Isla returned to the dorm that night to find Karabo aloof, and barely able to offer up a few sentences. She put it down to another mood swing. Since she’d broken her arm, Karabo had been prone to hideous mood swings — happy and giggling the one minute, then angry and shouting the next as Isla put her socks on all skew. Isla — not one for pandering to anyone — had restrained herself, but her patience was wearing thin.

It wasn’t her fault that Lara had hurled herself at Karabo. In fact, Karabo had taunted Lara. Finding Karabo in another foul

mood, Isla merely ignored her friend and pretended nothing was wrong. Years of friendship had taught her that Karabo’s bad moods were infrequent and short lived, and best left alone. The past few weeks had been a definite exception, and Isla was very ready to have the old Karabo back. She’d even started imagining taking the cast off Karabo’s arm herself.

Unfortunately, Karabo’s mood hadn’t improved by the next morning. Isla had lied about needing to go for a run as part of a training programme she was on. The other two girls in the dorm had played along. They too were tired of Karabo’s tantrums, and the three girls left quickly for their ‘training run’, leaving a miserable and sulking Karabo behind in her bed.

‘Which route are we taking?’ asked Jess, looking to Isla for guidance. ‘Um, let’s just head up to the perimeter fence and take the long way down to the beach, and back round the back of the teachers’ residence. That should be about four or five kilometres,’ suggested Isla. Jess nodded in agreement and they began their run. Tash was a renowned chatter and a jog wasn’t going to stop her jaw muscles. This allowed Isla to drift off and mull over Karabo. She had been getting so much better yesterday — carrying her own bag, getting her own food and even laughing at terrible Tiff. Then, in just a few hours she’d turned into Miss Grumpy Pants again. Something must have happened yesterday afternoon. Isla resigned herself to the fact that she would have to draw it out of Karabo when she got back.

As they rounded the outer school perimeter and came down to the beach, Isla could see someone else walking along the beach: tall and lanky, kicking at the sand as he walked. He flicked his hair out of his face and even from afar, Isla knew it was William.

‘There’s that weirdo William. What’s he doing on the beach?’ Jess asked. Isla shrugged. They were running towards him quickly.

They were nearly past William by the time he recognised Isla. ‘Isla!’ he called. ‘Hey,’ she called back, waving him off and running ahead. His fingers gripped her arm and made her spin and stop before she could call to her friends. ‘What the hell Will?’ demanded Isla. ‘You nearly ripped my arm off,’ she snapped, glaring at him as her chest rose and fell rapidly as she tried to catch her breath. ‘Sorry,’ said William, surprised at her irritation and immediately letting go of her. Isla blinked at him expectantly. ‘Well, what? What is it now?’ asked Isla, her annoyance rising. She turned and saw that her roomies had realised she had stopped and were walking back. She waved at them. ‘It’s OK, go ahead, I’ll catch up. Won’t be long,’ she shouted, before turning to William. ‘What William?’ she asked again, sharply.

William scratched his head. ‘It’s Karabz, she had that dream and then got angry with me and I don’t know why. Can you talk to her… please?’ asked William, kicking the sand with his bare feet. Isla’s forehead furrowed into deep lines as she processed what he’d just said.

‘She had a dream? And she had a fight with you?’ asked Isla, her hands on her hips.

‘Ya, didn’t she tell you?’ asked William, his eyebrows raised. ‘Well that’s new, you guys basically share a part of your brain,’ sneered William sarcastically. Isla shook her head and flared her nostrils. ‘You are such an annoying idiot William. Seriously! Share a part of our brain? Is that the best you can come up with? Other people call it friendship. Something you clearly have no concept of. Now if you don’t mind, I have better things to do than be insulted by you, of all people!’ hissed Isla, as she turned and sprinted away from him.

***

Question: How does William’s comment to Isla about sharing a brain make you feel?