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Head Over Heels
an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

January 4: Day of Transcendental Boredom

Due to a state of isolation-induced monotony bordering on epidemic, I actually sunk to an all-time nadir today. To cheer myself up, I willfully, even gladly submitted to an online practice SAT test. I got a 640 on the verbal section, which is pretty venerable but still disappointing considering the breadth and magnitude of my vocabulary. The problem is, I’ve always sucked at standardized tests. I’m too slow. I’ll sit for a full two minutes just thinking about what a word really means, and by the time my fifty minutes is up, I’ll still have ten questions left.

I went to my bank’s website to check my account balance—not an uplifting exercise. Christmas crushed me. As of now, I’m worth a grand total of $16.13, which, considering how I feel, is remarkably accurate.

Then I checked e-mail. Two new messages. None from Jeremy. One junk mail, and this one, from Luke:

Dear Francesca,
Our episode of tranquil cogitation together on New Year’s has increased my desire to make permanent peace with you. So, if you are willing and able, I would like to extend my friendship, in hopes that, by way of some perfectly benign hang-out session, I could fully expiate my sins and leave our ridiculous imbroglio (which was, admittedly, my fault) behind us.
                      Lucas Barton

I thought about it. I came to a decision and, before my better instincts could dissuade me from enacting upon it, e-mailed him back.

Dear Lucas,
I appreciate your sincere apology, which, considering the insidiousness of your offense, as well as its deleterious effect on my psyche, was a distinct step toward your exoneration. The next and final step on your “road map” to amnesty is as follows: On the evening of January 13th, at 7:15 pm, you will arrive at my house at 3370 Wembley Lane, skateboard in tow, as a special guest appearance at the birthday party of my younger brother, Rico. You will doubtless be asked to do a few “Ollies,” or tricks, or whatever it is you people do. You will comply with their demands in full and, if you perform to my satisfaction (I won’t be present, per se, but will be observing from afar), then you will be fully exculpated. At that time, we will see if circumstances permit a harmless hang-out session between us, as this appears to be an oxymoron. Please post your reply within 24 hours, so I can relay it to Rico, who, for reasons I will never fathom, has deified you as some sort of modern-day teenage Prometheus.
                      Francesca Castarelli
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