April 22, 2008
By Sonia Bruinooge, Fukuoka, ZZ

“Tibby, open your window. You need some fresh air after sitting in the car for so long.”

“Yes, mom,” Tibby pressed down on the window switch as she replied with as much enthusiasm as she could offer. Balmy air streamed in through the window. She let out a long sigh. She’d been sitting in the exact same spot for over five hours and it was making her butt sore. Tibby looked out the car window gazing at the golden wheat fields lit up by the setting sun. She rested her chin on her arm letting her long, chestnut-colored hair flutter. Even the setting sun just looked like a gloomy face saying good-bye. Her family; her mom, dad, and 10 year-old sister were all moving to the countryside to live closer to their very old grandmother.

“Are we there yet?” Jenny whined as she stuck her short arms to the front seat and tapped on her mother’s shoulders.

Taking Jenny’s hand in hers she said, “We’re almost there, honey. Just sit back and relax, ok?”
Jenny grumbled and bumped back into her seat, “I didn’t want to move anyway.”
“Oh, please. Don’t start now,” her father pleaded, his eyes on the road. Tibby agreed with Jenny. She didn’t want to move either. She had to leave everything: her friends, her school, her city, her life. It didn’t help that she was moving to some old house in the middle of nowhere. It was probably a wooden shack in the woods. Thirty minutes later, she found out that she was right.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Tibby exclaimed.
Her father was unloading cardboard boxes from the trunk, “Oh c’mon gloomy, don’t act like a 14 year-old.”
“I am a 14 year-old for your information,” replied Tibby. Her nickname had always been “Gloomy” since the beginning of the move. This wasn’t helping her temper. The house wasn’t exactly a shack in the woods but something close. It was certainly old. And it was on the side of a small mountain. Looking at it in the darkness made it look like an abandoned haunted house. Tibby could not believe it. First, she was living in a glorious apartment in New York and now she was supposed to live in this dump? But for now there was nothing to do except to drag herself into the house and sleep.
The next morning was a jumble: boxes to be unpacked, things to be cleaned up. After a small lunch of sandwiches, Tibby decided to go out for a walk. She snuck out of the house and trotted down the rocky winding road to the bottom of the mountain. Tibby was ready to rate this teeny place. After walking some time she decided on her conclusion: she hated this town. There were no theaters, or malls, or shoe stores--just a desolate town with some old people plodding around. It was so small that Tibby could walk from one end of the town to the other in 30 minutes. Back when she lived in New York she had her friends who she played with on the weekends; there were so many choices. The “amazing school” Tibby’s parents talked about had only 300 students; most of them were not even her age. She stomped her way back to her new shack-like home. She bolted up the creaky stairs and slammed her wooden door behind her. Tibby crashed onto her springy bed covering her face with a pillow, she pushed it hard against her face until her chest burned and screamed for air. She stayed there for a long time.
“Gloomy! Dinner!” a muffled cry from downstairs woke her. Tibby groaned as she pushed herself upright. Dragging herself down the stairs she plopped onto a chair.
“This place sucks,” mumbled Tibby as she played around with her salad. She wanted attention. Anger was boiling inside her and she was ready for a fight. She wanted to shout and spill it all out. But nothing came. Her parents just sat there and ate away at their salads commenting on the wonderful dressing. “Fine! Let me suffer in this crappy hovel!” She let her chair collapse with a loud crash behind her as she dashed up to her room; her vision blurry from hot tears burning her eyes.
A few minutes later, her mother crept into Tibby’s room with two soft knocks on the door.
Her voice was calm and soothing, “I know it’s hard for you, Tibby. We used to live in a big apartment with everything so convenient and easy. But,” there was a long pause, “but it’s only going to be fun if you try to make it. We might not have all the expensive gadgets but we have each other and that should make us happy.” Tibby just glared at the wooden wall looking away from her mother sitting at the edge of her bed. “Just know that we all care about you and love you, ok?” she left quietly out the door. Tibby did not know how long she stared at the wall because when she noticed, it was already morning with birds chirping in the clear forest air. She gazed out her window. The morning view was beautiful. A light mist was blanketing over the tall pine trees and she Tibby could make out a calm, blue lake at the edge of the town. She didn’t notice that before. Maybe in the summer she could do some swimming with her new friends. Then she noticed something. A warm, happy feeling swept into her. She was satisfied for the first time after the move. Smelling eggs and bacon, Tibby hopped down the staircase for breakfast. Money wasn’t important to her anymore, and she was ready for a change. Her plan was to go down into town and meet new people. As she bolted down her breakfast, Tibby felt that something new, something exciting, was going to happen. Or should she say she was going to make it happen. Goodbye Gloomy; Hello Tibby.

Similar Articles


This article has 1 comment.

Mosunshine said...
on Aug. 28 2008 at 4:14 pm
Brilliant !! I kinda got flashbacks of my neighbor totoro and spirited away too.

My favorite words in this were glorious' and 'dashed' - nice one !

MacMillan Books

Aspiring Writer? Take Our Online Course!