A Room of One’s Own

by Callie Leary on 08.07.2009

21 Responses


Our totally awesome volunteers did an amazing job of staking out the school over the past couple of days. You guys ROCK! Unfortunately, nothing turned up that led us directly to our mystery mama. So after our watchdogs reported back, Nia, Hal, and I felt confident that our stow-away didn't sneak in any of the openings...except perhaps by the bleachers. Our mystery girl must have slipped through the cracks (literally) when dem_94 caught her catnap and another stint at the bleachers was called to order. (Sorry dem_94 - it's soooo OK that you fell asleep - I would have, too, at that hour.)

So we each took shifts after school once the field cleared out from practice (those boys run A LOT) and parked ourselves underneath the bleachers directly outside the vent. 4 PM - nothing. 5 PM - nada. 6 PM - zilch. 7:12 PM - We were all there, bringing food to Hal and changing the guard.

We were writing notes (we weren't talking because we were afraid of scaring myster-i-na away), debating if we should pack it in or keep going. I voted stay. Hal voted fly. Nia was responding with the tie-breaker when her pencil froze. Her eyes darted sideways to the vent on her left. The grate was moving. It. Was. Moving. We all stood up, tip-toed quiet as mice, and stood on either side of the opening. Out came a hand. Out came another hand. Then, as we saw the arms coming out of the vent reach to grab the top of the opening to pull herself out, the three of us looked at each other. And froze. We saw what the girl was wearing: a navy blue hoodie with small yellow stars and the words “Ad astra per aspera” written in baby blue ink on the back. "To the stars through difficulty." It was Amanda's. We locked eyes with each other, not easy to do with three sets of eyeballs. Time seemed to stand still. I think we were all so dumbfounded that we almost didn't notice the girl had actually gotten all the way OUT and was starting to creep away. The blue hooded girl was gracefully slipping past. What if she were. . . .

Hal had the peace of mind to grab her hoodie as she crawled in front of us. He pulled it back and exposed her face. We all gasped.

It was not Amanda. Not at all but instead one Maggie Chatham, another ninth-grader. We were pretty deflated and plopped down on the ground. Maggie plopped too. She was obviously terrified (can you blame her?) so we explained what we were doing. Hal and Nia had no idea who she was, but I had a class with her in junior high and I remembered her as being nice enough, but a little goofy. Maggie told us that she had been coming to the secret room for the last couple of months as her special hideout, her home away from home, after Amanda showed her the room and how to get around through the vent system. As the fourth of eight kids in her family, she never had any privacy so Amanda bestowed upon her this little haven. Amanda had quoted Virginia Wolfe and called it "A Room of One's Own." She and Amanda only hung out in there twice, but Maggie said she kept coming back - partially because she loved the space to herself and partially because she was hoping to find Amanda again.

Every now and then Maggie said things would have been moved in the room, or there would be little random gifts, like the single flower we found last time or a wishbone charm or a collection of tiny sea shells. She said she just knows this is Amanda leaving her tokens. But when she found out that someone had been snooping around in the secret room (i.e. uh, US, with muddy boots apparently, oops, not very sleuthy) she plastered over the door and sent that warning note because she wanted Amanda to be able to still use this as her refuge.

So, we did not find Amanda, but we did at least solve the mystery of the secret room. And now Maggie totally wants to join the search, although she is a little sad that her room is exposed.

Who can blame Maggie for wanting a sanctuary when she needs time alone? Do you have a special room or place you like to go when you need time to yourself? Where is your “room of one’s own?”

21 responses

  1. urban_hippie

    I honestly don’t blame Maggie for wanting her own sanctuary. Everyone needs alone time, it’s completely understandable. I mean, even I have my own special places I like to go to. It’s either my bedroom or Barnes & Noble Starbucks for some internet and a latte plus a good book.

    • Natasha

      My “alone place” normally is getting lost in a good book. however, that is not the point. I think the fact that someone besides Maggie is using the room is highly relevant. It could be Amanda. It may not be.
      The strange, random gifts remind me so much of Amanda. She loved flowers, and seemed to always be quite superstitious. She enjoyed the simple things in life.
      Is there any possibility that these things are more than just gifts? Easily, they could be clues. For example, the shells give me the idea of a beach. Or anyplace by a lake or sea.

      • stef_stone

        I don’t blame Maggie, either. Since Amanda is probably leaving gifts there, maybe we should do a stakeout on the secret room or put in cameras, now that we are in cahoots with Maggie. It’s a bummer that this didn’t lead directly to Amanda, but I definetly think we should try the surveillance on the room.

        • tennisgirl

          I agree with Natasha, reading a book is like getting lost in another world. Its definitely my alone place. Anyway its probably a good idea to install some sort of camera in the secret room so we have a chance at figuring out if it really is Amanda leaving the little gifts or if its someone else. Something I picked up about Amanda though, when I first met her, was that besides her being smart, she also seemed to be one step ahead of everybody else… full of surprises. How do we know that she doesn’t already know our every move somehow.

          • AwesomeAnna93

            Hmm. Glad to hear that we’ve finally found mystery girl. I remember Maggie. I met her last year during the field trip to the museum. She’s pretty cool.

            As for my sanctuary. It’s def. my bedroom.. in bed w/ a good book.

            • CheekyMonkey

              I am actually almost glad that it wasn’t Amanda. As much as I want to find Amanda, I want the search to keep going. I love the site and all the people on it.

              I like Maggie’s impulse to protect Amanda and the messages she is trying to send.

              Everyone needs a place to go into, forget all their problems and just relax. Live life the way it’s to be. A place where it doesn’t matter what someone said about your outfit. For me it is either playing an instrument, listening to music, or reading a book. When I’m doing that I feel at home. I get into a zone and it makes the world seem right.

              • theresaax2

                I hope with Maggie’s help, we can find Amanda. It almost makes me happy she had that place to herself. I feel bad messing it up for her. Maggie was always so quiet in 8th grade algebra. She definitely deserves some alone time. I’m so glad she’s joining us.

                • dem_94

                  I think its cool Maggie has her own place that she can escape to. And its amazing that we have another yet member to join our crew! She should defiantly be able to keep the place a secret. (mum’s the word) (:

                  I like to go outside and enjoy with a good book (I guess I’m not the only one). I have lots of friends in my neighborhood, and I’m always welcome at their house too.

                  • GregorSanka

                    I used to like to go up into my treehouse but then the tree (not a Dutch elm) got Dutch elm disease and we had to cut it down.  Now the treehouse sits in our back yard where without its tree it is just a house.  A small and very poorly-made house.  I guess some things are just better when they are up in trees but I’m not sure what the other things are.

                    • themidnighter

                      Wow! I’m glad we found that it was Maggie. Don’t worry Maggie we don’t blame you. I,myself also have my own personal sanctuary. But it doesn’t include secret doors. I have my bedroom. It keeps me comfortable and assured being there. I know that my privacy can’t be invaded.

                      • ArtsyFartsy

                        Hey - I work at the art shop downtown and came on here because Amanda hasn’t stopped in in quite a while - at least not during my shift.  The mention of the hoodie made me remember that the last interaction I had with Amanda was when she came into the store carrying a star chart and bought some glow in the dark paint.  Seems very Amanda, right?  Maybe there’s a night sky somewhere with clues in it?

                        The paint she bought was for outdoor/indoor use, so those stars could be anywhere. Or maybe it’s nothing.  But what if it is?  I don’t go to Endeavor High - maybe some of you should start turning out the lights in classrooms or the secret room?  What do you think?

                        • stef_stone

                          Ooooh good idea! I volunteer to go with Maggie into the secret room and turn out the lights! Anyone else wanna come with?

                          • stef_stone

                            Okay I’m going tonight! Cornelia or Hal or Callie…do you guys want to come with?

                            • Maggpie

                              Hi, it’s Maggie. I feel so stupid that you guys were hoping to find Amanda and you got me creeping around instead, just trying to get some quiet time away from the chaos that is my house.  And the whole stake-out and all that hard work!  All I can think to do to make it up to you, and really help the search for Amanda, is to offer everything that I know now. One thing that I know is that there is no secret message painted in my—although I guess now it really belongs to ALL of us—secret room.  I have spent so much time in there, in the dark, with just a candle or flashlight, staring at every inch of the place, because it is so peaceful (if you don’t mind the banging pipes, the screaming kids, or the crashing sk8ers in the hallway) compared to my room at home. And there is no night sky or anything else painted there.  Sorry to say . . .

                              • RagDollEyez

                                I Understand. I Run And Hide In My Bedroom Just To Find Some Sanity Again. But If I’m At School Or In Public, And I Feel Like I Can’t Take It… I Look For The Nearest Bathroom And Lock The World Out. Even If It’s For 2 Minutes.

                                • Gracie_Hayes

                                  Wow. Amanda seems to have made many more connections than we know about. Maybe we should make a club at school dedicated to finding Amanda and everyone that hung out with her could meet and discuss secret places she showed them, strange things she might have said, any possible clues, etc.

                                  • DarkCharlotte

                                    I love to just sit in my bedroom and blast music to be on my own.

                                    Has anyone ever thought that maybe Amanda herself is part of this website and she has been seeing our plans for our every move?

                                    Also, wat type of flower was it that was left in the room, because some people think different flowers to have different meanings. She might have been trying to tell Maggie something with them.

                                    • tiffany923

                                      darkcharlotte, awesome idea.amanda is not a random person, so i think she’s probably leaving clues, we’re just not understanding them. maybe we should try to walk in her shoes. unfortunately, we don’t know that much about her, so tht would b hard. i totally agree w/ stef_stone, we should get some hidden cameras! great idea! it’s creepy 2 think amanda is watching us on this site! i think it’s possible, tho. amanda did like 2 keep an i on things
                                      xoxo, tiff

                                      • Milana

                                        Wait a minute, did Maggie say things were moved before or after Amanda moved her in?  Also, my place is on the roof of the dugout at the park.

                                        • stella94

                                          Hey, did anybody else notice that the sweatshirt matched the blue note from the janitor’s box earlier? Whose note was that?

                                          • soulja_girl

                                            the story was good

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