Both Sides Now
Galinda walked down the hallways of Shiz University, blue eyes wandering the corridor walls filled with paintings. Her green travel dress swaying with her hips as she walks, matching heels hit the hard floors with sharp clanks. Manicured fingers gripped the ends of her black shawl, nervously pulling at the threads while her other hand griped a suitcase packed full of her things, as she took in what was to be her new home for the coming years.
The size of the school was overwhelming. She never expected that she would get into the University, she just couldn't see herself as the studious type. She had heard stories about college life from people passing through Frottica, and found it frightfully boring. Galinda would rather be out with her girlfriends, dancing and flirting with boys than stuck in a dorm room studying for a test. And OZ forbid she actually had to share a room with someone, especially someone she had never met before in her life. Just why was she here again?
Galinda sighed, her shoulders slumping as she remembered.
It had been a beautiful summer day, the sun was shining in a bright blue,cloudless sky. She had been at the park with her friends, sitting under a tent to keep the sun off their face as they gossiped about their latest boy crush and who was dating whom. While they were fanning themselves and chatting, a small group of older boys had wandered into the park looking sharp in their new suits.
The talking amongst the girls ceased immediately as all their attention was focused on the new arrivals.They all patted down their hair, and smoothed out nonexistent wrinkles in their afternoon dresses, each trying to look prettier than the girl next to them.
The boys, realizing they had an audience, started talking about the coming school year, and what they planned on doing once they were out of college. And while a man with a college education and money makes most women swoon, Galinda just rolled her eyes at them, tossing her golden hair to the side. The whole idea of going to school,longer than they actually had to, bored her and she voiced this much loud enough so the boys could hear her. She just simply wasn't interested in someone just because they had a college education.
Galinda's friends looked at her a little shocked.In each of their minds they rolled their eyes and spat out unkind words,but this was Galinda Arduennas.One of the richest people in Frottica, and thus could have anyone she wanted.Silently seething,they kept their opinions to themselves.
The group of boys had indeed heard Galinda and had made their way over to the girls sitting under the tent. One of the better looking boys ducked his head to the girls, making them blush profusely and fan themselves faster, then turned his attention to Galinda. He took her hand in his own and brought it to his lips,giving a gentle kiss. He stated that his name was Aether Bartsch of Traum and was visiting family here in Frottica. Galinda nodded in politeness and stated her name. Aether gave her a charming smile that would have melted most girls on the spot, and asked why she found scholars so boring. She straightened her back and stated that it wasn't necessarily honorable to be in college, and that character had nothing to do with money or where one came from. She stated that anyone could get into a college, but that didn't make them smart or pleasurable to be around.
Aether chuckled a bit and looked at his friends. He told her that she was obviously misinformed about college life and had no idea what it was like. He continued on stating that she probably never would because she was a girl.
Galinda was always taught to keep her mouth shut and never argue with a man. It just wasn't a woman's place to talk back and bring on a challenge. But this statement fueled the fire already burning in Galinda. She rose slowly, barely chin level with him. Her crystal blue eyes took on a darker shade as she stared at him.Her voice was level and calm as she talked, a trait her mother had taught her. She was far more likely to get a point across if she talked calmly than shouting. She told him that she was a young woman,not a girl, and could get into a college as easily as he could.
Aether laughed along with his friends, and said that no woman from the Pertha Hills had ever been accepted into a college or University, especially a pretty little blonde like her.
Galinda stared at him coldly, and took on his silent challenge. She informed him that she could and would get into a college and would prove it to him that women, no matter how blonde or pretty, were just as smart and capable as men were. Aether looked her over trying to decide if she was joking around. He looked at her eyes and found no amusement in the deep crystal blue. He nodded and accepted her challenge. He bowed to Galinda then to the other girls, and took his leave, stating that he would be expecting to here from her soon.
Galinda looked at her friends who had unreadable expressions on their faces. She excused herself and could here the girls whispering as soon as she left the tent. The blonde sighed. There was nothing she could do about them right now, so she busied herself with finding a school that allowed women to attend.
The best one that she could find was Shiz University. Crage Hall was accepting women, so she sent out for an application. After a couple days of waiting, it finally came. Galinda nearly fainted when she saw how long it was. Three whole pages, front and back plus two essays; "Do flowers regret being plucked for a bouquet?" and "Can Animals really choose to be good?".
It took her a couple hours to fill out the necessary information with out help from her parents. The essays proved to be a challenge for her, and she fought to focus. It took her four days of research before she actually started to write. She made some of her reluctant friends proofread and after three drafts per essay, she was finally done and sent it out.
She really had no intention of going after seeing how much work was needed from her just to get in. She just wanted to have the proof that she could get into a college, or in this case a university.
None of her friends really had any faith that she would get in. And after a month of checking the mail twice a day and getting no response, Galinda began to wonder if she was foolish to think that she could get in. But all these thoughts were pushed out of her head when she received an envelope addressed to her from Shiz University.
She held her breath as she opened the large envelope. She read it three times before it registered in her head that it was an acceptance letter and not a rejection.
A wide smile plastered itself on her face as she folded the paper and walked out side. Her blue eyes twinkling as she walked over to her friends. They read the letter and looked at her with distaste. They still thought she was crazy. Imagine if her father found out? Galinda just rolled her eyes, she had absolutely no intention of telling her father about this.
Aether approached the girls with his friends, and Galinda proudly handed him the letter. She watched him as he read it over, a smug look on her face. He looked at his friends then down at Galinda, who raised her eyebrows at him. A smile crept up on his face as he folded the paper in his hands. He congratulated her on getting in,then told her that he was on his third year at Shiz and looked forward to seeing her around campus.Unless she was to scared to go.
Galinda glared at her friends as they started to whisper and giggle.Then she looked back at Aether who was staring at her intently, a knowing smile on his face.
After a few passing moments of silence, Aether shook his head and laughed. He handed her the folded piece of paper and turned around to leave.
Galinda looked down at the piece of paper,then up at her friends for support.When they didn't offer any help,she silently cursed at herself and announced loudly that she would be attending Shiz and would pass all four years with top grades. With that, Galinda turned on her heals and walked off with as much pride as she could muster.
Once she was well away from everyone, her perfect posture failed and she slumped at the shoulders. She was now faced with the horrifying task of telling her father and mother. Galinda had no idea how they would react, and really wasn't looking forward to the conversation and inevitable argument it would ensue.
Her mother always told her her mouth would get her into trouble someday...
A shiver made its way up Galinda's spine, and she chastised herself for thinking of that day. She was hear now, and there was no need to delve into the past.
Galinda looked around her.She had absolutely no idea where she was, and didn't really care. She was enjoying this, and was certain that exploring the school was far more interesting than what was going on at the orientation in the Main Hall.
The blonde carried herself in a way that none of the passing students and professors stopped to ask if she was lost or needed help with anything. She kept her chin high and her back straight.She walked with purpose, giving the illusion that she knew exactly where she was going.
When the passing of students started to become scarce, Galinda let herself relax a little. She walked a little slower, let her shoulders fall a bit, and allowed her eyes to wander along the beige walls. She passed hallways and closed doors, not finding much of anything that was interesting. The blonde had just decided to turn around and head back the other way when she saw something that caught her eye.One of the doors she had passed was left ajar. She slowly and cautiously walked towards it, pausing to make sure no one was watching,then slowly pushed on the wood. She half expected it to creek, but it was silent.
Once inside, she set her suitcase on the floor and looked around. It was fairly dark, the only light source came from a small window to the left of her. Aside from a few paintings and a desk in the far corner the room was empty.
She noticed a sheet that was hanging on the wall and walked towards it. Grabbing the corner of the fabric, she slowly pulled it aside and let it drop to the floor with a quiet thump. This caused dust to fly up from the ground and into her face. Galinda waved her hand in the air to try and clear it as she coughed, then moved back a little to see what the sheet was hiding.
It was a painting. Her blue eyes scanned it, taking in every detail. The paint was cracking and had some spots where there wasn't any paint at all. She walked closer until she was inches from it. It looked as if someone had scratched off the parts where the paint was missing. She couldn't find a signature.
The picture was of a woman. She was standing awkwardly on a thin piece of land, blue water surrounding her on both sides as it lapped up against the rocks.In her hands she held some sort of beast, Galinda didn't recognize the species. It looked like it had been drowned,its body limp in the woman's hand. The woman's blue dress was pulled down on one side, revealing her shoulder and half of her chest. The hand that wasn't holding the limp body was cupping her exposed breast and offering it to the beast.
A blush spread itself on Galinda's face, and she brought her hand up to touch the face. It was one of the most beautiful,yet dark paintings the blonde had ever scene, and she silently pondered why it was hidden.
"Excuse me, Miss," a voice sounded from the door.
Galinda spun on her heals,A small squeak escaping her lips as her hand clutched her chest, her heart beating wildly. Standing in the door was a short, stocky woman. Her hands were on her hips as she looked at Galinda with disapproving eyes.
"I'm sorry to have startled you Miss, but you are not aloud to be in here." The woman said, her eyes glancing past Galinda to the uncovered painting.
"Oh, um...I'm sorry," Galinda stuttered,frantically trying to think of an excuse as to why she was here, "I-I must have taken a wrong turn."
The woman frowned at her. "Where are you supposed to be?"
"The Main Hall...I think. I'm here for the orientation." Galinda said, her hands playing with her shawl nervously.
The woman's features softened a bit. "Well my dear, you really are lost. The Main Hall is on the other side of the building. Do you not have an Ama dear?" She asked, making a few soft clucking noises with her tongue.
"Yes I do. But she had an accident and will be joining me here later on when she's better." Galinda said, shifting from one foot to the other.
"Well, lets get you out of here and to the Main Hall. Come. Come with me. I'll take you there,Miss...?"
"Oh. I'm Miss Galinda from Frottica,descended from the Arduennas of the Upland," Galinda said cheerily, giving her full title and offering her best smile, blue eyes sparkling.
The older woman chuckled and bent down and picked up Galinda's suitcase, motioning for her to fallow.
Galinda stole a quick glance behind her at the painting before she exited to room. The older woman shut the door, then turned and started to walk down the hall.
"Well my deary, I'm not much for full formal titles.My name is Ms. Chantrill, but everybody calls me "Clucky", and you are free to do so as well." Galinda nodded as she fallowed the woman, instantly getting how she had gotten the nickname "Clucky" as she clucked her tongue in between sentences.
When Clucky started to talk again, Galinda's mind began to wander,as it did whenever someone was talking and it had nothing to do with her.She did however nod when the older woman turned around and laugh when she heard her chuckle.
As Galinda "listened" to the murmuring of the old woman, she thought about that painting. It was dark and mysterious, she had been instantly drawn to it. It was a strange feeling, but the little blonde had felt more mature as she looked at it.As if by just standing in front of it she had grown older. Galinda wanted that feeling back and wished she could just abandon the clucking old woman and run back to it.
Galinda was brought out of her thoughts as she almost bumped into Clucky.
"Okay Miss Galinda, the Main Hall is just through these doors. I have a few errands to run, best of luck to you deary," Clucky handed Galinda her suitcase and waved goodbye as she waddled off down the hall.Galinda took a deep breath and walked forward through the doors.
Upon entering, several heads turned in her direction. Galinda stopped and took in her surroundings. The room was fairly big and had a high arched ceiling. There were windows all around and a few doors that lead off to other parts of the school. There were chattering girls in every corner. Each of them flashing charming smiles and trying to look prettier and better than the rest.
As she looked around at the girls, Galinda noticed that she was one of very few blondes in the room. She clutched her suitcase in both hands and with a small smile on her face, walked forward through the crowd of girls.
The small blonde had barely entered the crowd when a door on the far end opened, and an older woman rushed through in a whirl of colors. She walked at a brisk pace,a big pile of paper in her hands.Once she got to the tables set up in the middle of the room, she placed the papers on it and busied herself with organizing them.Most of the girls stopped talking and focused their attention on the woman.
She calmly placed all the papers in the correct places then stood up straight. Her graying hair was pulled up into a tight bun,her lips were thin and outlined in red. She cracked a smile as she clasped her hands in front of her and started to speak.
"Hello new students, and welcome the Shiz University! My name is Madame Morrible, Headmistress of Crage Hall. I'm so sorry for the delay, I got held up in a meeting and got hear just as soon as I could. I have hear your identification cards,schedules and rooming assignments arranged in alphabetical order by your first name. Now if you'll please calmly come forward and gather your things we can get on with the orientation."
All the girls hustled forward, eager to see who they'd be paired with as a roomie and who would share their classes. Galinda decided it was best to wait until it got less crowded and hung out at the back.
The small blonde set her suitcase down and sighed.She looked at all the girls. They were all talking to each other and laughing. Galinda felt a little put out by it all, she didnt know anyone that was here.As she watched them all converse with each other she couldn't help but feel a little lonely. She hated that feeling, and she wondered for a split second if she should just turn around and leave.Catch the next train and go home to Frottica. However those thoughts were almost literally pushed out of her head as someone ran into her. She tried to catch herself from falling by grabbing onto the person, but only succeeded in bring them both crashing to the floor, papers flying everywhere.
Galinda grunted as the girl landed half on top of her and she struggled to breath as the wind was knocked out of her. The girl almost immediately rolled off the blonde and bent down to start picking up the paper without saying a word.
Galinda frowned and pushed herself up off the floor. The girl was on her knees, back facing the blonde as she gathered her fallen items. She noticed no one was helping her retrieve her loose papers and bent down to pick up a few that had landed at her feet.
"Um...here. Are you Okay...?" Galinda asked as she held her hand out.
"I'm fine." Came a cold reply as the girl turned around to look at the blonde. Galinda's eyes went wide and she audibly gasped when the girl turned to look at her.
The girl glared at Galinda and snatched the papers from her hand. She quickly got up and hurried off without saying anything else.
Galinda stayed where she was, still processing what just happened.
"Are you okay?" A soft voice sounded from behind her. Galinda turned her head to look at who had spoken. A small girl stood next to her. Her sandy hair hung in loose curls around her pretty face. She wore a long tan dress trimmed with green, which accented her light eyes. Her shoes matched the green in her dress and were made of a silk material, almost like slippers.
Galinda sighed then nodded, "Yea. I'm okay," She smiled up at the girl as she offered to help her up. The small blonde took the offered hand and pulled herself up off the floor. After dusting her dress off she looked over at the girl.
"No problem. I'm Miss Milla of the Beaulars from Munchkinland." The girl responded, offering her hand out to shake.
"I'm Miss Galinda of the Arduennas of the Uplands," She said, shaking Milla's hand, "It's nice to meet you Miss Milla."
"Like wise Miss Galinda," They both smiled at each other, then Galinda bent down to get her suitcase.
"Have you gotten your room assignment yet?" Milla asked.
"No, I was standing in line to do just that before I was knocked to the ground," Galinda stated, her eyebrows furrowing.Had she really scene correctly? Or was it just a trick of the light? Milla looked over at her as they started to walk towards the tables.
"What happened?" She asked. Galinda sighed.
"Well, I was just standing there thinking,when someone ran into me, and at an attempt to keep by balance I grabbed hold of her, but it just made it worse and we both fell. I asked if she was okay...and-and then she got up and left. She didn't even say sorry or anything."
"The nerve of some people," Milla said as she shook her head, "The least she could of done was say sorry!" Galinda nodded her agreement.
By now they had reached the head of the line and they both searched for their papers.Once they had them they compared schedules. Both of them giggling when they found out they had almost identical schedules, with the exception of Ozian History and Writing which Milla had Ozian Literature and a free spot instead.
"What room are you in?" Milla asked. Galinda looked at her paper.
"Um...room 22. You?"
"Oh, we're right next door. I'm in room 24 with Miss Nessarose Thropp the fourth descending! Who are you with?" Milla asked with excitement in her voice.
"Miss Elphaba Thropp third descending...huh, our roommates are related," Galinda said, still studying her room assignment. She really wasn't looking forward to sharing a room. At least she got a room with a private bathroom. She probably would of had a stroke had she had to share a bathroom with an entire floor of girls.
Madame Morrible started to talk again, and everyone went silent as she went through how everything would work. Galinda half listened to what she was saying.Every now and then Milla would start to talk to her in a hushed voice so they wouldn't be heard. After a good half hour of standing around listening to the Headmistress talk about the school and how their classes would work, She finally dismissed them all to their rooms to get settled before lunch was served.
Galinda and Milla walked off in the direction of their rooms. As they were walking up the stairs to their floor Galinda turned to Milla.
"Remember that girl that ran into me?" She asked. Her hand came up to pluck at the thread on her shawl again.At Milla's nod Galinda continued.
"Well, there was something else...about her...something about her appearance. But i'm not sure if I saw right," Galinda began, as they headed down the hall towards her room. "Now don't think i'm crazy...i'm not even sure that what I saw was real," Milla nodded as Galinda took out her room key and unlocked her door. "But I swear...the girl was green as a..." Galinda sung open her door to reveal her roommate sitting on the far bed reading a book, "..Frog.."
Both girls stared at the green girl, who looked up from her book at them. Elphaba stared at Galinda for a moment before going back to her book.