Illustration by Elisa Chavarri
I’m different from other kids. A lot of people stare at me and whisper behind their hands. They don’t get why I walk funny, and need braces on my legs. I used to care, but now I pretend I don’t. Sometimes I still do, but I’m good at pretending. My favorite thing to pretend is that I’m a beautiful, sparkly butterfly. I imagine I fly high above the earth, where no one can see me. I don’t have to worry about people staring at me up there.
Today I’m going to summer camp. I’m so excited I can hardly wait! Mom said I would get to do all kinds of fun things at camp. The paper she gave me about the camp looks amazing. They even have a zip line there! But when I asked Mom if I could go on the zip line, she said “maybe.” That’s her way of saying “no” without saying it. She never wants to be the one to tell me “no.”
I haven’t been to a summer camp before. I’m so nervous, butterflies fill my stomach as soon as we pull up. I wish I could fly away with them, but I have to stay focused. Mom helps me out of the car and into the main cabin.
“Hi there! You must be Raina!” a counselor says with a huge smile. I grin.
“Yeah,” I say. “That’s me. This place is really cool!”
“Thanks! We really love it here. My name is Tasha, and I’m going to be your counselor this week!”
Mom and Tasha talk for a while about me, and I pretend not to hear them. But pretending’s easier here, because there is so much to see. I stand at a big window, looking at the lake behind the cabin. It’s so quiet, and peaceful. I love it.
Finally, Mom says good-bye and pretends not to cry, and then Tasha takes me to find the other girls in my cabin. I’m nervous, but I try not to show it. I’m brave, I think to myself. I can do this.
“Hey everyone!” Tasha says when we get to a big group of giggling girls. “Let’s get into a circle and play a name game. Okay? Spread out!”
I get into a circle with the others. Tasha has us say our name and an animal that starts with the same letter as our name. I take deep breaths until it’s my turn. Don’t faint, whatever you do. Just stay calm.
Find out what happens next in your May/June issue of Sparkle Magazine!