I was still so ridiculously sick, but I finally had the hope I needed to get better. I started to reach out more when I needed help. I stopped answering the question “How are you” with “Good.”
That one small word had ruined everything.
But it was okay.
I remember the first time getting out of bed without help. I remember walking to my sister’s room and yelling “Boo” at her. She was so surprised, and it wasn’t just because I had scared her.
Elli, Ana, and Savana helped me so much. They were so supportive, especially when I couldn’t see myself getting better.
The end of year party at RiverView approached, and I made it a goal to be able to go. I knew there was a good chance I’d have to stay home, but it was nice to have something to get excited for.
One day close to the party I was bored, so Elli and Ana decided that now was the time we were going to pick out dresses. Honestly I had totally forgotten about that at all.
I didn’t really have any ones of my own that I liked, because dress-requiring events were not my thing. But being the youngest of four girls, I had acquired all the outgrown dresses. By this point I didn’t even know what I had. My sisters gave them to me, and I stuck them in the back of my closet.
So, instead of going shopping, which I wouldn’t have been up for, Elli and Ana found a ton of dresses, and I tried them on.
We put Callie and Savana on video chat so them could help choose, and then I started trying dresses on.
The first one I tried on was red, long, and very pretty. But not on me.
“Ooh, I like that one!” Callie exclaimed after we had decided against it. “Can I have it?”
“No.” I laughed. “My sisters would kill me. Why do you think I have so many dresses?”
I tried on more dresses, but they were all the same. Very pretty. But not on me. I tried on floofy ones and tight ones, pink ones and yellow ones, flowered dresses, cat hair covered, shiny dresses. Hope has weird taste in dresses.
Finally we came to a white dress that was apparently tie-dyed. I didn’t recognize this one.
But I loved it. It fit, and it was pretty.
We all decided it was ‘the one’.
“That looks so much better on you than on-” I saw Callie give Savana a look, and she stopped.
“Anyone but you.” She finally said.
I was confused, but dropped it. “Can we look at shrugs?” I suggested. I knew I had some, and I was kind of self-conscious about my pale arms. (And pale face, and legs. and hands, and feet, and nose, and neck.)
So we looked at shrugs. I have less of those than dresses.
We looked at a few shrugs, and then I found Savana’s green shrug. It was perfect.
“That looks so great Joy!” Savana told me.
And I noticed she was wearing the bow. “But don’t you want it back?”
“No Joy. It’s yours.”
The day of the party I wasn’t feeling great, but I really wanted to go, and I couldn’t disappoint my friends, so I went. Savana’s mom went with my mom and me, because she was going to pick Savana up, same as the other parents.
Savana’s mom and mine talked the whole way there, but I fell asleep.
When we got there I ran up to my room, only to find that they weren’t there. Two girls I didn’t know answered instead, their hair and makeup half done.
“Savana is with Callie now honey,” Savana’s moms said.
So I followed her to the other end of the hall.
The two girls squealed when I opened the door. “Joy!” They both hugged me. Savana’s mom said hi, and then they left us to talk.
We started getting ready, among talking.I had never gotten to know Callie, but she squealed and talked, and I felt right at home.
“Do you like my dress? It’s orange, but I really like how it looks.”
And then randomly, she said: Oh, we are going to be such good friends, now that you are here!” Callie exclaimed.
I must have looked surprised, because Callie stopped looking sure of herself. “If you want to, I mean.”
“Of course I want to! I just haven’t been very nice, and well-”
“Whatever. We were different then. Now is so much different, and so are you.”