Some of you will remember that around Christmas I posted a story – Adventures of a Wildly Fun Family. (You can read it here and here.) Here is another story from the Wild Family. Enjoy and please let me know your thoughts on the story!
“Are you ready to go, kids?” Mary Wild called loudly from the living room. “Your dad is already out in the van waiting for us!”
There was a scrambling of young feet and then three children stood in the living room before their mother.
“I’m ready, Mom.” Mark said, as he slipped his flip-flops on his bare feet.
Mary shook her head and pointed to his feet. “Mark, you can’t wear those shoes.”
Mark glanced down at his black flip-flops. “What’s wrong with them, Mom?”
“Besides the fact that there is three inches of snow outside and that those flip-flops were supposed to be packed away months ago, nothing’s wrong.”
Mark sighed and quickly put his boots on. “They’re just so hot.” He complained.
Emily and Kris put their own boots on and hurried out to the van, where their dad was waiting.
“What took you guys so long?” Bruce asked, turning around and eyeing Mark suspiciously.
“Don’t look at me, Dad!” Mark squirmed. “I had to help Kris get the gum out of her coat!”
Bruce backed the car out of the drive way and the Wild family was off on another adventure…this time, it would happen in the least expected place.
“Okay, we’re at the thrift store.” Bruce said, as he stopped the car in front of one of the two thrift stores in their small town. “Mary, you, Emily and Kris can start clothes shopping here. Mark and I will get the stuff from the hardware store and then meet you back here in an hour.”
Mary nodded. “Sounds good. Come on girls.”
Mary, Emily and Kris walked inside and looked around at the dirty floors. Kris sneezed in response to the dust that met her.
“Why do we have to buy all of our clothes here?” Emily wailed. “All the other girls at church have fancy, brand-new clothes and here we are buying old clothes from a dirty shop. It’s embarrassing!”
Kris put on her saddest face and added, “It’s because we’re soooo poor.”
“We’re not poor.” Mary said quickly. “We just don’t have extra money to spend on things like brand-new clothes. Have you seen the prices on some of those things?”
“In other words, we’re poor.” Emily sighed. “I just hope no one sees me shopping in here.”
“We always shop here and it hasn’t bothered you so much before.” Mary started walking towards the ladies clothes section. “I’ll look over here, girls. You check out your sizes and we’ll meet back later.”
Emily reluctantly walked towards the girls clothes muttering something about living off the leftovers. Kris went in the opposite direction to look at the toys.
Emily soon had her hands full of shirts and skirts. As she was walking to find Kris, she bumped into someone and her “new” clothes fell all over the floor.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” Emily muttered, as she glanced at the person with whom she had collided. It appeared that she had run into a girl who was about her age. Her hair was bright red and frizzled. No one would call her pretty, but there was something very attractive about her.
The girl grabbed Emily’s hands and said dramatically, “Oh I am terribly sorry! What an awful person I am! I should have been more careful! Now through my thoughtlessness all of your brand-new clothes are scattered on this bug and dirt infested floor! Forgive my clumsiness, darling! Don’t say that you hate me or I will cry myself to sleep for the next ten years!” Here, much to Emily’s surprise, she fell on her knees, clasped her hands together and looked up with imploring eyes.
Emily stepped back a few feet and tried to recover from the dramatic nature of the girl kneeling in front of her. “Umm, sure, I’ll forgive you…”
The girl jumped up. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! You have no idea how good it feels to be forgiven – or how great it feels to get my knees off that floor. It sure it hard!”
Emily tried to smile politely. “Umm…I’m Emily Wild. What is your name?”
The girl twirled around and then bowed. “My name is Miss Jessica Hunter. I’m thirteen years old. You say that your last name is Wild? What an interesting last name! Are you a wild kind of family?” Without waiting for Emily to answer, Jessica continued. “I think that my last name, Hunter, is cool. I mean, I could be seen as soooo many different things! There is such possibility in that name! A hunter of animals, a hunter of beauty, a hunter of clothes and even a hunter of people! Isn’t that amazing?” Jessica paused for a breath.
Emily nodded in a confused way. “Sure. You sound…full of potential.”
“Oh I am!” Jessica gushed. “My life is an empty canvas, a blank book, a clean slate!”
“That sounds lonely and…blank…” Emily said. She had finished picking up all of her clothes and was hoping for a quick escape.
Jessica looked into the distance and said, “Oh, my life is lonely.” She managed to squeeze a tear into her eye. “No one understands my sense of humor, my sense of beauty, my sense of love or my sense of taste for that matter. My darling mother, bless her heart, makes me eat this gross liver pâté sometimes. It’s tragic!” She fell to her knees again and sighed.
“Did the liver pâté do something to damage your brain?” Emily whispered under her breath. Aloud she said, “Well, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go find my sister.”
Jessica gasped. “You have a sister?! I always wanted a sister but I’m an only child. Isn’t life tragic?!”
“My life became tragic about five minutes ago.” Emily sighed. “Before then, my life was great.”
Just then Kris, who had finished looking through the toys, walked up. “Hi Emily, who are you talking to?”
“Save me, Kris!” Emily hissed in her sister’s ear. “You’ve gotta get me away from her! She’s driving me crazy!”
Kris glanced at Jessica, who was pretending to be examining clothes, and then whispered back to Emily, “She looks nice!”
“Looks can be deceiving!” Emily whispered back. “Now I have to get out of here! You talk to her!”
Emily shoved her sister forward and then took off at full speed away from Jessica. Kris and Jessica eyed each other for a moment.
Then Kris said, “Hi. My name is Kristina, but everyone calls me Kris. That girl that just ran away is my sister Emily.”
Jessica smiled. “I’m Jessica. Why did your sister run away? I thought that we were having a nice little chat!”
Kris shrugged. “I think Emily’s scared of you.”
Jessica looked surprised. “Why would she be scared of me? Oooh, maybe she heard that I put that kid in the hospital!”
Kris gasped and quickly hid in the clothing. She stuck her head out and asked, “You put a kid in the hospital?! Are you carrying a knife right now? Because if you are, I’m getting away right now.”
Jessica laughed and pulled Kris from her hiding place. “No, silly, I’m not carrying a knife.”
“Then how did you put a kid in the hospital?”
“I was visiting my grandparents one year and my cousin and I both fell down the stairs and got hurt.” Jessica explained. “We both got put in the hospital together. My other cousin likes to say that I put James in the hospital, but I didn’t. We both just tripped on a toy at the top of the stairs. My grandparents have really tall and hard stairs, by the way.”
Kris breathed a sigh of relief. “So you’re not naturally a violent person?”
“Not at all, darling. Well, at least I’m not violent to other humans. I am very violent to my food. No delicious thing stands a chance near me!” Jessica laughed.
“I have one more question.” Kris said. “Do you think I look delicious?”
Jessica laughed again. “No! I’d never eat you! So tell me about yourself! I’d love to have a nice long chat with you.”
Kris nodded eagerly. “I’m ten. My sister Emily is twelve and my brother Mark is eleven. We live in a nice house. Are you homeschooled? I am.”
Jessica nodded. “Of course! Being homeschooled is soooo wonderful, isn’t it?”
Kris smiled. “I’m glad you think so. We’re shopping here because we’re poor. At least Emily says that we’re poor…but my mommy says that we aren’t. Who do you think I should believe?”
“I’d think that your mom would know more about your finances than your sister, so I’d believe your mom.”
“That’s what I was thinking.” Kris said. “I’m glad that you agree. Tell me about what you like to do and where you live.”
Jessica said, “I love reading any tragic books. In the summer I go on loooong walks alone and I often cry over the sorrows of the world. Oh what a tragic place this is!”
“Is ‘tragic’ your favorite word?” Kris asked.
“It could be.” Jessica said and then quickly changed the topic. “My family and I are actually just visiting this fine little town of yours. But we will be moving here soon! We bought a house in the cutest little neighborhood. We’ll be moving in in two weeks.”
“That’s great!” Kris exclaimed. “Which neighborhood is it?”
Jessica pulled a piece of paper out of her shirt pocket and glanced at it. “I wrote it down here so that if I get lost or stranded somehow, I can just go to that address and look around the house while I’m waiting for my family to come save me.” Kris looked confused at this but kept her mouth closed. Jessica said, “Ah, the street name is East Fox. Do you know it?”
“Uh oh…” Kris said, glancing in the direction that Emily had run away. “I know that street very well…we live there…”
Jessica squealed and jumped up and down. “That is wonderful! We’re going to be living on the same street!”
Kris nodded and tried not to look worried. “What is the house number?”
Jessica looked at the paper again. “It’s 12302.”
Kris gulped. “That’s the house right next to ours! Come to think of it, the house next to ours has been for sale for a while. I guess I never really noticed…”
Jessica, in sheer delight, hugged Kris tightly. “Oh this is more than I could have ever dreamed for! We’re going to be next door neighbors!!!”
“It’ll be fun alright.” Kris sighed and tried to imagine Emily’s reaction when she heard the news. “Now if you don’t mind, Jessica, I need to go find my mom and sister. It’s probably about time for us to leave.”
Jessica nodded brightly. “Of course, darling. I need to find my mother and leave as well. I look forward to seeing you again!”
Jessica waved and then danced away. Kris stood still for a moment. “I’ll have to find a gentle way to break the news to Emily…otherwise, she’ll do…I’m not sure what she’ll do! This is bad. Really big and bad.”
With slow steps, Kris made her way over to Mary and Emily.
“Hi Kris, are you ready to go?” Mary asked.
Kris nodded. “Yup.”
“Where are the clothes you wanted to buy?” Mary asked, looking at her daughter’s empty arms.
Kris smiled nervously. “I don’t need clothes this time. I had something more, umm, important to do.”
Mary shrugged. “Okay. Grab your things, Emily, and let’s check out.”
On the way home, Kris broached the subject of Jessica. “Hey Emily, that Jessica girl said that she and her family are visiting from out of town.”
Emily raised her hands and a huge smile flooded her face. “Oh that is so wonderful! So you’re telling me that she doesn’t live anywhere in our little town. What a relief! I couldn’t stand to live in the same town as her!”
“You’ll be living way closer than that.” Kris mumbled.
“What did you say, Kris?” Emily asked.
“Oh nothing.” Kris said. “I’ll tell you sometime later.”
“Who’s Jessica?” Mark asked.
Emily sighed. “She’s this really annoying, overdramatic, weird girl that we met in the thrift store. I can’t stand her!”
“I actually thought she was nice.” Kris said.
Mark glanced at Emily. “Don’t you think it’s a little early to judge someone so much? You hardly know her and you already dislike her.”
“Exactly!” Emily said. “If I hardly know her now and I dislike her this much, I can’t imagine how much worse it would get in the future. But thankfully, I won’t have to worry about Miss Hunter anymore. She doesn’t even live near us.”
Bruce, who had been listening to his children talk, said, “Emily, it’s not right to dislike someone as much as you do – especially after you’ve just met her. People often aren’t what they seem like on first impression.” He sighed. “When I was younger, I knew this kid who drove me crazy. He was always upbeat and happy and he had to participate in every single thing that ever went on. If my friends and I went fishing, he was there. If we went for a hike, he was there. If we did anything, he always tagged along. He was always willing to do crazy things and he never seemed to stop talking. Later, though, I learned that the reason he did all of those things was to hide some deep hurts that he had. He thought that if he stayed busy enough and if he made enough friends, he would never have to face those hurts. But he eventually had to face them and once he did, he found healing from them.” Bruce was silent for a moment and then he said, “The moral of the story is, people may act a certain way to hide something that is really bothering them.”
“Or they might just be naturally annoying people who think that their world is tragic.” Emily mumbled.
Mary shook her head. “Emily, honey, God wants us to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.”
“I can love my neighbors.” Emily said. “But Jessica is not my neighbor.”
“She soon will be!” Kris giggled to herself.
“No matter how annoying people might be, Emily, we need to show them the love of God and we need to be kind to them.” Mary said.
Bruce parked the van in the driveway and the kids jumped out.
Emily shut the van door. “Maybe you can love annoying people, but I can’t.” Without another word, she walked quickly inside the house and up to her room.
Kris turned to Mark. “Hey Mark, I need to tell you something about Jessica. But you can’t tell Emily about it yet…we have to break the news to her gently.”
Half an hour later, Mark and Kris stood in front of Emily’s closed door.
“Do you think we should knock?” Kris asked nervously. “It seems like we’re trespassing on forbidden land.”
Mark shrugged. “It’s just Emily’s bedroom. Let’s just open the door.”
They opened the door and found Emily staring absentmindedly out of her window. She turned around when her siblings came into the room.
“What are you guys doing here?” Emily asked. “And why do you look so nervous, Kris?”
“You talk first, Mark.” Kris whispered.
Mark nodded. “Emily, Kris and I need to have a talk with you. It’s about Jessica.”
Emily turned around sharply and sat down on her bed. “What about Jessica?”
Kris nervously picked at the buttons on her shirt. “You know what I said about Jessica being out of town and just visiting?”
“Well…” Kris hesitated. “The reason she’s visiting is because she and her family just bought a house here in town and they’ll be moving here.”
Uh oh…How will Emily respond when she find out Jessica is moving to the neighborhood?! Come back tomorrow for the rest of the story! 🙂