“Silva!” I call out in delight, running across the grass toward her. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Hey, Christi,” she responds, laughing and giving me a hug.
“Alright. Basic info. Emma Dye, always called Silva, age fourteen, tenth grade. Before we really start, is there anything you want to note?”
“Don’t ever call me Emma. I’m Silva.” Her blue eyes glitter. “I hate it when my friends use my actual name. Somehow I got so used to being called Silva. I blame Lee Anna Davis.”
“Alright. Do you have any siblings?”
“Three irritating older siblings. Actually, I’ve changed my mind. Only one of them is really that irritating. There’s Anne: she’s twenty and a TPS veteran. Then Maggie, who is eighteen and also a TPS veteran. Finally, my brother Ethan (the annoying one) who is sixteen and a current TPS student.” She tilts her head slightly and seems to consider her situation. “I guess I’ll just hope he doesn’t see this interview.”
I laugh and shake my head teasingly at her. “Do y’all have any pets?”
“No. And I’m very annoyed about it. However, our neighbors have a lot of cats. One of them really likes me for some reason.” She laughs softly. “I can’t go outside without that cat jumping on me.”
I grin in response to her infectious enthusiasm. “Do you know your personality type?”
“Well, I’m mostly ambivert, but a little more introverted so INFP-T. On the enneagram, I’m a three.” She shrugged.
“Hm… describe yourself in three words” I ask, tilting my head.
“Chaotic, stressed and… weird?” She frowns thoughtfully. “Isn’t everyone weird though?”
“I know I am!” I do my best to not laugh too loudly. “What’s your favorite color, book, movie, and food? Oh, and song. Forgot that one.”
“I love sky blue. If I had to pick a favorite book it would probably be either the Wheel of Time series or Mistborn. As for movies, probably something like Pirates of the Caribbean because it’s really funny. Favorite food? You have to ask? Ice cream! I really like Rachel Platten’s song “Fight Song.” It just represents, well, me.” She bounces up and down energetically.
“How many courses are you taking?”
“At TPS, I’m taking AP U.S. History with Mr. Mailand, Precalculus with Mrs. Crosby, Introduction to Nursing with Mrs. Monfreda, English 4: Western Literature with Mrs. Huisman, and Spanish 1 with Senora Falk. Outside of TPS, I’m just taking AP Chem and dying. It’s fine. I am a Dye.”
I open my eyes wide in surprise. “That’s a heavy load. I can see why you always feel tired and busy. Which ones are your favorite and least favorite?”
“My favorite subject is Introduction to Nursing. I love it so much! I’m sure you can’t possibly guess why given what I want to pursue in my life. As for least favorite: I’m sorry Mr. Mailand, but I can’t handle APUSH. You’re a fantastic teacher! It’s the curriculum I hate.” A mix of guilt and amusement crosses her face. “The list of people I’m hoping don’t read this is rapidly growing.”
I laugh. “Where have you traveled?”
“I counted this the other day on a dare from a friend. I’ve been to twenty-five of the fifty states (don’t ask me to name them all right now) but I’ve never been outside the United States, sadly.” Her eyes shimmer with a hidden joke. “I would love to visit Egypt though…”
I tilt my head. “Why?”
“Because she wants to visit me!” A voice shouts in the background. Both of us spin around in time to see fellow TPSer Lee Anna dart away from where she’s been eavesdropping. We exchange exasperated looks and then begin to laugh helplessly. Several minutes pass before we recover enough to continue.
“Do you speak any other languages?” I finally manage to say, struggling to catch my breath.
She takes a deep breath. “English. A little Spanish. Sign Language. Pig Latin (don’t tell me it doesn’t count. It counts). A little German. A word or two of French and Russian. Oh, and I speak fluent Dye. It’s great for confusing friends.” Her eyes sparkle with amusement.
I shake my head at her extended list of partially made up languages, wondering where she gets her attitude. “Do you have any hobbies?”
“I swim, play a little piano, write a lot (Silva the evil author!) and read.”
“What’s an embarrassing memory you could share?”
Her eyes flash in protest. “Why do I feel like you put this one in here just for me? If you must know… I tripped on a treadmill and shattered my front teeth. That was really embarrassing! You try walking around with half of your teeth missing.”
I wince. “That sounds painful. Moving on. What are some things you want to do before college?”
“Survive high school. Other than that, I hope to be able to attend TPS summer camp and meet all my TPS friends. I’m afraid I may have already lost that battle because I don’t think my parents will ever let me.”
“Aww. I wish I could see you at camp, and I’m sure Lee Anna would love to as well. What advice would you give your younger self?”
Silva laughs. “Don’t do stupid things? Use thy time wisely; don’t procrastinate so much. You’ll just build a bad habit for your future self, and I really don’t appreciate it. What’s done is done, I suppose. On the other hand, I might say you’re doing great! Don’t stress about your life so much!” She shakes her head. “Technically, I only have myself to blame, but my past self is a different person, right?”
I ponder this question. “If that were true, we’ve passed through a thousand different versions of ourselves in this interview alone…”
“Fair point. So I guess I have to take the blame.” She shrugs good-naturedly.
I shake my head teasingly. “It’s all your fault. Okay, since it’s December – what are some of your Christmas traditions?”
“Well, we usually just – read the Christmas story from Luke, and sing hymns, and do presents? Normal things?”
“Ah, fun! Is there a Bible verse you’d like to leave us with?”
She considers this for a moment. “Psalms 119:105, which reads ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,’ or possibly Proverbs 3: 5-6, which says ‘Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths,’ or possibly… You know what, I’m gonna stop here, or we really will be here all day!” She laughs again, and I wonder how she became such a cheerful human.
I look up and smile. “Thanks, Silv!”