The first day of camp began with a soccer game.Abby was not quite sportive, she preferred activities such as dance and music. Keya was quite an athlete and received lots of cheers from her fellow campers. Abby didn’t have any friends nor was she as athletic. Keya was the only person Abby felt she could talk with because she was in her church. All other kids were from other churches around town and Keya knew them all because she always attended the monthly retreats in New York where all New England church kids and their families would get together. Abby and her mom could never attend those retreats; they always hated bugging others for rides and they couldn’t afford to pay for the stay. The people stayed in a University’s campus dorm rooms that hosted these people for one weekend every month.
It was definitely a long day for her – she was already feeling left out by Keya and the other kids. It seemed Keya became a different person when she saw all these friends of hers from other churches. She didn’t even bother to introduce Abby to these kids. Abby could already feel her tears beginning to flow. She just wanted to go home, home to her mother, and lie down in her room where no one could bother her. She sat with Keya and the other girls at lunch, but no one would talk with her. That night Abby asked Keya, “Can I use your computer?”
“Sure. Here wait let me log you into the guest account.”
“Thanks.” Abby wanted to check her email and wanted to message her mother too. She overheard Linda in kitchen downstairs and talking with Keya about their first day at camp and Keya seemed to be spilling the beans.
“I don’t know mom, Abby began to cry. She wouldn’t talk with anyone else and she got offended when I started playing soccer with others. She was sitting by herself.”
“How could you let her sit by herself? Baby, you need to make her feel more comfortable.”
Linda was giving her daughter a lesson, but it wasn’t as powerful. She walked into Abby while she was typing an email to her mother.
“Abby, I know today wasn’t a good day. Keya told me everything. You need to open up more and just play along with others. That’s how girls your age are. You don’t depend on others to call you. Anyway, have a good night and call me if you need anything.” Linda closed the door behind her. It seemed that Keya didn’t want to sleep in her room because Abby seemed “weird” as others had described her to be.
Of course Linda, its easier said than done. Anyone can advice; if only they could follow it too. Linda’s words were the last thing Abby wanted to hear. Instead of comforting her, Linda’s words ended up crushing her even more. She didn’t seem to be as warm as Abby expected. She finished typing her email to Jenna, her mother.
“Mom! I miss you so much. I really want to come home. Please do something and arrange a ride for me.”
Abby couldn’t last in Keya’s house another night. She felt lonelier than ever now that even Keya left the room with Abby all by herself. The last thing Abby wanted was to stare at all of Keya’s accomplishments in forms of trophies, certificates, medals, and start feeling sorry for herself for wasting away her life because money was required for everything in this world.
Linda felt burdened with the problems and “weirdness” of Abby. They left early next morning to drop off Abby at home. “Don’t waste our time if you’re not sure that you’re daughter will attend camp or not!” Linda snapped at Jenna and left in a rage. Abby felt ashamed, but relieved at the same time for having come home to her mother. This was her comfort zone. This was the place where she didn’t have to feel inferior to anyone. Her tears started rolling down her cheeks as she hugged her mother.
“I’m sorry mom. I didn’t want to disappoint you, but I can’t begin to tell you how I felt being at camp and at Keya’s place.”
“I know honey, don’t worry. You’re now home and safe.” Jenna wasn’t disappointed, but worried that her daughter was not like other kids. The troubles in their life had made Abby very insecure that she wasn’t quite social like others. She hesitated to initiate conversation and wouldn’t talk unless the other person started to talk. Putting all thoughts aside, Jenna felt that it was now time. It was time to do something different out of the ordinary. She was in the verge of searching for a new job, but nothing mattered more to her right now than the well-being of her daughter.
Jenna went to the dresser table and grabbed an envelope from top right drawer inside which she had saved $1500 in cash for emergency. She felt it was now necessary to use it. Abby went to her book shelf and took out another $1000 in cash that she had saved in the form of $10’s, $1’s, and $20’s.
“Here mom, take it. Maybe you can use my savings too.”
Jenna’s heart melted. She put her arm around Abby as they sat on the floor counting all the dollar bills. “Baby, we’re putting this money together and going somewhere far away. Perhaps a road trip. Would you like that?”
“But mom, can we afford it?”
“Of course we can! If we don’t use this now, I don’t know when we will. I know I’ve always told you to save for emergency, but now that I come to think of it…Your happiness is the true emergency.”
Abby and Jenna were planning a summer adventure and it was just beginning.