Previously… After some of the mothers talk behind her back, Vera makes it known she heard what they said.
“Who does she think she is?”
This phrase rang through Vera’s mind like an unanswered phone in an empty house. Who did she think she was? Up until recently, she was a librarian. Now she was an undercover mother with fellow moms speaking ill of her. She overheard them outside on the porch of the central camp building.
These mothers didn’t know Vera could hear them, so instead of walking away or even confronting them, Vera simply walked by in their direction on the porch, so they knew she was aware of the conversation.
When Vera sauntered by, the mothers gasped and bit their lips. They’d been caught. That should show them not to talk behind people’s backs.
Inside, Vera found a few of the teenagers and Drea prepping for dinner, with ingredients and groceries laid out on the table.
“What can I do to help?” said Drea.
The girls looked conspicuously at each other and then shrugged. “We have it under control. You should go do something else.”
“But we’re bunkmates. We’re supposed to do it together. . . .” said Drea.
The girls ignored her and went back to what they were doing.
Drea’s shoulders fell as Vera approached her.
“Why don’t you show me where I’m sleeping?” Vera said, attempting to change the subject.
Vera followed Drea to a bunkhouse that clearly was the “Moms’ Quarters” by the slew of clothes hanging in the closet and the ironing board left out.
“This is you,” said Drea. She sighed, her face attempting to fold pain the way one might fold a crinkled note to pass in class.
After throwing her stuff down on an empty bed, Vera said, “Do you wanna talk?”
“Why do they never include me?” said Drea, without a moment’s hesitation. “I always get left out.”
Vera didn’t expect Drea to open up so quickly. And because of that, she was unsure of how to respond.
“I know that feeling,” said Vera.
“Really?” Drea looked up, wiping away a tear straining to get out.
“What did you do?”
If Vera was being honest, she just decided to forgo the whole “friends” thing and be a loner (before she was a Loan Some loaner, of course). “I just quit trying.”
Drea slumped her shoulders. Not the right answer, Vera.
“But in a good way.” Vera continued, attempting a positive spin. “I just did my own thing and didn’t try so hard to win over people. I just tried to be myself and be happy.”
“And are you?”
Vera took a deep breath to reflect before coming to a conclusion. “Yes. I am.”
“I wish I was.”
Because Drea was deciding to be so honest, Vera decided to match her candidness. “You can be. Don’t think so hard about what others want or think. What makes you happy?”
Drea’s face softened. “Writing in my journal. Listening to records. Reading books. In fact, I was thinking for the mother-daughter runway thing. We could do a famous duo from a book. But I don’t know. Maybe that’s stupid.”
Vera’s face lit up. Maybe this girl could be her daughter.
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