“Why now?” Sandy thought. What was the point of doing this now? She thought of all her friends, knowing she would never see them again. Her frustration grew until she wanted to scream and throw something, anything around her. “How would that change things?” she thought in protest. The decision had been made and there was nothing she could change it.
Her bedroom walls were a pale yellow, which always cheered her up until now. Now they seemed to taunt her, “You’re leaving us forever.” Her walk-in closet screamed, “You’re taking everything with leaving us empty!” The bedroom she always felt safe and calm in now tormented her.
She couldn’t help but replay the conversation with her parents last night over and over. Dad told her he got a great job offer that he couldn’t refuse. That meant moving her junior year of high school. “You’ll love California,” they said. “How could you do this to me?” she had screamed at them. Running down the hall, she slammed the door to her bedroom. Now here she lay helpless to the change threatening her happiness.
She laid down upon her bed and cried, “What else can I do,” as tears slid down her face. Finally sleep claimed her, easing her mind into silence.
Then next morning the sunshine filled her room waking her. She stretched only then remembering last night’s conversation with her parents. Dread filled her heart again. Sandy knew her friends would understand but speaking the words aloud to them, that would make it a reality and she wasn’t ready for that. How could she ever be ready?
She dressed slowly slipping into ripped black jeans and a soft blue shirt. Braiding her long blonde hair, Sandy wondered how she would ever get the words out. Grabbing her backpack, she went downstairs to the kitchen. “Hey honey!” her mom said. She towered over her petite mother at 5’9”. Glaring at her mother, she gave her the silent treatment. “Oh boy,” her mother muttered under her breath. Sandy heard them still and her anger flooded her senses. She couldn’t understand how her mother had a right to be angry at her. Sandy was the one leaving everything she knew behind.
Quickly she ate her cereal desperate to get away. Rinsing her bowl, she put her dishes in the sink ignoring her mother all along. How could she listen to anything her mom had to say right now?
Closing the front door behind her, Sandy jogged to the bus stop. She always ran late but since she and the bus driver became friendly, she would wait a few extra minutes for her. She climbed onto the bus giving the bus driver a friendly smile before taking a seat.
The entire way to school she pondered on what to say to her friends. She knew they would be waiting for her eager as always. They had all been friends since freshman year when they all just clicked upon meeting each other for the first time. Since then, they all had been like peas in a pod. They all supported each other no matter what and she knew they would do that this time too. Her frustration and grief would become theirs as well. Would she ever see them all again? She was moving across the country! Of course, they could use social media to keep in touch, but seeing each other in person kept them closer. Anyone knew that, using social media or not. It was just a fact of life.
The school bus pulled into the parking lot and kids started to shuffle off. Joining them, she shrugged her purple backpack over her shoulder and headed into school. There she saw her friends waving her over. She rushed over giving her best friend, Lily a tight hug. “I need to talk to you,” she whispered. Lily pulled back, her dark brown eyes looking concerned. “What is it?” she asked. “Not here,” Sandy whispered back, “after school.”
She hugged everyone hello. Pushing her problems to the back of her mind, they all talked about this coming week’s plans for Spirit Week. Today were school colors, hence her wearing black and blue. She had always thrown herself into Spirit Week, enjoying all the school’s traditions. “Would her new school have that? What other traditions would they have?” she wondered.
As the bell rang, everyone moved forward as a large crowd. Stuffing her backpack into the slim locker, she went to first period forcing herself to go through the motions. The morning classes dragged on, feeling as though lunchtime would never come. When the teachers’ called on her, her response was short and concise.
Finally, lunchtime came as she quickly walked to the cafeteria. The light green walls contrasted the gray tile and bright yellow tables. Hopefully one day they would redecorate it something more cheerful, but she wouldn’t be here to see it, not that she really cared. The point was she wouldn’t be here with her friends anymore.
She smiled at her friends as she put down her blue lunch tray on the table. Taking a seat, they all greeted each other. “When would this be the last lunch with them?” she pondered. She knew she had to tell them, but she needed to talk to Lily first. Instead, Sandy listened to their voices surrounding her staring into their smiling faces, memorizing each facial feature.
The rest of the afternoon creeped by, until the final school bell rang releasing them into the world again. Instead of taking the bus home, she met Lily as planned by the lobby doors to walk home together. Hugging yet again first, they silently started walking home. Lily always knew to give her time to put her thoughts together before voicing them.
After a while, Lily asked quietly, “So what’s going on?”
Sandy gathered her courage and spoke with sadness, “My Dad got a job offer in California. We’re moving in a few weeks.”
Lily eyes widened with shock, “Oh no!” she cried out. “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” she replied, “he already accepted the offer. They’re going to fly out this weekend to go house hunting.”
Sandy’s eyes started to tear up, “I don’t know what to do. It’s all so fast! How can I start my senior year as the new kid, away from all of you guys?”
“Oh Sandy, you know we won’t forget you! Think of all the ways we can keep in touch. Texting, Facetime, Snapchat, Facebook and everything else! I know it’ll be rough, but I’ll always be there for you. We’ve been friends forever and I don’t plan on letting that go. Maybe I can even visit this summer.” Lily stopped to grab Sandy’s hands. “I may not see you every day, but we’ll be able to talk a million other ways all the time!”
Sandy’s tears silently spilled over her soft cheeks. “But we’ll have entirely separate lives now! Everything will change!”
“It doesn’t have to! We just need to remember how important we are to each other and make time for it,” Lily replied. “I’m sure the other girls will too.”
“Do you really think we can do that? You really think it won’t change?” Sandy asked quietly.
“Of course! Remember? We’re friends for life!” Lily told Sandy as they reached Sandy’s house, sharing one last hug.
“Remember,” said Lily staring at Sandy with sincere eyes, “We can do this. It will be all right.”
Sandy walked through the front door, finding a note that her mom had gone grocery shopping. “Probably for the best,” she thought. “I need time to think.” With a cold soda in her hand, Sandy sat at her desk in her bedroom. Pulling out her textbooks, she started her laptop determined to get homework done quickly. She had always been focused and determined. Why should she let this change of events change who she was?
Once she completed all her homework, she thought about what Lily had said. As she checked to verify that all her social media accounts were active and connected with her friends, she realized that Lily was right. She could do this.
She should be happy for her father, shouldn’t she? He worked hard for their family so why not? Yes, it would be a big change, but she had a friendly outgoing personality. So why couldn’t she make new friends at the new school while keeping her old friends? She didn’t care about being the new girl really. If others felt open to being friends, she would too.
With new resolve and confidence, she sat down for dinner with her parents that night. “I’m sorry for the way I reacted last night. I know how hard you work Dad, and you deserve this. If this is what you want, I’m happy for you.”
Staring at her with shock and pride in his eyes, he said, “You don’t know how much this means to me. I know this is a big change for you, the biggest. I also know that it’s going to be hard. Whatever we can do to make it easier on you, we will.” He came around the table pulling her up to him and hugged her tightly. “I’m so lucky to have you as my daughter. Thank you for understanding,” he said.
That night she called the rest of her friends telling them the news. They all reaffirmed what Lily said, they would do everything to keep in touch. With a full heart she joined her family for movie night, knowing everything would be ok.