It all began, 10 years ago on my first day of international spy school. The beautiful town of *transmission break* is home to gas lantern street posts, side walks flanked by weeping willows, and a light snow fall that comes each day at 5pm, regardless the time of year. My eyes were sleepy from the hectic pace of the day, as I was shuffled from my motorbike, to my room, to my floor meeting, and now to the middle of campus wearing a red scarf and chanting the names of our schools fore-parents. Everyone seemed excited, almost in a drug induced haze, and the mid day sky matched this atmosphere by changing its skin from baby blue to zesty magenta. My tummy began to rumble, and the sight of the communal fire pit a blaze with charred meat was all so enticing. I felt around for some spare coins, only to realize I had left them my room. ‘Dang it’, I mumbled to myself. Then, as if some food angel heard my whimper, I see a hand holding a smoky piece of meat in front of my face. My eyes re-focus and I see a beautiful girl, perhaps my age, standing there. She had black curls that were like springs, her eyes as blue as a mediterranean sea. Her skin was white porcelain… a little too white porcelain that had me concerned for her iron intake, but it was still beautiful nonetheless. “Here” she said with a sweet smile. At first I tried to refuse, as not wanting to deny her an iron source. But she kindly insisted, saying that she could get as much as she liked. I shyly took the food from her hands, and said a small thank you for her gesture. I took a bite, anxious to mute the hunger monster shouting at me. The girl then said, “I’m Katie. Who are you?” With a stuffed mouth I managed to get out a muffled “mm Sharagh”
It was then 9 years ago, this time on my 7th day of my 2nd year at international spy school. I was twiddling a dandelion with my right hand fingers, humming a song about a girl with green eyes. Sitting on a stone bench beside the communal fire pit, I was waiting to meet up with a new friend, Katie. Yes, the very same Katie with the black spring curls, Mediterranean blue eyes, and dangerously white skin. It had been a year and a few days since our first meeting, and during that time our main interactions consisted of a few shared meals with our dorm family, and courtesy smiles on the cobblestone paths. But this year, I can’t say why, things seemed to click. Upon returning back to school for a new year, our friendship hit the big times, and we spent a record shattering 57 hours straight together, talking and laughing like we had known each other since our diaper days. We were now going to meet up to join in a traditional spy school game of hide and seek in the willow forest, and as I looked to my right I see my Katie walking and chatting excitedly with a teeny, tiny, red headed pixie. She wore purple mary-jane shoes, an evergreen green kilt, and a gray felt bowler that added a few kind inches to her height. “HI!” Katie greeted me. “Hai!” the red headed pixie chimed. “This is Chelsie” (pixies have names?) “She’s new to our dorm, has great glasses, and comes from a place even colder than here”. “Cool, great to meet you. By any chance, Chelsie do you like the band Hotwork?” “Hmmm” Chelsie pondered, “I don’t think so. Why, you like them?” Katie and I exchanged grins. “Actually, the lead singer is my fiance” I replied. While she didn’t say anything back, the narration in Chelsie’s eyes gave away that she thought I was a little to young to be engaged.
It was then 9 years ago still, only now 2 months and 4 days into my second year at international spy school. The weather had significantly cooled, and the 5pm snowings moved to an early show time of 1pm. Wool socks, black stretchies, and an oversize gray sweater kept me warm since my humble dorm rooms radiator decided to go on strike. A knock at the door, and a shout that its open, and my two new favourite ladies streamed in. Katie holding a deep orange box from our favorite eatery, Chelsie smiling as she holds up a sac of sweets. I am about to remark that I’ll soon start to wind the film in the projector, when I notice someone standing behind Katie. It was a girl, with honey coloured hair layered around her head, brown eyes like chocolate, and a shy stance that made your heart melt. Never surprised at the numerous friends Katie can so fabulously accumulate, I was not the least bit thrown off by our new friend joining us. “Hi, welcome to my room! Do you like Baz?” “Um, sorta I suppose. Im Millie”. Now one of the first lessons they go through at spy school is that one of the most common deception techniques is changing your name. I had a tiny pinch in my belly that said this girl was doing me once over on her real name, but then I looked down and saw she had brought chocolate covered pretzels. I decided real name or not, I want this girl as my friend. A few exchanges of what spy heros we envied, which governments we wanted to infiltrate, and whether we were darcy or clever girls, got the bond string stung. Four girls, four spy kits, four friends*