on; we’re gonna be late!” Madison said, grabbing her clothes. She quickly stuffed her suitcase full of random junk and lugged it down the stairs. “Mom!”
“I heard you! I’m not as fast as I used to be. Would you calm down? I know you’re excited, but I need a second,” Malissa said, sitting down on the couch. Madison’s mom was almost fifty. She loved her mom, but she loved the idea of getting out of that house more. “Okay, are you all packed?”
“Yes, yes, I’m good. Dorian is waiting at the airport. If we don’t leave, now I won’t hear the end of it. That’s two hours of non-stop. “I told you so’s.” You know how annoying he can be.” Madison opens the front door and throws her bag outside. It lands in the open trunk. “She shoots; she scores! As you can see, my basketball skills are legendary. Briarwood University thought so.”
“And I’m so proud of you. Who knew that scout was in the audience. Briarwood is hard to get into. I’m glad you and Dorian got in.” Malissa stood up and took a deep breath. “Okay, the last thing, let’s do the checklist.”
“Mom, I have everything. I promise I’m good,” Madison crossed her arms.
“Yes, I got it.”
“Enough clothes to last a few months?”
“What about money for food and emergencies?”
“I have all my cards. Let’s go, please!”
“Okay, fine,” Malissa said, grabbing her keys. Madison ran to the car and got in the passenger seat. She could practically see her freedom. In a few hours, her new life would begin. No one could tell her what to do, or when to be back home, or what to wear. She would be her own boss. The thought was intoxicating.
Madison opened her email from Briarwood University. Only the most talented and sophisticated individuals could attend. You had to be scouted to be able to even be considered for admission. Then they have to conduct an interview, and if you’re lucky, you get a callback. That’s the most stressful part. Waiting. Madison waited for months before she heard anything back. She almost gave up hope when a black envelope came in the mail. She had gotten in and on a full-ride too. Thanks to her basketball talent.
“You should have printed it out. I could have framed it for you.”
“Haha. Very funny, Mom. Can you blame me? I’ve been waiting for this since high school. I’m beyond hyped. Oh, hold on, getting a call from Dorian. Hello?”
“Late,” Dorian said.
“I know. We had to handle something.”
“You waited until the last minute to pack, didn’t you?”
“I wouldn’t say the last minute. I was busy last night.”
“You had three months, Maddie.”
“I’ve been swamped! Tch, like you know.”
Dorian laughed. “Uh-huh, sure you were. Just get here, okay. Or I’ll tell the pilot to leave you.”
“Don’t you dare!” Madison said, disconnecting. “The nerve!”
“How is Dorian?”
“Annoying…he’s fine,” Madison said. Dorian had been her best friend since middle school. While she was off practicing her free throws, he was dominating the science club. He was incredibly smart. Which eventually was noticed by Briarwood scouts. Dorian had come up with a way to harness solar energy without the use of solar panels. Madison didn’t understand a word he said when it came to that stuff, but she knew he was invested.
“Well, tell him I’m proud of him. His grades were always top of your class. You could learn something from him.”
“I did well enough to get by. My strength is in sports. I’m smart too. I got all A’s in gym and English.”
“What about the others? Math, Science, History?”
“I still passed them,” Madison said, looking out the window. “It’s not a competition.”
“I never said it was. Listen, I just want you to be the best you can be. Sports aren’t everything. That can only get you so far. If you don’t have a good education, where is that going to leave you?”
Madison was already tuning her mother out. “What does she know? I got a full-ride because of sports. That got me pretty far.” Madison thought. They rode in silence to the airport. When Madison found her gate, she quickly got her things out of the car.
“Don’t leave mad. I love you, Madison,” Malissa said.
“Love you, Mom,” Maidson said, walking quickly inside. The airport was packed. “Alright, where is Gate 23?” She found a directory and saw it was on the other side of the building. “Oh, great.” Madison hurried to the gate. She was already late, and she didn’t feel like hearing Dorian’s mouth. After running for what felt like forever, she finally collapsed at the gate entrance. “I made it!” Madison said, out of breath. It wasn’t until she opened her eyes that she saw Dorian staring down at her. “I know. Late.”
“Very,” Dorian smiled, extending his hand towards her and helping her to her feet. “What was the hold-up?” He asked as they sat down on a bench.
“What’s always the hold-up? My mom. She took forever to get ready. Then she had the nerve to tell me the reason I got into Briarwood couldn’t get me far. How could she say that?”
“You know parents? They want you to be good at stuff that can help you. She knows you like basketball and that you’re good at it. It’s like how parents think that playing video games can’t help you get a job. While that may be true in some cases, people have proved them wrong. I know a lot of billionaires, CEOs of major video game companies,” Dorian said, watching the planes land.
“I’m just glad to be out of that house. We’re finally free! I can’t wait to hit some awesome parties!”
“What parties? You’re just going to do what you always do. Stay inside and watch cheesy horror movies,” Dorian laughed.
“No, I’m not. Plus, my mom made me promise I would go out and join something. We had a long talk last night. I’ll find something, I guess. What do you want to do?”
“I want to check out the clubs. If they have a science team, I need to know my competition.”
“Duh, the other scouted students. I’m not the only science nerd there. You need to look out too. I bet the basketball team is no joke. I heard they never lost a game.”
Madison hadn’t given it much thought. She was excited to check out the team, but she didn’t even think about the other players. Each one of them was hand-picked by the school. Each one of them had serious skills. “No pressure, right?” She laughed.
“I’m just saying. Just remember that your skills got you here. So did theirs.” Dorian looked at the monitor and smiled. “Boarding time.”
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Elodie lafortuneMar 3, 2022