Laughing, we embrace in the middle of the room. Eventually, we manage to regain some semblance of sanity and sit down at the table. I fold my hands and grin at her.
“Moriah Thomas. Fifteen at the beginning of February. Freshman.” I look down at a sheet of paper. “Where do you live?”
“Connecticut. Some would say it’s the most boring state in the US, but it’s quiet and I appreciate that. Anyway, I’m just outside the city of New Haven.”
“Wonderful. What classes are you taking? ”
“Pre-AP Biology with Dr. Rockholm, Psychology and Counseling with Dr. Rathmell, Medieval History and Literature with Dr. Leake and Mr. Crosby, and German 3 with Frau Young. And don’t even try asking me if I’m fluent because the only things I know how to say are ‘you are some pretty spinach’ or ‘give me a beer, broccoli face.’” She pauses and then adds, as an afterthought, “Oh, I take math outside of TPS.”
“Which are your favorites?”
“This is actually really hard. I think my favorite has to be Psychology and Counseling, but Biology comes in as a close second because I get to argue with Caroline Housworth about the superiority of Cheetos over Cheez-Its for most of the hour and a half.”
“I have three older brothers. Ezra, Benjamin, and Abraham all took TPS classes at some point and are now currently in college. Pets? I have an Alaskan Malamute. Her name is Fire and she’s exceedingly grumpy. She has the strange ability to eat basically anything and not get sick. She’s eaten everything from Klondike bar wrappers to metal screws.”
“Wow, she sounds like a handful. Do you remember your personality type?”
Moriah attempts to remain serious as she looks me dead in the eye. “Taller than you. Does that count?”
I facepalm. “Riah…”
She sits back and laughs. “I’m an ISFJ-T. I don’t generally have much interest in personality type quizzes, but 16personalities is quite lovely because of the part that says I’m 10% thinking and 90% feeling. It’s proof for anyone that I do in fact have a couple of brain cells. I believe I’m also I’m a 9 wing 1 on the enneagram.”
“Ah, nice. What are your favorite songs? And favorite movie… and favorite anything.” I brace myself for the slew of inevitable songs.
“‘twenty one pilots’ is my favorite band. Much to the disapproval of many people, Shawn Mendes is my favorite artist, followed closely by NF and Billie Eilish. I have four favorite songs right now… is that okay?” At a nod from me, she continues. “First, “Fix You” by Coldplay…just because. Next on the list is “Motivated” by NF; I highly recommend listening to this on repeat because it gives the same effects as drinking coffee. Third, “I Can’t Sleep” by Powfu and Sarcastic Sounds. Finally, “Heart of God” by Hillsong. Oh, movie? The best movie on the planet, aka Tangled. I love Converse. Everyone should own a pair, in my humble opinion.” She pauses and eyes my Vans dubiously. “I also love the word frankly–I could say it all day.”
“Aside from frankly, what are your catchphrases?”
“When I’m mad: go kiss a tree, no you, ‘ucklehead’, and ‘nidiot.’ I think there are more, but they’re copyrighted.”
“What’s something about you that isn’t obvious?”
“I’m a morning person. If I get enough sleep, I function best and I’m most productive around 6. Though most people know that, nowadays, I tend to go to sleep anywhere between 1 and 4:30 AM, so it’s rather hard to wake up early anymore.” She looks up and laughs unapologetically.
I shake my head. “What is your biggest accomplishment?”
She taps her chin, thinking. “Oh! When I was 11, I made a bet with my brothers’ theology tutor. I put 8 bucks down saying Trump would win in the 2016 election, and he completely disagreed. I got paid entirely in quarters because he was salty.”
“That is… oddly amazing. What are your flaws and strong points?”
“ I have many flaws. One of the main ones is that I’m very sentimental. I often dwell on the past too much. I’m also kind of emotionally all over the place, and that makes me rather difficult to be around sometimes. As for a strong point, it generally takes a lot for me to dislike a person. I think it’s important to remember that everyone struggles with something, but they don’t necessarily show it. That can translate to not appearing to be a very pleasant person.” She pauses and narrows her eyes. “That actually might mean I can be too naïve and let people walk all over me. But whatever.”
I nod. “I get that. What are you known for?”
“Losing the championship of Hello Kitty Flip ‘n Match at TPS summer camp in June of 2019, for one. I put up a good fight, but it wasn’t good enough. Besides that, I’m apparently mellow, but simultaneously high energy. It’s up to the reader to determine what that means, because, frankly, I don’t understand myself.” She glances to the side quickly, as if she could see the reader.
“Do you play any sports or instruments, or know any languages?”
“I’m way too clumsy for any sports. But I’ve played the piano for eleven years, and I’ll often pick up the ukulele and play for a while when I’m bored. Dude, I can’t even say I know English. Talk to me for a few minutes and you’ll realize that pretty quickly.” She shrugs. “I study German, though.”
“Have any particular talents?”
“Some people say I can sing. I don’t agree. The few people who’ve heard me are all too sweet to say anything mean. I can keep myself from sounding like a dying walrus, that’s about it.” She thinks for a moment. “Is that a talent?”
I laugh. “Yes. Hobbies?”
“Goodness, Christine.” She shakes her head at me. “Is it even necessary to ask? Obviously wedding planning is my first and favorite hobby. I am the most trustworthy shipper around. Hit me up, and I’ll have you married in two weeks flat. My successful ships may be limited, but that we can ignore. Otherwise, choir, drawing, and running.”
I lean forward. “Got an embarrassing memory you’d be willing to share?”
She sighs dramatically. “I am a very awkward person, it’s not even funny. At camp, I was cheerfully greeted by the first TPS friend I ever really made, Caleb Morato. I was really nervous, so I said a quiet hi and then ran away. Unfortunately, he didn’t hear me and thought I completely ignored him. Lovely, I know.”
I laugh as I look down again. “Don’t worry, I actually ran past him when we met. Been anywhere? Traveling, I mean.”
“I’ve never actually been out of the country, but I’ve gone to several different states. Boring, I know. My favorite vacation spot would probably be inside my clothes dryer. It’s spacious, and a nice change of scenery. And I guess my second favorite is Acadia National Park up in Maine; it’s absolutely stunning up there in the fall.”
“Anything you want to add?”
She hesitates then laughs suddenly. “Coffee makes me go ballistic. Also, as you and a couple other people from camp can attest to, pepper makes me go ultra-ballistic. And do not give me packets of mustard. You will regret it.” She smiles mischievously.
I stand up, clearing the table of papers. “I’m so glad I could talk to you today, Moriah.”
“Thanks for having me, Christine. You’ve probably realized it was a big mistake, but thanks.” She stands and hugs me again.