Sally walked me to school, which turned out to be of the private just-for-girls variety, a brisk twenty-minute walk from the house. Naturally, she insisted we hold hands. By daylight, the neighborhood matched the house: late Fifties, solidly middle class. I was briefly surprised by the number and variety of men we ran into along the way, politely greeting Miss Sanders and her young ward, until I noticed one of them scrambling into his car and racing off to work as soon as Sally’s legs were out of sight.
Clearly this wasn’t the first time she’d gone for a morning stroll along this route. Perhaps I should assume the role of her duenna and begin evaluating suitors for suitability; I certainly had the age and experience for the job, as well as a vested interest in the outcome.
None of them seemed to attract her interest, which I thought boded well for her standards, and, distracted by my own evaluations, I was surprised when we soon reached the school’s surprisingly sturdy gates. The resemblance to a prison was hopefully only in my head.
I didn’t need to fake a cheery farewell, because I was honestly relieved that Sally’s mystery job hadn’t turned out to be at my school. More on that later, when I had some time alone with my new memories. I headed into the courtyard and started checking out my fellow inmates.
Priority one was Finding A Friend. The older girls were out, although I appreciated the way they’d subtly modified their uniforms to be less depressingly uniform. Apparently rebellion wasn’t taught until the fifth grade, though, unless I could take it as an elective. Unfortunately, this meant that my fellow first-graders were a pretty dull bunch, and I was having trouble spotting any that showed any potential.
“Your mom’s really pretty and sweet.”
“Huh? Yeah, Aunt Sally’s a peach. Excuse me.” Damn, I could barely tell them apart. What did women actually look for when making friends?
“My name’s Katherine, but I don’t like it and I wish I had a good nickname. What’s yours?”
So much for being able to focus. “Count your blessings, kid; you could do a lot worse than Katherine, trust me.”
“Kit? That’s a great nickname! Oh, we’re going to be such good friends!”
Seriously, Powers? Could you be a little less subtle, here? I turned to look at My New Friend, and realized that I’d have to (shudder) say my name out loud for the first time. “I’m Virginia. I guess it’s nice to meet you, Kit.”
I did not kill her for having the red hair and freckles I’d been cruelly denied in my reincarnation. At least the face bore no resemblance to my old one; I guess even the Old Man knew not to push me too far on my first day.
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