Annemarie rolled over and opened her laptop. The screen lit up, Facebook still open from the night before. Nothing new. Her friends were still asleep. It was only 7 in Washington. It was already 10 here.
“Annemarie, rise and shine!” Her mom knocked on her door. No matter how many times the Army moved them her mom never seemed upset. She just unpacked and started again.
Her mom knocked again and came in. “Still in bed? I guess it’s hard to get used to the time change. Especially when you’re online until all hours in the morning.” She sat on Annemarie’s bed. “I’m going to run some errands on post. Do you want to come? We can see if there are any summer programs going on. You could make some friends.”
“I don’t want to do any programs. It’s always just new people.”
“That’s not so bad. You can explore together.”
Annemarie shrugged. “I’ll just stay here and unpack.”
Her mom glanced at the unopened boxes. “Good idea. Don’t waste all day on the computer. Get something done!”
After a late breakfast Annemarie started on the boxes. Winter clothes. “Won’t be needing those here.” She opened her computer. “Let’s see if anyone’s awake yet.”
Click. Someone had liked one of her pictures.
Another box. Shoes. “Don’t need those yet.” Her computer beeped.
Her friend Kelly had sent her a link. “I know you’re being a hermit so I’m finding things for you to do. Go!”
Kelly had always come up with the plans. Nothing had changed even though they were 2,000 miles apart. Annemarie checked the link. A local church was having a mid-summer carnival. No. Everyone would know everyone else and she would be the only one with no friends.
Click. Back to Kelly. “Love you! I might go.” But she wouldn’t. Not without someone else. She hated going places alone.
She clicked on another friend’s profile. “Miss you already! It’s so hot here!”
Click. Another friend. “Love your haircut! Wish I was there.”
Click. Nothing new here. Click. Click.
Annemarie heard a car pull up. A few minutes later her door opened.
“Are you still working?” Her mother looked around. “How many boxes have you unpacked?”
“I’m getting them organized.” Annemarie pointed at the piles.
“Organize faster.” Her mom shook her head and walked out.
Annemarie sighed and opened another box. Old school stuff. Don’t need that. Books. That’s easy.
She threw the books on the shelf. One box down.
She stopped to check her email. Nothing.
“Maybe Sam saw my post.” Click.
As soon as she became active people started to chat with her.
“Meet any cool people yet?”
“How’s the neighborhood?”
“Have you been on post much? Is there stuff to do?”
Every message had the same answer. “No. Too busy getting settled in. Haven’t had time to check anything out. Haven’t met anyone yet.”
Suddenly there was a knock on her door. Her dad stuck his head in. “Did you finish unpacking?”
He looked at her bookshelf and then at the boxes on the floor. “What are you doing?”
Annemarie closed the chat window. “Just talking to my friends. Why?”
Her dad sat down on the bed. “I know you didn’t want to move but you have to at least finish unpacking. It’s been over a week and you’ve unpacked one box. You’ll never feel at home until you start treating this like home. You have to go out and do things.”
“I know, but I hate being the new girl.”
“You can’t hide at home with your computer either.” Her dad gave her a hug. “That’s why starting tomorrow there will only be a few hours each day when you can use the Internet.”
Annemarie sat in shock. What was she supposed to do all day? She’d have to talk to Kelly about this.
He dad got up. “Don’t worry. It won’t be as bad as you think. Time for dinner.”
Annemarie nodded and clicked on Kelly’s Facebook. This was big news. She wrote a quick message to Kelly then went down to eat. After dinner she came straight back. A message was waiting.
“Cheer up! We can still talk a few times each day. Now you’ll have to go out and meet someone! Here’s some more links! Good luck!”
No help there. Kelly seemed happy about this. She looked at the links.
“This one sounds promising.”
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