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The summer i Met Ruby

I wake up to the sound of my mom calling my name. It is summer, but here in Connecticut we have cold mornings. I slip on some funky striped socks I got at a bar mitzvah party, clean the morning gunk out of my eyes and give my head a little shake to wake me up. I walk across the pale pink rug leading to my mom’s room, my toes digging into the soft fabric. The door is open so I walk inside. Her room is big. Next to her bed is a small white rug, and on it are two blue slippers. Her walls are white and chipped; there are a few photos of me and Elaine on her walls. Her bed is a king sized one, with a tangle of covers hanging off the mattress. Absentmindedly I trace the orange flowers sewn into them. It’s a square room, in front of me sits her TV, a dresser and a bathroom where I can hear the water running, leading me to the most obvious conclusion that at the moment that is where my mother is. The water is now dripping, now it has ceased. I should probably introduce myself, I’m Nick Eagle. I was born on March 11, 1998. I like to use big words and I HATE the number 5. I have messy, wavy, light brown hair. I’m average height, average weight, and just pretty much average. I see my mom exiting the bathroom, she smiles at me, her dimples now visible, dimples that me and my sister sadly didn’t inherit. I smile back; she brushes back her curly fiery red hair. That falls messily down to her shoulders. Her eyes are a light green. “Nick” she says “I need a favor, can you please take Elaine to Lizzy’s birthday party? You would have to leave in a half hour” she says checking her watch. I groan, because this is the exact opposite of the day that I would have wanted, but then I smile not wanting her to feel bad, its hard keeping that smile on my face though. “Yea, sure” I say cheerfully, a fake cheerful that I’m sure she can decipher because she hugs me all of a sudden and apologizes looking upset. “I hate to ruin your day, its just I have something very important that’s work related that I need to do.” I smile, “it's definitely fine, and I don’t have plans anyway.” “Thanks so much, you're really helping me” she says, and that last line makes me feel a lot better.
I walk out of the room, leaving the door open like it was when I came in. Something else about me that all my friends know is that I love special K cereal, frozen pizza and peanut butter sandwiches and mainly live off of those three things. I reach my bedroom and pull open the door, a sense of calm rushing over me as my eyes explore the room that I could find my way around with my eyes closed. I quickly replace my plaid pajama pants with some tan cargo shorts, and try to pull off my pajama shirt (an old, gray, beat up camp T-shirt) I stumble around the room with it half way off I finally give it one more yank and slipped on my Peas on Earth T-shirt. While making a mental note to get a new pajama shirt, I tucked my pajamas under my camouflage pillow and pull on my red converse. Next mission my mind says in a strict military tone, find Elaine. I walk down the hallway to Elaine’s room; my favorite time of the day is 12:00am, unfortunately I only stay up until 12 on weekends and during the summer, when we have school I go to bed at 10:00pm, 12:00pm is so great because I love to count down until the next day and I also watch all the people on the street and sometimes I record what they do, well if it’s anything interesting. I pull open her bedroom door which is covered in pictures of butterflies and people. Sprawled across the floor of her room is an assortment of pens, markers, crayons and colored pencils. Coloring is a thing that Elaine loves to do. Art runs in our family. Elaine only draws flowers and people though. I specialize in scenery. Doesn’t that sound professional? Elaine is brushing her teeth; she spits out her toothpaste, rinses her mouth, runs over, picks a piece of paper off the floor and shoves it into my arms. I study it a moment, trying to be patient with her. “Pretty Elaine” I say quickly and it’s clearly the response she wants. She smiles and says “You can keep it” I smile at her “I’ll be right back, I’m just going to put your picture away somewhere safe, meet me downstairs ok.” She nods, as I exit the room, she has already started putting away all her art supplies. As I walk back to my room I look at her picture carefully, it looks like a meadow with lots of flowers, most of the flowers are purple and orange because those are Elaine’s favorite colors, well they’re her favorite colors for this week, and it constantly changes. I have to admit that for a person of the age of 6, she’s got talent. Her flowers are pretty good since that’s what she mostly draws. They good use more shape though I think, my artistic analysis kicking in. The grass isn’t the best color but she’s got the sway and shape but the color could be better, considering that right now it is neon green. I pull open my bedroom door and tuck the picture under my lamp on my desk. Then I pull on a sweat shirt and run down the stairs not wanting to make Elaine late for the party. As I reach the bottom of the stairs I see Elaine running back and forth across the living room “What are you doing?” I ask. “Me and Phoebe are racing each other at recess on Monday” Elaine giggles. “I’m practicing so I can win; I’ve runned back and forth 4 times already.” I don’t bother to correct her grammar, instead I wipe the smile off my face and say “Good job Elaine lets go though ok? You’re going to be late for Lizzy’s birthday party; do you want to be late?” “No” she says quickly. “I just forgot the present up stairs.” I silently groan. “Go get it, ok?” She is already halfway up the stairs as I finish saying this. I sit down on the couch and wait. A few minutes later I hear some thumping. I look up and see Elaine bouncing down the stairs holding a brightly colored present. Without waiting for me she opens the door and runs out. “Elaine” I call; annoyed. I chase up from behind her and squeeze her sides. She shrieks, then yells “Nick, mom said don’t do that” then she tries to kick me, so we both run down the sidewalk, Elaine trying to kick me and me running away from her and honestly it’s the most fun I’ve had in a while.

Chapter Two:
I had two best friends named Taylor and Grant. We were inseparable. We were known by teachers as the three musketeers and we all liked the same things and were good at the same subjects. Then when it was time for us to enter 6th grade Grant started hanging out with knew people otherwise known as “The Popular gang” and Taylor moved away. Then Cole moved to Connecticut and we became friends, but he’s away in North Carolina for the summer. I look up and see that Elaine is maybe a block ahead and is calling my name and pointing ahead, the bus! I race forward as fast as I can, when I pass Elaine I quickly huff “Come on, you can practice your racing, pretend I’m Phoebe.” Elaine’s eyebrows narrow, she stops, puts her knee in front and says “on your mark, get set, GO!!” and runs after me. We make the bus just in time.
Elaine hops on and inserts a handful of coins, then waits as I do the same. Elaine has red hair like my mom’s, my mom’s is short, Elaine’s is longer though, and she wears it in braids, some neighbors call her Pippi long-stocking, but Elaine hates when they do that. A lot of people ask if I’m adopted, since I didn’t inherent my mother’s green eyes or red hair. I think about this a little as I slowly and absentmindedly drop the coins inside the slot. Then me and Elaine go make our way to the back of the bus, we have to sit there and it’s a rule that is silently acknowledged by the family since Elaine made it up a year or two ago. Elaine goes and sits in the very back, peering curiously out a window. I sit a little further up, listening to the interesting conversations that float around me, and my ears rest on one unusually annoying and obnoxious. Two older women sit to my side, they look about 65. One’s hair is graying a little and the other's is a red that looks un-natural and died. Red hair lady whispers loudly to the other “so, I went to get my coo-coo clock fixed the nice one with the blue birds that Jerry gave me at thanksgiving dinner, and what a charming man he is, he and Joanna are the sweetest couple I must say” she says batting her hand in the air, carelessly. “So, anyway it tragically broke, don’t ask me how, Fluffy probably knocked it down” she clicks disapprovingly, from what I gather it sounds like Fluffy is a cat, also it’s such an unoriginal name I almost laugh. She continues to talk “You’ll never believe what happened to me!” Her friend doesn’t say anything, obviously expecting her friend to go into further detail. When nothing is said the friend looks exasperated “What? What happened?” Red hair lady smiles glad for the invite to continue. “Bobby….” She whispers something I can’t hear. Her friend clutches her heart, she smiles enjoying her audience’s reaction. “Yes, so I told him, I don’t care if you are upset, I don’t care that you’re mad at me, I am a paying costumer and I am asking you to fix my clock”. Her friend quickly nods “well handled.” My eyes wander across from me, a girl is there. I study her for a moment. She has long brown hair, a large grey t-shirt, dark blue jeans and a pair of Sambas on. She is skinny and tall and looks pretty tomboyish. She very deliberately looks in the direction of the annoying chatty older women and rolls her eyes. First I am shocked that the stranger girl I don’t know just started making eye contact with me, but then I feel a smile widely forming on my lips and let an embarrassing giggle escape. She smiles, and thrusts forward her hand “I’m Ruby.” I stare at her hand for a few seconds uncomprehending. Then I slowly reach out and her hand closes around mine and shakes it up and down “Nick” I say. A little too late I realize it’s my stop. Still baffled by the strange gesture of kindness between me and the stranger girl I’m a little slow. “This is our stop” I say, reminded when I feel Elaine at my side. Ruby’s eyes shift in Elaine’s direction. She looks disappointed, then shrugs “ok, bye.” I feel my arm being yanked and I stumble off the bus led by Elaine.

Chapter Three:
“Elaine” I groan. Because I just met Ruby and being dragged off the bus by someone half your size doesn’t give such a good first impression. I am puzzled by our strange exchange and I wonder if I’ll ever see her again. I look at the tiny slip of paper that mom gave me with some directions scribbled across it. All I can make out is a 5 and a 3. Luckily, right in front of us is a house with the same or a similar address. I decide to take the risk and I pull Elaine through an enormous white gate and a huge beautiful house opens up in front of us. I marvel at the beautiful house, thinking that Lizzy’s family couldn’t possibly afford a place like this. Elaine doesn’t share the same awe though and runs to greet the huge Great Dane lounging out in the sun. She doesn’t notice Lizzy’s mother who is sitting in a chair outside, waiting to greet us. We both silently watch Elaine giggle and shriek in delight as the huge dog practically eats her face. Lizzy’s mother Mrs. Dale, a young blonde woman wearing an assortment of jewelry snaps her fingers. “Hamlet” she orders. The dog reluctantly leaves Elaine. Mrs. Dale smiles “Hey guys, come on in.” I smile back, relieved that I got the address right. Mrs. Dale opens the door and waits for us to step inside, after we do so, she carefully and quietly closes it behind. The house is… well, my dream house, it’s huge and slightly circular with the biggest windows and the nicest back and front yard, the wall are plain white but look recently painted, the floors are a slippery, clean and smooth looking wood. Mrs. Dale catches me inspecting the house, she smiles proudly “We moved in last year, it wasn’t in the best shape then, but we fixed her up, isn’t she a pretty house?” I nod quickly “yea.” Elaine is impatiently tapping her foot “can I go see Lizzy?” She whines. I look at Mrs. Dale, she pats Elaine’s head, “ok sweetie, Lizzy and the other children are in the other room beading bracelets, right around that corner”, and she points ahead. Elaine shoves the present into my hands and runs off. Mrs. Dale chuckles, “I’ll go put it with the others” she carefully takes the present from my hands and goes into the other room. “Make your self comfortable” she calls. I don’t know if I really can, but anyhow I sit down on a fancy tan couch. “Do you want anything?” Mrs. Dale yells “We have apple juice, coke, sprite, water, ice tea, and lemonade”. “Um... I’ll guess Ill have some coke, thank you” I say hesitantly. A few minutes later she comes out with a glass of coke. “Here you go, I’ll be back soon but I have to go check on the girls” I nod “thank you for the soda”. “Any time” she says, “make yourself at home” and then she disappears into the other room. I don’t like dogs, some people think that makes me a bad person or something, but they just have never appealed to me. I love birds and cats, I even taught myself a bird call when I was younger, I can’t really tell you what kind of bird it is, it’s just a general bird sound, sort of a chirp. I sit there, wishing I had brought a book. After a while of sitting and thinking and being completely bored a group of 8 or 9 girls run into the living room, Mrs. Dale following behind. Elaine comes over, holding her present for Lizzy in one hand, she uses the other to tug on my pants “come on Nick” she giggles. “We’re about to open presents, would you like to watch?” Mrs. Dale says smiling fondly at Elaine. “OK” I say, mostly because I see that Elaine wants me to come. I follow them into the other room. The girls all sit down, each holding the gift. Mrs. Dale says in a singsong voice “Who wants to go first” All the girls start yelling and whining “me, me can I go?” Mrs. Dale shushes everyone “Riley, will go first” Riley is a blonde little girl with a pink party dress and is missing her two front teeth. She grandly hands over her present. Lizzy rips it open “mommy!” She claps her hands delighted, “it’s a Scooby doo coloring book.” “Thank Riley” Mrs. Dale reminds her. “Thank you Riley” says Lizzy cheerfully. “Jordan, you can go next” A pretty black haired girl with sad brown eyes quietly hands over the present “my mommy picked it out” she says sincerely. Lizzy opens the present; it’s a Teddy bear with a red bow on its head. Lizzy hugs it tightly, Mrs. Dale eyes her meaningfully, Lizzy catches on “Thank you Jordan, I’m going to name her Sally” “Sally, Sally” the other girls whisper, testing the name. “Elaine, you’re up” Mrs. Dale says smiling at Elaine. I watch as Elaine hands over the present, and Lizzy opens it, I already know what it is because I watched mom wrap it. It’s a picture book about kittens and puppies. All the girls crowd around pointing at the different pictures. “Thank you Elaine” Lizzy says as the noise dies down. I watch as Lucy gives Lizzy a make your own book kit, Sydney gives her an arts and crafts kit, Olivia gives her the Hannah Montana movie, Caitlin gives her a diary, and Patty gives Lizzy clothing and accessories for her American girl doll. The rest of the party goes pretty fast, and before I know it everyone has eaten the cake and we are saying goodbye. I watch as Lizzy says to every girl “Thank you for my present I’ll see you on Monday.”

Chapter Four:
It’s the next day and Elaine and I are on the beach, after a whole hour of “Take me to the beach. Take me to the beach. Take me to the beach. Take me to the beach.” I reluctantly agreed and Elaine bounced out of the house in her blue one-piece bathing suit and her favorite pair of sunglasses, singing “I’m ready, I’m ready.” Just like SpongeBob. I watch Elaine; she’s doing summersaults in the water and searching for shells. All of a sudden she shrieks and flails around in the water. “ELAINE” I huff. “My sunglasses” she cries. People are starting to stare, she wails “I dropped them; I don’t know where they are!” I look around at the vast amount of water. “I’ll find them” I say hushing her. She continues to wail “Do you see them? Nick, Nick, Nick?” I ignore her, searching. My goggles are on and I dive around, swimming through the water. Every once in a while I come up for breath. In all my stress and the excitement around me I don’t notice that Elaine has stopped crying. Someone taps me just as I am about to go under again, I glance up and then stare. It’s the girl from the bus, Ruby. She points to Elaine who is wiping her sunglasses on a towel “I found them” she says. I stand up and walk over to our beach chair and grab a towel and wipe my eyes “thanks” I say. She smiles at Elaine, “I’m visiting from Arizona, this is probably the most exciting thing that’s happened to me since I’ve gotten here, not that I don’t like Connecticut” she quickly adds “my uncle lives here.” I clear my throat “well thanks again for finding her glasses, that’s Elaine.” Ruby grins, “No problem at all.” I stand there awkwardly “I’ll give you my number.” Ruby says out of the blue. “Give me your hand.” I hesitate and then hold it out, she reaches into her bag, and pulls out a pen, and she scribbles her number onto my hand. It tickles but I don’t laugh. When she’s done, I pull my hand back. “I’ll give you mine.” I say finally. She holds out her hand and using the same pen, I lightly write down my number. “Elaine, how about you build a sand castle now?” I say, so I don’t have to watch her and I can talk to Elaine. “Ok” she says brightly and starts to pile up sand. Ruby and I sit under an umbrella; I grab some sand and watch it trickle through my fingers. “How old are you?” Ruby asks. “12” I reply “how about you?” “12” she says. “My birthday is coming up in august, I’m almost 13.” “Oh” my words hang in the air “My birthday is in March.” “I guess I’m older than you” says Ruby flashing a smile. I feel myself growing more confident. I smile, “How long are you going to be in Connecticut for?” “The whole summer.” She says. “We should hang out!” We talk for the rest of the afternoon while Elaine plays in the sand.



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