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Spotlight - Chapter 9

The different, I came here looking for.
-Alice-

Colin and I were soon a magnetic pull.

Always walking together in school, breakfast dates at the coffee shop, and laughing while he stocked shelves at the hardware store. Sometimes on slow days, he would read me short stories, poems, or plays from Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Poe, Mark Twain and other famous authors. My favorite story he read me was 'A Midsummer Nights Dream'. In the midst of all the confusion and trickery, love still prevailed and won at the end.

"You've been a lot better, Alice," said Dr. Carlson skeptically at the end of our session one day.

"I don't know. I'm just really happy." I smile at her from the couch.

"Why do you think that is?" She shut her notebook to reassure me this was personal.

"I have just found a life that I'm falling in love with and I never knew existed." I sigh contently.

"What part do you think, didn't exist before?" Her question makes me stop to think before I continued.

"No motives."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, back in my world," I referred to my celebrity life. "you weren't sure if people were your friend because of your lifestyle. Or if your boyfriend loved you because he was hoping it would help out his father's campaign. If you got the lead in the musical because your father is a famous singer. But here, it's so more real. Genuine."

"So, do you like this life better than your old life?" The comment took me back.

"I'm not sure. I don't think so. However, it has showed me how to tell the difference between authentic and fake. So, when I do return to England, I'll be able to be a better, different person."

"Different as in a good, different or bad different?"

"The different I came here looking for," I answer.

I walked, happily into the hardware store after my sessions. Colin didn't know about me seeing Dr. Carlson yet, he thought I had to help Anna until 4:30, when I came to the hardware store.

"Jason's helping Miss Grant fix her gutter, so he won't be back for a while," Colin smiles when he sees me.

"Does this mean you're going to read to me?" I beam, picking up the book on the counter seeing the title "Hamlet".

"Or you could read to me while I stock?" He picks up a giant box that rattled. I followed him down the narrow isle before he stopped in front of the batteries. I pulled up a spinning stool. For the next hour I read to him Hamlet. When he was finished he sat and listened to me. At one point I stopped, "Why did you stop?" He watched me with careful eyes.

"Do you think Hamlet was really mad? Or just acting mad?" I asked him.

"I mean if he is acting, he is doing a really good job. Lying to everyone, even the girl your supposed to be in love with?" Colin shook his head, running his fingers through his hair.

"What if someone you cared about was lying to you?" I stop spinning on my stool.

"At the end of the day lying is lying so I guess it would be hard. But, it depends on what they were lying about," he relaxed back, placing both hands behind his head.

"What if it was about who they are?" I dug a little farther.

"Well, they would have no need to lie to me about who they are. I can't stand people who are fake, though. Pretending to be something you're not doesn't cut it for me," he shakes his head again. My heart sunk. There was no way I could tell him the truth and expect him to understand. "Keep reading, I like listening to your accent."

"You're the one with the accent," I poke fun just to lighten the mood. However, as I kept reading I couldn't help but think of his words.

That night I stared at my reflection in the mirror. I remember when my ears weren't pierced, my hair was long and blonde, and I wore Ralph Lauren almost every day. I let my fingers tangle themselves up in my shoulder length brown hair. The flannel of my shirt against my blue jeans seemed so normal now, it was as if Alice McCreed was no longer visible and now I was only Ali Colette.

What if I'm fake... just like Colin said?

"ALICE!" There was a thudding knock on the door.

"Yes?" I open the door to the bathroom to find Jason with the phone in his hand.

"It was ringing, non-stop in your room so I checked it and it's your father." He smiled, knowing I'd been waiting for this news for a long time now.

"Dad!?" I practically scream in the phone.

"There's my darlings voice!" I could just see the smile on his face that he shared so often with me in my childhood.

"Dad, I miss you so much." I felt the tears streaming down before I even got the phrase out of my mouth.

"I know my sweet. I miss you even more. It has felt like years over here," he informed me, creating a lump in my throat.

"How's Mother?" I am eager to ask.

"She is doing well. Having a bit of a hard time coping without you here, but we all know it's for the best." He tells me slowly but surely. We spent a total of thirty minutes talking on the phone before he was pulled away from work.

"Keep holding in there, my love." He wished me. "I can't wait for you to come home. Love you, Alice."

"Goodbye Dad!" I cheerfully say the bitter goodbye that never wanted to escape my lips. Hearing him say my name was refreshing, as if I hadn't lost who I was. I couldn't lie, I almost felt as if everything was changing me into Ali and I was no longer Alice. The strangest part of it was I didn't mind changing into Ali.

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Published: 1/19/2013
Bouquets and Brickbats