None of the other students acknowledge my existence as I go by. Is it because my eyes are glazed over with tears waiting to fall? Why does the first day of school have to be so hard?
Hopping on my bike, I speed away as fast as I can pedal, hoping the distance will erase the memories of today. Of course, that doesn’t happen. The mean things the fifth grade girls whispered behind my back still play in my head.
Sniffling, I struggle to catch my breath through the sobs. When I biked to school early in the morning everything was different. The few blocks between the school and our apartment were full of wonder and new sights. The sunrise was beautiful, and the ride so peaceful that it took my mind off Dad and how much I missed Mom being around. It’s hard waking up to an empty house… with Mom being at work and Dad… More tears trickle down my cheeks as I think about Dad’s funeral.
Months have passed since we moved almost two hundred miles away from all that was familiar to me. I haven’t heard from any of my old friends in several weeks.
They’ve probably forgotten all about me...
Quietly I close the door to the small apartment and lay my backpack against the wall. Mom’s in the kitchen making bread, and I’m glad to see her.
“How was your first da—?“ Mom starts
to ask, but then stops when she notices my tears. Briskly she makes her way toward me, wiping her doughy hands on her apron, as she asks, “What’s wrong, honey? Why are you crying?”
She kneels down and I immediately wrap my arms around her neck, fresh tears streaming down my face.
Sobbing and sniffling I blurt out, “It was awful! They called me …Freckle Face… and teased me for… being homeschooled… they said… if I’d of had a … real… education I … wouldn’t be so … shy around people…And all day I didn’t… didn’t make a single friend!” I began choking on the sobs and couldn’t continue.
“There, there…” Mother soothed, comfortingly rubbing my back.
“I miss… Dad…” I whimper between gasps of breath, “and Sammy… and Heather… and everyone else… why couldn’t we have stayed at our old house? At least I had friends then.”
She sighed, “I wish we could have stayed, too, sweetheart. But Mommy needs a job, and this is the best we can do right now. I’m sorry today went so bad, but dwelling on the bad isn’t going to help you. Try to think about Jesus’ love for you. Imagine how he’d want to act when you face days like today.”
“…I don’t know.”
Mom released me, drawing back to look into my eyes. “Jesus always thought about others, even when he felt down. If we keep thinking about others and how we can help them through their problems, we won’t be so concerned with our own.”
I swallow, giving another sniffle. “But how can I help anyone?”
“Well, maybe you could write a letter to Grandma. She’s still hurting, too, after Dad’s death.”
“I don’t feel like writing a letter right now…” I muttered dolefully.
Mom squeezed my shoulders. “Maybe you should anyway. You always love getting letters—oh! Speaking of which,” she turned and snatched an envelope off the table, “you got something in the mail today.”
Beaming, I eagerly took the card and checked to see who it was from, but there wasn’t a name. Tearing the envelope open I found a card picturing many beautiful flowers and two butterflies. In fancy lettering were the words “Thinking of You”. I studied the cover only a moment before yanking open the card. My face light up with an even brighter smile and fresh tears glistened in my eyes—these ones, though, are tears of joy.
Inside were the signatures of my old friends, and each one had written me a short little note next to their name.
“Momma, it’s from everyone—all of my friends!”
Mom smiled. “What did they write?”
“Sammy misses me, Alexia hopes we’ll visit them soon… Aubrey wants me to write to her, and… Just sec, I can’t really read what Rebecca wrote…”
Minutes pass, but a fresh smile still lights up my face each time I reread one of the messages. “Momma, I think I’ll write a letter to Grandma.”
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