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Story Notes:
There is nothing bad or inapropriate in this story. I have never met Elijah Wood, but that is my dream; to one day meet him.
Author's Chapter Notes:
When their paths crossed.
For Anne

Day 1
Yes, Elijah Wood, Frodo the Hobbit, stepped on my toes. He literally walked to close by me on a busy shopping day in Chicago and crunched my toes.
Now, this is not a normal story by all means. And, it definitely is not very long, for the eventful events contained here only took place for a few day, until it now only remains and eventful memory in my mind. Or maybe in the minds of my six little sisters, but that is another matter.

Elijah did not only crunch my toes, he literally snapped the first two of my long toe bones in my left foot. Yup, my Mom took me to the emergency room, and now I have a broken foot, all because of a little accident caused by a famous celebrity actor.
As I crouched down on the ground holding my ankle so no pressure went to my foot, an astonished looking Elijah stoop over me. The fact that he had just stepped and seriously injured a 16 year old girl left him speechless.
I wasn’t screaming because it hurt so much, but mostly I was in shock also. The fact that I had just ran into the actor I had been dieing to meet almost my entire life left me speechless. I never expected our meeting to be like this! Considering the guy just wasn’t and still isn’t a very big guy; actually a about an inch shorter that me, but I didn’t find that out until later.

Elijah recovered his shock first. “Are… are you, okay?” He asked shakily.
“No,” I replied through gritted teeth.
A crowd had gathered and was starring. Cameras stuck at us. Some people were obviously on the phone with 911, but my Mom was already haling me to our car parked a block down.
I guess my foot was pretty bad, considering the doctors had to operate on it. I was confined to the boring, old hospital for three days.
My parents tried to visit me with all my little sisters, but the were completely wild and crazy. They bounced all over and Baby Rosy stuck her little grubby hands into everything within her reach. Three year old Grace, six year old Sally, and eight year old Philomena leaped on the bed despite my yellow cast on my fragile left foot. Ten year old Mary Grace and twelve year old Gloria drew doodles all over the dry-erase board on the wall. So much for them being ‘mature’. Those two both had long blond hair put into long French braids down each side of the back of their heads. Little blue bows stuck out from the tips. These two are often mistaken for twins. They and I are our parents blood kids. The other four are all adopted from China.

Dad soon left with the kids, but Mom stayed a few more hours in a lounge. I was reading magazines and wondering how long my iPod touch battery was going to last, when no other than Elijah Wood himself came in the room.
I just plopped my magazine down on my lap and raised my eyebrows at him. I wasn’t shock. I was expecting him some time then or later. This was probably the first time anything like this had happened to him. It especially was to me, and probably the last. Hopefully.
He smiled a little and I smiled back. “I just came to apologize…”
“No need,” I interrupted. It isn’t every day that a fan gets to meet an amazing person, and especially twice in one day, and in this manner. So, I’m considering myself lucky.”
“No way, girl,” He said. “This is a horrible thing I have done. I’m very sorry.”
“I accept your apology. You are so polite. But, I don’t mean to be rude, but my name is Carissa; Carissa Bechtyah, like bet you, only together in a slangy way.”
Elijah grinned now. The thirty-one year old man was the spitting image of politeness and kindness. “That’s cool,” he replied, “ I mean, at least you are not like me in last names: Wood. I don’t think anyone can get any simpler or more original. I love your last name.”
“Hmmm…” I thought, “No. I don’t know of any others, unless you count in Miller or Smith. Very American. But, We both are very American. Sit down.” I added this last part to enquire him to take the armchair across from me.
He laughed and took a seat.
“Considering you say ‘um’ a lot before you answer a question when you are being interviewed.”
At this Elijah laughed out loud. He laughed a long laugh that made me smile ear to ear.
“Well, I guess I will have to work on that more, then, won’t I?”
“Don’t,” I said, “You wouldn’t be you without ‘um’. You are unique because you are such an amazing actor and you are American. That puts a great reputation on us all. Not like Dom how he is amazing, but from Germany, or Billy, how he is from Scotland.”
“Sean is American,” protested Elijah. “He also was a child actor who stuck it out into his adult hood as I have done.
“Yah,” I replied, “But you are my favorite actor, so that makes you the amzingest ever.”
Elijah smiled. Really, I was so thrilled. I couldn’t believe my wonderful luck. A broken foot was definitely worth actually meeting and talking with Elijah Wood.
I don’t know why, but we talked on for another hour. Elijah didn’t seem to be getting board at all. In fact, he seemed a little shy, but his big, blue eyes sparked and danced.
I remembered half way through that my iPod needed charging. I leaned over and rummaged through my shoulder bag. I found my banged up wall charger. But, kind, humble, gentleman, Elijah saw what I was doing, and immediately plugged it into the wall so that I wouldn’t have to crawl out of bed to reach the nearest outlet.
“You have to bag it kind of hard to get it to work. It’s busting. I need to get a new one.
“Oh, and,” Elijah said suddenly, “I almost forgot.” He picked up the canvas bag he had set on the floor along with his shoulder bag. “You left these on the ground. ‘ Thought you might want them back.”
Then, out of the bag, he distributed a Converse shoe box.
“My brand new Converse!” I was so delighted, I almost cried. I mean, there is not much more better than a room full of Elijah Wood and brand new knee high Converse sneakers.
“Thank you!” I mouthed. I think I was finely realizing just what was going on. “Elijah,” I said, “Thank you for all of this. Thank you for stepping on toes and breaking my foot.”
“wha-a-at?” Elijah stammered. “I broke your foot, of all things! That’s not good at all!”
“Well, everything happens for a reason, as I always say.” I smiled even bigger. Elijah grinned. Boy! Hi was handsome! His big, blue eyes would have knocked me down if I hadn’t already bean laying down.
“You see,” I explained, “If you hadn’t stepped on me, I would have totally only been one of those other annoying fans that shoves signature requests into your face.”
“I see,” he said slowly, “Now that you put it that way. I don’t feel as bad. But, the fans are not annoying. I enjoy the attention. I really love them all. They are what makes me truly happy. It is how I make the world smile and fall in love with my movies that makes me want to be who I am.”
I thought about that for a minuet. How would I feel in his position? Then I smiled as a thought came into mind. “…and you, especially you,” I finished his sentence. “You have to know that. People, boys and girls, love you because there is a certain quality about you when you act. Well, it’s like this: Now offence attended upon Dom Monaghan, but you act, it is as if there is a smile behind every move you make and every expression on your face. Even when The Ring had gobbled you up on that Mount Doom, I saw that smile there. Because you were taking parts and pieces of your own personal life and putting it into Frodo. Dom doesn’t have this quality quite like you do. Butt, then, this could only be my opinion. I don’t really know. I’m just another one of your screaming fans. What do I know?”
“A lot,” Elijah said to my surprise. “I don’t get this.”
“Get what?” I asked.
“I hardly ever have the chance to see through my fans eyes; to be the reactor, not the actor. You know all about it all. I have only a blurred vision. As of looking through a frosty window.”
I concentrated on what he said and thought about it. “You are right. I guess, you don’t see our side, but I don’t see yours.”
“But, with talking and word of mouth, we can share parts of the other side,” he said as he gazed across the room.
“And with time, we can begin to understand each other, like wiping the frost of the glass,” I said.
“Yes,” said Elijah, “See, even now we see more of each other’s sides. And, speaking of time, I hate to brake it up, but I have to be at a convention, so I really have to go.” He looked at his watch. I noticed that One Ring on his right ring finger. The gold flickered a bit of light into my eyes.
“Yah,” I said, straitening up. “You’d better go then, But, first can I take my picture with you?”
“Yah, sure!” he said with another smile, “I was wondering when you’d ask that.”
“Hold on,” I said. I got up and crawled to the chair to the right of the bed. “Hear. Now, you sit in the chair next to me and I’ll put my cast on the coffee table between.”
Elijah sat down and I swung my leg up onto the table. (It hurt less than you think.)
Then, suddenly, Elijah whipped out a Sharpie. “Can I sign it first?”
“By all means!” I exclaimed, “Go right on ahead! I’d love that!”
He signed, my yellow cast with his larger signature. I took out my iPod and held it up so we were both in it, and took the picture.
“Perfect!” He said as I showed it to him. “Really what I want you to know is how bad I feel about what I did. I am truly sorry!”
“Oh, c’mon” I exclaimed. “I’m loving this! Besides, you shouldn’t be sorry about this, you should be sorry about you and your friends pissing in that broken bucket fountain in New Zealand.”
I grinned as Elijah burst into laughter. He laughed and laughed. I laughed too, and it felt so happy in the room.
“Trust me!” he said, “I am! That was really stupid. I now wish Sean had bean there to stop me. But, well, that’s the past and its all over now. I cant go back except for in memory.”
“Elijah,” I said as he opened the door, “Will I be a something of the past that you will look back on in memory, or will I be just one of those screaming fans of yours?”
He looked straight into my eyes. “No, you are one of those apples that got mixed up in the oranges. We will see each other again.” He winked at me and said, “See ya’ later.”
“Bye,” I said. I didn’t want him to go, but he had to. Everything good ends..
“Bye,” he said. And then he was gone.
‘One of the apples that got mixed up in the oranges’. I thought about what he had said. I guess, that’s what Glozel, the lady who met Elijah in a Quisnose Subs on the middle of nowhere and had come home and freaked out about it all over Youtube, was like in his memory. She had even been talked about by Elijah Wood himself on the Jimmy Kimmel show. I guess, it was people like her and me were the apples that got mixed up with the oranges.
Then, what were his friends? Like his Lord of the Rings friends? The watermelon that got mixed up in the oranges?

Day 2
I was at home. My busted up leg was propped up on the coffee table in front of me. I was watching Wilfred, of all things, in my bedroom. I thought about Elijah Wood as I watched him on the TV screen. Wilfred was on season four. Its had started a year ago, and sill is my favorite TV show.
To tell you the truth, I was bored out of my wits. I had been sitting there all day, and now evening was coming on. I could hear the horn honking and hum of work getting out in downtown near by.
“That’s it!” I said out loud, “I’m going out, busted foot or not!”
Mom called in from her room where she was hopelessly trying to nap, “Crissi! You can’t go out like that!”
“I am going to spontaneously combust, Mom,” I hollered back, “I’m not going far. I will be back in at least an hour.”
“Alright,” Mom gave in, “But, if you are not back in one hour exact, I am coming out to find you.” She turned around and muffled into her pillow, “Cell phones are too expensive.”

I was out of my room and outside in record time. I must have been the fastest person in crutches. They were all bedazzled from my friends. Downtown was only three blocks away. I figured out a way to boost myself with the crutches so that I actually went faster than normal walking.
I was downtown in less than ten minuets. I was sitting in a garden chair in front of my favorite place to order a Sprite and ice-cream in the summer, and a hot chocolate and doughnut in the winter.
I sat enjoying my Sprite and double chocolate ice-cream dish. I held my iPod in my pocket with my left hand. The city sounds were the best true music to me. I breathed the city air, lived the city; The city was me. Chicago had to be the best wonderful place in the world. But, I guess I didn’t really know that. I had hardly been out of it.

So, like I said, I was just sitting there. AND GUESS WHO COMES ALONG?! You probably already guessed: None other than the almighty Elijah Wood. He just came walking along in his perfect blue jeans and white slightly fitted t-shirt. His nerdy style sun glasses almost hid him. But, if you are smart like me, a glance at him gives him away.
It didn’t matter whether I recognized him or not; he recognized me. H e winked and came over and sat across from me.
“Hey,” He said with a huge polite smile, “How is your leg doing?”
“It’s bored to tears like the rest of me,” I answered with a smile back. “I literally am going to spontaneously combust. I haven’t only because of you autograph on my cast.”
“Really?,” He replied looking concentrated, “It’s just a signature. A bunch of squiggly lines. “
“Yes,” I said, “But, not just. Your autograph and kindness means more to me than anything in the world or that has happened to me. If you really want to know what it is like from my side, it is as if you went back about fifty years and met all four Beatles in person, and then hung out with them on a boys night out.”
Elijah looked at me. He thought about what I said. “Wow! That would be amazing, but, I can’t do that.”
“Exactly!” I exclaimed. The waiter came and cleared away my dishes. Elijah went ahead and ordered a Sprite and I got a refill on mine. (free refills) “You see? The chances of even meeting you or so much as seeing you are so small. The chances of what is happening to me, well, it is so slim it is almost just as impossible as that. I may as well jump up into the air, fly around the world in ten minuets, and hop on my broken foot all through downtown Chicago while balancing a plate on my nose. All I’m saying is this: I understand now about the one of the apples that got mixed up with the oranges.
I really did and still do to this day: If you see all the regular people in the world as a big crate of oranges, they all look alike and they are all just plain oranges. Some are riper than others or more bruised. You look at big bushels of apples, and they all look the same. But if an apple drops into the oranges, your eyes are going to go to that apple because the red stands out from the orange so much. When Elijah thinks back in his memory of the people he has met, he wont remember many that well, but his eyes will land on me because I have made a memory in his mind that will last forever.
Elijah Wood looked at me for a minuet. As if reading my mind, he said, “You want to know what my close friends are to me?”
“The melon that got mixed up in the oranges?” I guessed. “No ,perhaps the hunk of gold?”
Nope, ”Elijah responds, “Gold is hard and heavy. Silver is to soft. Diamonds reflect light and are a bother to the eyes if you look at them for to long. Crystals and purls are not even enough to begin to explain the value of a great and lasting friendship. Not even gold. No, that only leaves one thing that can possibly begin the slightest to explain the value of friends: Mithrill itself.”
“Oh,” I say as I make the connection. “The Dwarven metal jewel of greater value than America itself.”
“Yes. The whole world can literally explode around you, you can make it on your own, but you will make it and survive if you have a friend.”
Now I was done with my second Sprite and was ripping up bits of my straw rapper and dropping them into the melting ice in my glass. Elijah was half done with his. I noticed how Elijah looked at me in that way I had never seen in any of his you tube videos or even pic shots or photo shoots. It was a look as if he had finally met up with a calm fan who wasn’t all gushy all over him. And, there was something else about him: he was talking so much. I mean, this guy was supposed to be shy. It seemed almost as if he was talking to an old friend, not to a random person who he had accidentally broken her foot.
“You talk a lot,” I heard myself saying out of the blue.
Suddenly, Elijah bursted out laughing. “Well,” he said, “You are a very easy person to talk to! And, It’s very easy to read your face. You talk a lot.”
“Really?” I said in puzzlement. “Well, I have a few friends, but I mostly let them do the talking.”
“I could keep on talking with you forever,” He said, smiling that big, gorgeous smile at me, “But, unfortunately, I have to leave Chicago tomorrow morning for home in LA for a while. Then, I will be heading back to New Zealand for a week.”
Something registers in my head and I made a sudden connection. I jumped up out of my seat and nearly fell over. But, Elijah was there in an instant and caught me. I looked up at him and said, “Thank you.” Then I checked my iPod. I had twenty minuets to get home. Even though it really only took me five, rush hour was coming on and the sidewalks, wide as they were, would be thick with people in a hurry.
“I’ve got to get home,” I explained, “I promised my mom that I would get home in an hour.
“Okay,” Elijah said. He handed me my crutches. “which way are you headed?”
“Right; North; around the corner.. Really, it isn’t far, but it seems that we’ve hit rush our.” I glanced at the street which was now lined with honking cabs.
“Okay, well, I’m actually going the same direction to get cab at a proper cab stop.”
I took the bate to spend just a little more time with Elijah before I had to leave him, most likely, forever.

Really all we did was walk two blocks together, side by side, with an occasional camera in my our faces. We just talked lightly. It was a little hard to talk at all because the city got extra loud in rush hour. But, when we got to a proper cab pick-up lane, I didn’t want Elijah to go.
“Well,” He said, rolling onto the balls of his feet and back again, “I guess this is it. One last time, I am still very sorry for what I did. I just want you to know, It was amazing to meet you.”
And, then, we hugged; a nice , friendly hug. I knew that he was the apple that got mixed up in my oranges. He was the apple that would never die or be eaten.
“Carissa,” He says, looking into my eyes, “You are the apple that got mixed up in my oranges that will never die or be eaten. Good-bi.”
Then, he was gone. He was in the back seat of a yellow cab and it was driving away. I walked on slowly, because I had a few minuets to kill and I was starting to get tired. Actually, as i walked In my front door in the nick of time, I could barely make it back up to my room.
But, as I went up the stairs, my Mom, now up and carrying a full, dirty laundry basket towards the basement stared at my yellow, glimmered-up, knee high cast for a minuet. She seemed to just be noticing who exactly had signed it in big, perfect handwriting. She frowned and continued. As far as my I know, my Mom doesn’t like celebrities and the big Elijah Wood poster on my wall of my tiny bedroom. She probably couldn’t give-a-care that a famous person had stepped on me. It wasn’t like my parents were going to sue, or something.
I collapsed on my bed and closed my eyes. I slightly opened my left eye to see if Sally was staring at me, again, from her bed on the other side of the room. She was. I said, in an exasperated voice, “Stop Staring at me. Why do you always stare at me?”
Sally looked at me. She was small and skinny at six years old. Sitting on her bed hugging her favorite bunny, her long black hair spilled over her shoulders. To my surprise, she answered, “Because, I admire you. I know who you’ve been talking to. You cant possibly hide that from me.”
“No, I guess I can’t. I can’t hide anything from you. You are way to clever and smart,” I respond in a grouchy voice. But, I have to admire her cleverness. She had obviously seen the autograph on my cast. She knew that I would be really cranky for her looking at me if something particularly great went great that day. And, nice comments were rare out of me.
“I know you have talked once or twice to your famous lover, Elijah Wood, because of the One Ring that fell out of the hood of your sweater, which you have clearly missed,” Sally said pointing to a glint of gold half way under me.
My eyes widened. I pushed myself up and grabbed it. I opened my hand up slowly and it reminded me of Deagel slowly opening up his hand when he found the actual One Ring.
Sure enough, I found a genuine replica of The One Ring. It was one of those real gold plated ones that cost seventy-five bucks on the internet. A silver chain strung through it with a small clasp. I smiled a huge smile as I thought of Elijah going the night before and getting overnight shipping. I slipped the chain over my head, because the chain is big enough.
“You’re welcome” Sally said in a sarcastic voice.
Suddenly, I got off my bed and stumbled over to her as fast as I could, and I gave her a big hug. She was clearly puzzled. I had never done this before except for when she first arrived from China almost six years ago, and she doesn’t remember that. But, she returns the hug.









Day 3
I woke up unusually early that next morning on Thursday. In-fact, the sun was only about half way up. I was puzzled, because I never woke up this early during the Summer. And, it seemed as if something was missing. Some piece of information, or something I was forgetting.
I lay on my stomach and felt my new One Ring jabbing into my right shoulder. Elijah mussed have put it in my hood while we were walking together.
Suddenly, I bolted up in bed. Sally was still fast asleep, so she didn’t hear me quietly shout, “I was hanging out with a famous celebrity! WALKING DOWN THE STREET WITH HIM! IN DOWNTOWN, CHICAGO!
I leaped out of bed and remembered my cast. I grabbed my crouches and hobbled down the stairs and out the front door. Luckily, the whole house was still asleep. I found it: The Chicago Sun Times on the front walk. I scooped it up and sat on the steps. I pulled it out and flipped through the pages. I found the Celebrity Buzz page, and there it was in full color: A picture of Elijah Wood and I, walking down the street. I took out the page, I was the only one who even read the Celebrity Buzz page, and folded it into my sweatpants pocket. I left the paper on the stairs so it looked ad if it hadn’t been touched. Most likely, Mom wouldn’t notice it because she hardly ever even read the paper. Dad would totally miss it because he never got that far before he had to leave for work, and he forgot about it by the time he got back.
I lay under my covers, despite the rising sun outside promising another ninety degree day. Using my book light, I carefully examined the picture. The caption over head said, ‘Actor Elijah Wood Caught Hanging Out With Total Stranger’. There was just a little article about how I was caught walking the streets of the Chi, and how I might be his new girlfriend. I just rolled my eyes and went back to studying the photo. Elijah had a slight smile under his sunglasses. We both looked totally relaxed. But, we were like three feet away from each other. I was clearly not his girlfriend. I shoved the article into my nightstand. No fear in my school friends finding out about this, I home schooled. My neighborhood friends already knew about Elijah autographing my cast, and it wouldn’t hurt for them to know a little more. Only two friends even read the Celebrity Buzz, and neither even cared about Elijah Wood.
I fell back to sleep with a small smile on my face as I heard Dad go outside to get the newspaper.

I woke back up at ten o’clock. I crawled out of bed and grabbed my crouches. All my little sisters were jumping around the house being really loud. My family didn’t have cable for morning cartoons, just a small DVD player in the basement for weekend movies.
I checked the mail on the kitchen table, which had already come, to see if I had gotten a letter from my pen-pal, Maria, in New York. I didn’t find one, but I did find an envelope addressed to me. That was very unusual; probably just junk mail. I saw it was from some modeling auditions place in downtown. I had gotten plenty of mail like that before and I threw it all away. I had no desire to be a model.
I tore open the envelope as I headed over to the trash to throw it away. I was curious enough that I had to open it anyway, just in case.
Then, I froze as I was about to drop it into a mess of cleaned up spilled breakfast cereal from one of my little sisters, probably Grace. Whatever was in that envelope was clearly not some stupid ‘opportunity’ advertisement. I knew this because it was hand written in a long, fine script.
I dashed back to my room as fat as I could on a broken foot as Mom was coming in from the dinning room where she was dealing with a loudly complaining Philomena who was eight and thought she wasn’t a little kid anymore.
Mom frowned as my foot disappeared around the corner. I ran into my room and plopped down in my array of blankets and pillows that were piled behind my dresser and bookshelf that gave me a bit of separation and privacy from Sally. Mary Grace and Gloria slept in the smaller room next to ours, and Grace, Sally, and Philomena slept in the biggest room at the end of the hall. Mom and Dad slept in the finished attic.
Carefully, I tore open the envelope. I stopped as I immediately realized who it was from.
Dear Carissa,
I just want to express my feelings and apologies towards you and your injury you suffer on my account. I want you to know how sorry I am.
I know you told me not to be sorry; that this is more like a blessing in disguise, but there are many things in life that I have done wrong, cannot fix, and now I regret them. Many of them are because of my fame. The freedom and money can get down to me and I forget who I really am. It is hard living this life. No matter what others say about money, it is not the key to anyone’s problems.
Having a lot of money and fame just loads on two more huge responsibilities. Responsibilities that easily slip through my fingers and take me down a wrong path.
Just know this one thing from me; it is people like you that really lighten up my days. It is people like you that keeps me holding on. You have really shown a fascination for life that I rarely ever see. You are happy, despite having a lot of sisters and overworking parents holding you all together. You have a gift that I do not: you know how to be happy without money or fame. Not that they are bad things; the money I can’t help, the fame I love. But, I will never know what it will feel like to be able to just sink into the shadows and be the person looking at the famous celebrity.
Know always in your heart that I am truly happy where I am and that the crowds do not annoy me. Always know that I am still a real person with a heart and feelings. I still have a private life that lives only in mine and my closest friend’s minds. I still am human, no matter how much magazines, news, interviewers, and crazy fans can turn me into a plastic idle. Always know this: you are a lucky girl; I am a lucky man. Everyone in the world is equally lucky; in different ways; not everyone sees it, but we all are. The whole world would be happy and at peace if everyone realized how lucky and fortunate they are.
Well, I have a plane to catch. Hopefully I will see you again, soon.
-Elijah Wood

I sat frozen for several minuets staring at the paper in my hand. I could almost here Elijah speaking the words right into my ears. What he had just said in this letter to me made me wonder at all those famous faces I had ever seen.
I looked up at my big poster of Elijah Wood smiling down at me. Even though he was like twenty-nine in the picture, it seemed as if he had never aged. But, I knew he was, physically. In his heart, I knew, he was that same guy ten years ago.
Carefully, I folded the letter and put it back into the envelope. How clever he was to put a return address as junk mail. He knew I was too carious to just up and throw it away without first checking out its contents.

That night when all my sisters were in bed, when I went downstairs to have a glass of milk, Mom stopped me. She was sitting at the kitchen table and looking at me with searching eyes. Somehow, I knew this was coming. But, I knew now what to say to her.
“Come, Carissa, sit down.”
I sat down across from her. I looked at the back door behind her so it looked as if I was looking at her.
“Carissa,” Mom said, “I know you have talked with that man, Elijah Wood. Don’t think I don’t see the autograph on your cast or the ring around your neck.”
Out of the blue, I asked, “Has Sally been blabbing her jaws?”
“No,” Mom answered, “Sally hasn’t said a ward, whatever she knows.”
I smiled in my mind. No matter how annoying and maddening Sally could be, she knew how to keep a secret and her mouth shut. “Mom, look, I now you don’t like celebrities and all that fame stuff…”
“Crissi,” Mom cut me off, “That is fine. I don’t mind how you keep up on the new celebrity talk and buzz and all. I just want to know, do you have a connection with this guy?”
Now I looked in her eyes. I answered, “No, Mom. I have absolutely no connection with him except for memories. I promise you.”
“Okay,” Mom answered simply, “I just wanted to clarify things.”
“Mom,” I said looking at her with my soft eyes I hardly ever use, “I know what you think, but that plastic idle they seem to be, it is all just a mask.” I was pretty sure she knew who I was talking about. “They are real people.”
I stood up from the table. “Good night, Mom” I said, turning away.
“Crissi?” Mom stopped me, again. I looked t her. She said with a smile, “I am glad that you are happy.”
I smiled back, “Me too. I am glad that you are happy, Mom, because I know you are, or you wouldn’t keep on going like this.”
“I am,” Mom said, “I am happier than I could ever be. I love you all, so very much. Something that you wont be able to understand until you have children. And, Carissa, whatever path you choose to take, I hope that you are happy and free.”

I lay in bed thinking about what had happened in the last three days. I understood, now, famous people better than I could ever have imagined before. A smiled played on my face as I remembered Elijah’s gentle and kind smile. “He is a very nice and humble guy,” I whispered to myself. I knew always in my heart that maybe my close friends would know how I got to talk with Elijah Wood, not one of them would ever know what it was really like to really meet Elijah Wood and understand his side, unless, of course, they would run into a situation where their paths collided too. But, even then, would he talk to them like he talked to me? They most certainly are not me. I guess, no, o know that I would always be one of those apples that got mixed up with the oranges to Elijah Wood.
And, as I clasped my ring on its chain in my hand; I knew that I would never forget the day when Elijah Wood stepped on my toes.



Day 2
I was at home. My busted up leg was propped up on the coffee table in front of me. I was watching Wilfred, of all things, in my bedroom. I thought about Elijah Wood as I watched him on the TV screen. Wilfred was on season four. Its had started a year ago, and sill is my favorite TV show.
To tell you the truth, I was bored out of my wits. I had been sitting there all day, and now evening was coming on. I could hear the horn honking and hum of work getting out in downtown near by.
“That’s it!” I said out loud, “I’m going out, busted foot or not!”
Mom called in from her room where she was hopelessly trying to nap, “Crissi! You can’t go out like that!”
“I am going to spontaneously combust, Mom,” I hollered back, “I’m not going far. I will be back in at least an hour.”
“Alright,” Mom gave in, “But, if you are not back in one hour exact, I am coming out to find you.” She turned around and muffled into her pillow, “Cell phones are too expensive.”

I was out of my room and outside in record time. I must have been the fastest person in crutches. They were all bedazzled from my friends. Downtown was only three blocks away. I figured out a way to boost myself with the crutches so that I actually went faster than normal walking.
I was downtown in less than ten minuets. I was sitting in a garden chair in front of my favorite place to order a Sprite and ice-cream in the summer, and a hot chocolate and doughnut in the winter.
I sat enjoying my Sprite and double chocolate ice-cream dish. I held my iPod in my pocket with my left hand. The city sounds were the best true music to me. I breathed the city air, lived the city; The city was me. Chicago had to be the best wonderful place in the world. But, I guess I didn’t really know that. I had hardly been out of it.

So, like I said, I was just sitting there. AND GUESS WHO COMES ALONG?! You probably already guessed: None other than the almighty Elijah Wood. He just came walking along in his perfect blue jeans and white slightly fitted t-shirt. His nerdy style sun glasses almost hid him. But, if you are smart like me, a glance at him gives him away.
It didn’t matter whether I recognized him or not; he recognized me. H e winked and came over and sat across from me.
“Hey,” He said with a huge polite smile, “How is your leg doing?”
“It’s bored to tears like the rest of me,” I answered with a smile back. “I literally am going to spontaneously combust. I haven’t only because of you autograph on my cast.”
“Really?,” He replied looking concentrated, “It’s just a signature. A bunch of squiggly lines. “
“Yes,” I said, “But, not just. Your autograph and kindness means more to me than anything in the world or that has happened to me. If you really want to know what it is like from my side, it is as if you went back about fifty years and met all four Beatles in person, and then hung out with them on a boys night out.”
Elijah looked at me. He thought about what I said. “Wow! That would be amazing, but, I can’t do that.”
“Exactly!” I exclaimed. The waiter came and cleared away my dishes. Elijah went ahead and ordered a Sprite and I got a refill on mine. (free refills) “You see? The chances of even meeting you or so much as seeing you are so small. The chances of what is happening to me, well, it is so slim it is almost just as impossible as that. I may as well jump up into the air, fly around the world in ten minuets, and hop on my broken foot all through downtown Chicago while balancing a plate on my nose. All I’m saying is this: I understand now about the one of the apples that got mixed up with the oranges.
I really did and still do to this day: If you see all the regular people in the world as a big crate of oranges, they all look alike and they are all just plain oranges. Some are riper than others or more bruised. You look at big bushels of apples, and they all look the same. But if an apple drops into the oranges, your eyes are going to go to that apple because the red stands out from the orange so much. When Elijah thinks back in his memory of the people he has met, he wont remember many that well, but his eyes will land on me because I have made a memory in his mind that will last forever.
Elijah Wood looked at me for a minuet. As if reading my mind, he said, “You want to know what my close friends are to me?”
“The melon that got mixed up in the oranges?” I guessed. “No ,perhaps the hunk of gold?”
Nope, ”Elijah responds, “Gold is hard and heavy. Silver is to soft. Diamonds reflect light and are a bother to the eyes if you look at them for to long. Crystals and purls are not even enough to begin to explain the value of a great and lasting friendship. Not even gold. No, that only leaves one thing that can possibly begin the slightest to explain the value of friends: Mithrill itself.”
“Oh,” I say as I make the connection. “The Dwarven metal jewel of greater value than America itself.”
“Yes. The whole world can literally explode around you, you can make it on your own, but you will make it and survive if you have a friend.”
Now I was done with my second Sprite and was ripping up bits of my straw rapper and dropping them into the melting ice in my glass. Elijah was half done with his. I noticed how Elijah looked at me in that way I had never seen in any of his you tube videos or even pic shots or photo shoots. It was a look as if he had finally met up with a calm fan who wasn’t all gushy all over him. And, there was something else about him: he was talking so much. I mean, this guy was supposed to be shy. It seemed almost as if he was talking to an old friend, not to a random person who he had accidentally broken her foot.
“You talk a lot,” I heard myself saying out of the blue.
Suddenly, Elijah bursted out laughing. “Well,” he said, “You are a very easy person to talk to! And, It’s very easy to read your face. You talk a lot.”
“Really?” I said in puzzlement. “Well, I have a few friends, but I mostly let them do the talking.”
“I could keep on talking with you forever,” He said, smiling that big, gorgeous smile at me, “But, unfortunately, I have to leave Chicago tomorrow morning for home in LA for a while. Then, I will be heading back to New Zealand for a week.”
Something registers in my head and I made a sudden connection. I jumped up out of my seat and nearly fell over. But, Elijah was there in an instant and caught me. I looked up at him and said, “Thank you.” Then I checked my iPod. I had twenty minuets to get home. Even though it really only took me five, rush hour was coming on and the sidewalks, wide as they were, would be thick with people in a hurry.
“I’ve got to get home,” I explained, “I promised my mom that I would get home in an hour.
“Okay,” Elijah said. He handed me my crutches. “which way are you headed?”
“Right; North; around the corner.. Really, it isn’t far, but it seems that we’ve hit rush our.” I glanced at the street which was now lined with honking cabs.
“Okay, well, I’m actually going the same direction to get cab at a proper cab stop.”
I took the bate to spend just a little more time with Elijah before I had to leave him, most likely, forever.

Really all we did was walk two blocks together, side by side, with an occasional camera in my our faces. We just talked lightly. It was a little hard to talk at all because the city got extra loud in rush hour. But, when we got to a proper cab pick-up lane, I didn’t want Elijah to go.
“Well,” He said, rolling onto the balls of his feet and back again, “I guess this is it. One last time, I am still very sorry for what I did. I just want you to know, It was amazing to meet you.”
And, then, we hugged; a nice , friendly hug. I knew that he was the apple that got mixed up in my oranges. He was the apple that would never die or be eaten.
“Carissa,” He says, looking into my eyes, “You are the apple that got mixed up in my oranges that will never die or be eaten. Good-bi.”
Then, he was gone. He was in the back seat of a yellow cab and it was driving away. I walked on slowly, because I had a few minuets to kill and I was starting to get tired. Actually, as i walked In my front door in the nick of time, I could barely make it back up to my room.
But, as I went up the stairs, my Mom, now up and carrying a full, dirty laundry basket towards the basement stared at my yellow, glimmered-up, knee high cast for a minuet. She seemed to just be noticing who exactly had signed it in big, perfect handwriting. She frowned and continued. As far as my I know, my Mom doesn’t like celebrities and the big Elijah Wood poster on my wall of my tiny bedroom. She probably couldn’t give-a-care that a famous person had stepped on me. It wasn’t like my parents were going to sue, or something.
I collapsed on my bed and closed my eyes. I slightly opened my left eye to see if Sally was staring at me, again, from her bed on the other side of the room. She was. I said, in an exasperated voice, “Stop Staring at me. Why do you always stare at me?”
Sally looked at me. She was small and skinny at six years old. Sitting on her bed hugging her favorite bunny, her long black hair spilled over her shoulders. To my surprise, she answered, “Because, I admire you. I know who you’ve been talking to. You cant possibly hide that from me.”
“No, I guess I can’t. I can’t hide anything from you. You are way to clever and smart,” I respond in a grouchy voice. But, I have to admire her cleverness. She had obviously seen the autograph on my cast. She knew that I would be really cranky for her looking at me if something particularly great went great that day. And, nice comments were rare out of me.
“I know you have talked once or twice to your famous lover, Elijah Wood, because of the One Ring that fell out of the hood of your sweater, which you have clearly missed,” Sally said pointing to a glint of gold half way under me.
My eyes widened. I pushed myself up and grabbed it. I opened my hand up slowly and it reminded me of Deagel slowly opening up his hand when he found the actual One Ring.
Sure enough, I found a genuine replica of The One Ring. It was one of those real gold plated ones that cost seventy-five bucks on the internet. A silver chain strung through it with a small clasp. I smiled a huge smile as I thought of Elijah going the night before and getting overnight shipping. I slipped the chain over my head, because the chain is big enough.
“You’re welcome” Sally said in a sarcastic voice.
Suddenly, I got off my bed and stumbled over to her as fast as I could, and I gave her a big hug. She was clearly puzzled. I had never done this before except for when she first arrived from China almost six years ago, and she doesn’t remember that. But, she returns the hug.


Day 3
I woke up unusually early that next morning on Thursday. In-fact, the sun was only about half way up. I was puzzled, because I never woke up this early during the Summer. And, it seemed as if something was missing. Some piece of information, or something I was forgetting.
I lay on my stomach and felt my new One Ring jabbing into my right shoulder. Elijah mussed have put it in my hood while we were walking together.
Suddenly, I bolted up in bed. Sally was still fast asleep, so she didn’t hear me quietly shout, “I was hanging out with a famous celebrity! WALKING DOWN THE STREET WITH HIM! IN DOWNTOWN, CHICAGO!
I leaped out of bed and remembered my cast. I grabbed my crouches and hobbled down the stairs and out the front door. Luckily, the whole house was still asleep. I found it: The Chicago Sun Times on the front walk. I scooped it up and sat on the steps. I pulled it out and flipped through the pages. I found the Celebrity Buzz page, and there it was in full color: A picture of Elijah Wood and I, walking down the street. I took out the page, I was the only one who even read the Celebrity Buzz page, and folded it into my sweatpants pocket. I left the paper on the stairs so it looked ad if it hadn’t been touched. Most likely, Mom wouldn’t notice it because she hardly ever even read the paper. Dad would totally miss it because he never got that far before he had to leave for work, and he forgot about it by the time he got back.
I lay under my covers, despite the rising sun outside promising another ninety degree day. Using my book light, I carefully examined the picture. The caption over head said, ‘Actor Elijah Wood Caught Hanging Out With Total Stranger’. There was just a little article about how I was caught walking the streets of the Chi, and how I might be his new girlfriend. I just rolled my eyes and went back to studying the photo. Elijah had a slight smile under his sunglasses. We both looked totally relaxed. But, we were like three feet away from each other. I was clearly not his girlfriend. I shoved the article into my nightstand. No fear in my school friends finding out about this, I home schooled. My neighborhood friends already knew about Elijah autographing my cast, and it wouldn’t hurt for them to know a little more. Only two friends even read the Celebrity Buzz, and neither even cared about Elijah Wood.
I fell back to sleep with a small smile on my face as I heard Dad go outside to get the newspaper.

I woke back up at ten o’clock. I crawled out of bed and grabbed my crouches. All my little sisters were jumping around the house being really loud. My family didn’t have cable for morning cartoons, just a small DVD player in the basement for weekend movies.
I checked the mail on the kitchen table, which had already come, to see if I had gotten a letter from my pen-pal, Maria, in New York. I didn’t find one, but I did find an envelope addressed to me. That was very unusual; probably just junk mail. I saw it was from some modeling auditions place in downtown. I had gotten plenty of mail like that before and I threw it all away. I had no desire to be a model.
I tore open the envelope as I headed over to the trash to throw it away. I was curious enough that I had to open it anyway, just in case.
Then, I froze as I was about to drop it into a mess of cleaned up spilled breakfast cereal from one of my little sisters, probably Grace. Whatever was in that envelope was clearly not some stupid ‘opportunity’ advertisement. I knew this because it was hand written in a long, fine script.
I dashed back to my room as fat as I could on a broken foot as Mom was coming in from the dinning room where she was dealing with a loudly complaining Philomena who was eight and thought she wasn’t a little kid anymore.
Mom frowned as my foot disappeared around the corner. I ran into my room and plopped down in my array of blankets and pillows that were piled behind my dresser and bookshelf that gave me a bit of separation and privacy from Sally. Mary Grace and Gloria slept in the smaller room next to ours, and Grace, Sally, and Philomena slept in the biggest room at the end of the hall. Mom and Dad slept in the finished attic.
Carefully, I tore open the envelope. I stopped as I immediately realized who it was from.
Dear Carissa,
I just want to express my feelings and apologies towards you and your injury you suffer on my account. I want you to know how sorry I am.
I know you told me not to be sorry; that this is more like a blessing in disguise, but there are many things in life that I have done wrong, cannot fix, and now I regret them. Many of them are because of my fame. The freedom and money can get down to me and I forget who I really am. It is hard living this life. No matter what others say about money, it is not the key to anyone’s problems.
Having a lot of money and fame just loads on two more huge responsibilities. Responsibilities that easily slip through my fingers and take me down a wrong path.
Just know this one thing from me; it is people like you that really lighten up my days. It is people like you that keeps me holding on. You have really shown a fascination for life that I rarely ever see. You are happy, despite having a lot of sisters and overworking parents holding you all together. You have a gift that I do not: you know how to be happy without money or fame. Not that they are bad things; the money I can’t help, the fame I love. But, I will never know what it will feel like to be able to just sink into the shadows and be the person looking at the famous celebrity.
Know always in your heart that I am truly happy where I am and that the crowds do not annoy me. Always know that I am still a real person with a heart and feelings. I still have a private life that lives only in mine and my closest friend’s minds. I still am human, no matter how much magazines, news, interviewers, and crazy fans can turn me into a plastic idle. Always know this: you are a lucky girl; I am a lucky man. Everyone in the world is equally lucky; in different ways; not everyone sees it, but we all are. The whole world would be happy and at peace if everyone realized how lucky and fortunate they are.
Well, I have a plane to catch. Hopefully I will see you again, soon.
-Elijah Wood

I sat frozen for several minuets staring at the paper in my hand. I could almost here Elijah speaking the words right into my ears. What he had just said in this letter to me made me wonder at all those famous faces I had ever seen.
I looked up at my big poster of Elijah Wood smiling down at me. Even though he was like twenty-nine in the picture, it seemed as if he had never aged. But, I knew he was, physically. In his heart, I knew, he was that same guy ten years ago.
Carefully, I folded the letter and put it back into the envelope. How clever he was to put a return address as junk mail. He knew I was too carious to just up and throw it away without first checking out its contents.

That night when all my sisters were in bed, when I went downstairs to have a glass of milk, Mom stopped me. She was sitting at the kitchen table and looking at me with searching eyes. Somehow, I knew this was coming. But, I knew now what to say to her.
“Come, Carissa, sit down.”
I sat down across from her. I looked at the back door behind her so it looked as if I was looking at her.
“Carissa,” Mom said, “I know you have talked with that man, Elijah Wood. Don’t think I don’t see the autograph on your cast or the ring around your neck.”
Out of the blue, I asked, “Has Sally been blabbing her jaws?”
“No,” Mom answered, “Sally hasn’t said a ward, whatever she knows.”
I smiled in my mind. No matter how annoying and maddening Sally could be, she knew how to keep a secret and her mouth shut. “Mom, look, I now you don’t like celebrities and all that fame stuff…”
“Crissi,” Mom cut me off, “That is fine. I don’t mind how you keep up on the new celebrity talk and buzz and all. I just want to know, do you have a connection with this guy?”
Now I looked in her eyes. I answered, “No, Mom. I have absolutely no connection with him except for memories. I promise you.”
“Okay,” Mom answered simply, “I just wanted to clarify things.”
“Mom,” I said looking at her with my soft eyes I hardly ever use, “I know what you think, but that plastic idle they seem to be, it is all just a mask.” I was pretty sure she knew who I was talking about. “They are real people.”
I stood up from the table. “Good night, Mom” I said, turning away.
“Crissi?” Mom stopped me, again. I looked t her. She said with a smile, “I am glad that you are happy.”
I smiled back, “Me too. I am glad that you are happy, Mom, because I know you are, or you wouldn’t keep on going like this.”
“I am,” Mom said, “I am happier than I could ever be. I love you all, so very much. Something that you wont be able to understand until you have children. And, Carissa, whatever path you choose to take, I hope that you are happy and free.”

I lay in bed thinking about what had happened in the last three days. I understood, now, famous people better than I could ever have imagined before. A smiled played on my face as I remembered Elijah’s gentle and kind smile. “He is a very nice and humble guy,” I whispered to myself. I knew always in my heart that maybe my close friends would know how I got to talk with Elijah Wood, not one of them would ever know what it was really like to really meet Elijah Wood and understand his side, unless, of course, they would run into a situation where their paths collided too. But, even then, would he talk to them like he talked to me? They most certainly are not me. I guess, no, o know that I would always be one of those apples that got mixed up with the oranges to Elijah Wood.
And, as I clasped my ring on its chain in my hand; I knew that I would never forget the day when Elijah Wood stepped on my toes.
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