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- Summer Guide
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- Author Interviews
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- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
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- What Matters
“Yup, that’s it right…there.”
Melissa laughed. “Oops! Sorry! I totally missed it.”
AGAIN! I thought to myself.
I sighed. Of course she missed it. Every time we came to Melanie’s house she missed
A few seconds later we pulled into the driveway. I had jumped out of the car and was
already getting my bags out of the trunk before Melissa had even taken the keys out of the
“What the -- ? How’d you do that?” She asked, incredulous.
A grin spread across my face as I lifted my finger to dangle the spare set of keys in front of her face.
“Just in case you lose yours again,” I teased.
She stuck out her tongue and said, “Oh ha ha! You think you’re SO funny!”
“I don’t think so, I know so,” I shot back over my shoulder.
She was still shaking her head at me as I pushed open the front door and stepped in the house yelling, “Mel, Jay! We’re…” I stopped suddenly. There was a girl standing in the kitchen.
Who the hell is she? I wondered. “…here.”
“Thank you for oh-so-quietly announcing your arrival, but I saw the car pull up genius! After you
passed my house,” Melanie said.
“Oh, whatever!” Melissa fumed.
The girl was watching me. She was smiling at me like we knew each other. WHO IS SHE? I thought. Maybe she’s the papergirl, or maybe she’s selling something or collecting pledges, OR maybe she’s another one of Josee’s kids that we never knew about.
I smiled at that last one. It was a joke of course, but probably the most likely. Then it hit me. I knew this girl! If only I could remember where I knew her from….
“HEY! You’re the girl from Facebook! The one who thinks Cory’s cute!” I blurted. Oh well, nobody ever said I was subtle. “Danielle, right?”
She looked at me nervously and said, “Um, yeah...that would be me.”
While my sisters stood there and gawked at me like I had just grown an extra head I composed myself and apologized. “I’m sorry, I totally spaced for a minute there. I was running all the possibilities of who you were through my head.”
That’s when I heard all the noise coming from the living room. Over the intro music to Star Trek I heard Jamie talking. “Hey Matthew, guess who’s here?” His answer was the sound of footsteps running down the hall.
“Aha!” Matthew screamed as he skidded to a stop in the doorway.
“Hey buddy! How are you?” I asked.
He ran and launched himself at me wrapping his arms around my legs, squeezing tight. I laughed. “Nice to see you too, sweetie.” I picked him up and looked around at everybody.
Melanie cleared her throat. “I didn’t think you guys would be here so early so we called Danielle over to babysit.”
“Let me guess. BINGO, right?” I asked, already knowing the answer.
Danielle looked at Mel and said, “I can call my mom to come get me.” I thought about it for a minute and said, “How about this, Melissa you can go out with Melanie and Jamie, Danielle can stay here and we’ll both watch Matthew?”
Danielle nodded and replied, “We can split the money if you want.” I turned to my sisters.
“What do you guys say?”
“Woohoo!” Jamie said from behind me, “Two babysitters for the price of one? I say hell yeah!”
I rolled my eyes at him and turned back to the girls. Melanie looked happy and that doesn’t happen very often so I figured it was a done deal. “Well the pizza should be here soon,” she said.
I passed Matthew over to Jamie, and reached down to grab my duffel bag. “I’m going to bring my stuff downstairs,” I announced to no one in particular.
“Here, I’ll help you,” Danielle offered as she quickly bent and hoisted my backpack over her shoulder before leading the way
We dropped both of the bags on the floor of the room which was going to be my bedroom in just a few short weeks. It really wasn’t a bedroom all, although it did contain all of
the necessary furniture to be considered a bedroom – a bed, dresser, lamp, desk, bookshelf and
a comfy chair. In reality, it was just a miscellaneous kind of room in the basement of my sisters’
house. It had cold, grey cement floors, a roof that was adorned with the houses’ major piping
system and walls that were not fully insulated. Throughout the rest of the year the room is
normally used for storage of old junk and is pretty much a spare room for when people come to
visit. But for the summer it was my bedroom. I guess I could live with the cold and a few spider
webs if it meant that I wouldn’t be stuck at home with my parents all summer long.
Danielle made herself comfortable on the bed and I walked over to the dresser and
turned the radio on.
“Oh hot damn, this is my jam, Keep my partying till the a.m. Ya’ll don’t understand, Make me throw my hands in the ayer, ay-ayer, ayer, Throw my hands in the ayer, ay-ayer, ayer, ay-ayer, ayer, ay-er, ayer!”
The music blasted through the speakers and we both started singing and bobbing our heads to the beat. I glanced over at her and the instant our eyes met we burst into laughter.
“Wow! That was the easiest ice breaker ever,” she said.
I laughed, turned the volume on the radio down and turned back to Danielle, “Hey, do you mind if I take a quick shower?” I asked.
“Nope not at all,” she answered.
When I hesitated she looked up at me and said, “Go ahead, I’ll be fine.”
“Okay, thanks,” I replied.
I grabbed my toiletry bag and walked down the hall to the bathroom. I closed the door, and ran the water. Then I took off my clothes, and stepped into the steaming shower.
Ah, much better! I thought. The hot water was nice on my skin, and it felt good to wash the days’ dirt and grime from my body. I spent a few minutes washing and rinsing my hair and
just thinking. She seems really cool. A little weird, but still fun. Melanie likes her, so that has got to count for something!
A few moments later, clean and changed I opened the door to the bathroom and walked out. I was on my way back to my room when I found Danielle sitting on the floor in front of the turtle tank.
“What on Earth are you doing?” I asked.
“Um, sitting here,” she replied.
“I can see that, but what exactly are you doing?” I paused. “Were you just talking to the turtle?”
“Yes, and I have named it Kitty,” she answered.
I raised my eyebrows in disbelief. “Kitty? Kitty the turtle? Hang on, is that lip gloss…in your mouth? Are you EATING lip gloss?”
“Erm, yeah. Some are very tasty you know,” she replied matter-of-factly.
I stood there in shocked silence for a minute. I didn’t know what to say, so I just started laughing. Danielle smiled up at me.
“Girls! Pizza’s here!” Melanie called from the top of the stairs.
“Really?” Danielle asked. “I didn’t even notice the delivery guy came to the door.”
“Yeah, me neither,” I said.
We went upstairs and sat at the table with everyone. “So what are your plans for tonight?” Mel asked us.
“Uh, babysitting your kid,” I replied.
“Ha-ha, smartass! I meant besides that,” she said.
“Not too sure yet,” I answered, taking a huge bite of my extra-cheese, pepperoni, bacon, mushroom and green olive pizza.
“Okay, well you know where everything is. Pop, chips, snacks, whatever. Don’t be shy! The computer and tv are there too,” she said.
“Yeah Mel, we’re good,” I said.
“I know, I was just checking,” she said.
I looked over at Danielle and rolled my eyes. Melanie has lived in her own place for 7 or
8 years and she gives me the same spiel every time I go to stay with her.
Everyone finished eating and while Matthew was busy showing Danielle all his new toys I helped Melissa clean up.
“She’s cool. I like her,” Melissa said when I walked into the kitchen.
“Yeah, me too,” I said.
We cleared the table and rinsed the dishes, and then it was time for them to leave. We waved at them from the window in the living room until they were down the street.
“So, uh, what do you want to do?” I asked, turning to Danielle.
“I dunno. What do you want to do?” she asked.
I laughed. Of course she would be as indecisive as I am. We stood there awkwardly for a few minutes until I grabbed the remote and plopped myself down on the long couch. Danielle followed and sat on the opposite end and Matthew crawled over and sat between us.
Flipping through the channels I quickly realized that there was nothing good on. Hmm! I thought. What to watch, what to watch. Then I remembered that it was Friday which meant that there was a CSI:Miami marathon on A&E.
I found the channel I was looking for and turned to Danielle. “Is this okay?” I asked.
“Perfect actually,” she replied with a grin.
An episode was just starting so we watched the intro and opening credits, not speaking
until the commercial break.
“You know, I love CSI:Miami, but no one will ever replace Gill Grissom and for some reason I
can’t explain, I despise CSI:NY,” I commented.
“Oh. My. God! I know exactly what you mean,” Danielle said.
The rest of the night passed in a blur. While we gave Matthew his bath and put him to
bed, the two of us talked. A lot. We chattered about anything and everything. Music, books,
movies, clothes, friends, family, school, and of course, boys. The time seemed to fly-by and before we knew it was midnight and the phone was ringing. Melanie, Jamie and Melissa weren’t home yet and I knew they were staying for the late bingo before I even picked up the phone.
After chatting with Mel for a few minutes I hung up the phone and told Danielle what was
“They won’t be back until like, 2:30, so you can call your parents to come get you if you want,” I
“Okay,” she replied.
I went out to the kitchen to grab a bottle of water and the chocolate bar I saw Melissa stash away in the cupboard before she left. When I went back out to the living room Danielle was talking on the phone.
“Hi, something came up and Melanie and Jamie won’t be back until late so I am just going to crash here tonight…yeah…uh-huh…No, her sister is here…okay…goodnight Mom, see you tomorrow.” She hit the end button and came to sit down on the love seat.
“What are you doing?” I asked, confused.
“Um, babysitting?” She replied.
“Okay,” I said.
We covered both couches with blankets and pillows and settled back down. It didn’t take
us long to fall asleep. We didn’t even hear my sisters’ come in.
We were woken up by the sound of the front door slamming early Saturday morning.
Startled, I got up and went to the window to see Jamie walking down the street, heading to work.
Instead of going back to sleep Danielle and I got ourselves some cereal and decided to watch Grease.
When the movie was over we got dressed and Danielle’s mom came to get her. “Next time you come into town give me a call. We definitely need to hang out again,” she said, giving me a hug before she got into her van.
We were both waving and smiling and as her mom backed out of the driveway I realized that without even meaning to, I had made a new friend.
This was just the beginning of an awesome summer.