In book two Kaela has to confront the horrid idea that she is no longer the brightest star in her little universe. Angela May, the newcomer, is a better teacher, better rider and, some would say, more fabulous in her ways of conducting herself. This throws the flamboyant Kaela for a loop she wasn’t expecting.
When I was fifteen I met the woman who would one day provide the incentive to write that book.
Angela, brand new to school, was seated next to me in class. It didn’t bug me that she was beyond stunning, or that she walked over to my desk as though she were queen of all before her. It didn’t bug me that everyone – both male and female – surreptitiously followed her with their eyes. What drove me out of my mind with jealousy and hatred was the flowing blonde hair which fell down her back in cascading waves, making her look like Rapunzel after a spa day.
I was always the one with long, conversation-starting, causer of female jealousy, hair, and in walks this woman who just steals something I had wrapped so much of my entire existence around.
Needless to say I was not impressed.
After losing one kingdom to her, it took less than an hour to realise I’d lost another one.
She saw the horse pin on my blazer lapel and remarked how much she loved horses; she had been home schooled until then so that she could ride most of the day, and had not one but TWO horses.
It only got worse from there: she was a jumping champion, she’d trained her own horses from scratch, she’d taught her younger brother to ride, she loved history and was taking the class with me, she’d travelled the world already –name a place and she’d been there– and she lived on a large piece of land so was able to almost convince herself she lived in the bush instead of the biggest city in South Africa.
SHE WAS ME!!!!!!
And worse, she was getting more attention for being me than I ever did.
I felt as though I had been replaced.
That day, as I went from class to class, Angela would always be paired up with me at my desk and in our assignments. After only a few hours of knowing her I was her partner in four giant class projects.
It only got worse when she joined the school riding club that afternoon and was partnered with me in the annual scavenger hunt (the prize: our weight in chocolate).
I felt put out of joint, angry, and out of my mind with jealousy.
I found myself in a position where I had to get along with her and do my best to bring out her best or risk failing four classes and losing out one nearly 100kg of chocolate!
With more courage and drive than I had ever used before, I smiled sweetly at Angela and got on with it. I figured if we really buckled down, we’d get everything done in no time.
Turns out, Angela and I were kindred spirits … what she didn’t know on our history assignment, I did, and vice versa. We sailed through it and got one of the highest marks in the class! The other two assignments were done and dusted before the rest of the class had even started. The last assignment gave us the most trouble as we had to come up with an invention, and frankly neither of us were hidden engineers. We decided to put it aside until after the scavenger hunt.
And that was where we really shone.
Angela and I had this amazing ability to work around each other; what she didn’t get I did, what baffled me was logical to her. Between the two of us, the scavenger hunt (which was far more cerebral than the one in the book) took next to no time to complete. In fact, we handed our finished wares in so quickly, there was a moment where they thought we’d cheated.
Because we’d taken so long to do our last assignment, everyone else in the class had already handed their inventions in. One thing I noticed was how overly complicated everything was; if these inventions had been entered into shops they’d have found no buyers because of their complexity. I figured Angela and I needed a shock tactic: we would enter something so unbelievably simple everyone would be left wondering why it hadn’t been invented before.
And so was born The Sweet Tube.
I got my father (a well-equipped engineer) to blast the end of a soda bottle into a more cylindrical shape, making the bottle a smooth pipe from the lid down. We filled it with sweets and demonstrated how once a packet of sweets is opened, they make a mess all over the floor or handbags or any space where the sweets are kept. Our Sweet Tube held the remaining sweets in a pretty little canister that fit in the smallest of spaces. No mess, no fuss.
Needless to say we got top marks for that invention, and strangely most of the praise came down to how simple and effective it was.
Sort of like working with Angela: simple, effective, no mess, no fuss.
The girl who had stolen my identity was actually just the thing to help me succeed.