Here’s the link to the most recent part.
It was the end of the year, and finally warm enough to spend time outside. So we had an “educational” hike thing. It was required, but I probably could have gotten out of it if I wanted to. And I wanted to, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything. So I went on the hike.
Savana and Callie joined forces, but I was left behind. I was last to get to the clearing we stopped at for a break. There were people scattered everywhere, teachers, kids, Callie and Savana on a log, but I felt so alone.
Not long after I sat down on the grass, some teacher appeared. She was talking, but I was hardly paying attention.
“Joy? Did you hear me?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah, sorry. I heard you.” But I had no idea what she said.
“Go sit with your friends, okay?”
I really didn’t want to, but I got up and joined Callie and Savana on a log.
“Oh, hey Joy.” Savana acknowledged me, but kept talking to Callie. I didn’t pay attention to them.
Callie and Savana looked so put together, so cute. Me? I was wearing clean clothes for once, quite an accomplishment, having to do my own laundry. I felt so out of place beside them. They chattered on, and I listened, but didn’t say anything. I’m not sure they even noticed I was there.
I was tired and didn’t want to walk, but I wanted the break to be over, I wanted to get away, to be alone with my thoughts.
And finally it was, and we moved on. I lagged behind the others, going slower and slower. I was lost in thought, not even realizing that I was alone till I came into a fork in the trail and didn’t know which way to go.
I picked one, but it must have been wrong because I didn’t come across anyone.
Eventually I gave up, and sat down in the grass, realizing I was lost, but not really caring. I knew how to get back to the school, I just didn’t have the energy to do it.
I didn’t think anyone had noticed I was gone, but later-minutes or hours, I don’t know-Ellen showed up.
“There you are! We were so worried!”
Ellen sat down next to me. “What happened?”
I shrugged. “I got lost.”
“Why were you so far behind everyone?”
“You didn’t have to come, you know. You should have stayed and rested.”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Yes it does Joy. I don’t want you to get sick.”
And then I lost it. I don’t remember standing up, or raising my voice, but I was on my feet screaming at her. “You wouldn’t care if I got sick. No one does. People only get mad at me when I stay and rest, so I had to come. You don’t understand.”
As tired as I was, as much as I didn’t want to move, I got up and walked away.
I heard Ellen call my name, but she didn’t run after me. She let me walk away.
I leaned against a tree and sat down. For the next few minutes I didn’t care, I didn’t think, I was just there. Like always, but this time I was truly alone.
After a few minutes I saw Ellen standing over me. I don’t know how long she was there. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t look at her, but when she asked if she could sit next to me, I nodded.
We sat in silence for a few minutes. And then I began to talk. I don’t know what I said, but I remember pouring out everything, and I mean EVERYTHING.
And then I was silent again. Ellen asked some questions, but I only nodded, or shook my head, or shrugged.
“Let’s go back to school.”
“Can I have a hug?”
I started to get up to give her a hug out of instinct, but stopped. She asked again, and I shook my head. I had realized that I could say no. It was probably the second time I had done that in my whole life, but I wasn’t ready.
I got up and started walking toward camp.
Ellen joined me, but we didn’t say anything.
We just walked back to school.