Zara and Abby were playing in the backyard with their dogs Finn and Molly when they thought they heard someone crying. They realized that there was a little girl sitting on the back stoop of the house next door. They didn’t recognize her, but they both thought they’d better go over and see if she was alright.
“Excuse me” said Abby. “Are you okay?”
“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, everything (sniff) is so (sniff sniff) messed up!” Then she started to sob, burying her head in her hands.
“Oh honey” said Zara, “what’s the matter? It can’t be that bad.” “It is though, it’s terrible. I don’t even know where to start.”
“Why don’t you tell us your name?” asked Abby. The girl looked up at them, and in between sobs she said “My name is Louisa.”
“Where do you live?” asked Zara. “Well, that’s the problem, I live here, I guess, I think…” And then she started to cry again.
Abby sat down on the stoop beside her. “I’m not sure what that means, perhaps you can explain?”
“Well,” started Louisa, “it just seems like everything lately has gone wrong. First my grandma died a few months ago and now my parents are getting divorced. My grandpap lives here, my mom and I moved here from Buffalo, New York to live with him so my mom can get back on her feet.”
“Oh dear” said Zara, “That is a lot.”
“I’m so scared. I hated having to move and leave all of my friends behind, I don’t know anyone here and now I have to go to a new school and…” She started to sob again.
Zara sat down on the other side of her and put her arm around her. “Well, the good news is that we just live over there” (as she pointed to her house). Which school will you be going to?”
“I think it’s called Kennedy?” said Louisa between sobs.
Abby clapped her hands and said “Oh good, that’s where we go to school. My name is Abby and this is my sister Zara. These are our dogs Finn and Molly. I understand how you feel, we moved here last year from New Mexico, and it was very scary.”
Then Zara pointed to the house behind theirs. “Do you see that house right there behind ours? There are 6 other girls our age that live there who are all super nice, and they all go to Kennedy too!”
As she listened, Louisa had quit sobbing, and actually started to smile. “Really? Do you think they’ll like me?”
“Well, we like you, so I’m sure they will!” exclaimed Abby.
“Can you introduce me to them?” asked Louisa.
“Of course! They love meeting new people.” responded Zara. “I remember when we first came here, they were so nice to us and so excited to have some more playmates. We hang out at their house all the time.”
The girls sat there for quite a while and talked about all sorts of stuff. Louisa told them that she didn’t participate in any activities because her parents didn’t have a whole lot of money, but she was hoping to try some different ones. “I have NO idea what I want to do, I’d like to try everything! Tennis, music, art—I don’t know how to decide! I do enjoy singing. I also know some magic tricks, Penn and Teller are my favorite magicians.” Abby said that she was into cheerleading and gymnastics and Zara said she rode horses. “Oh wow, that all sounds really fun” said Louisa. “Maybe you two can help me pick something out?” She also told them that her grandpap was paying for her to go to Kennedy because he thought it was a really good school and that her mom had gone there when she was growing up. “Our mom did too” said Zara. “That’s pretty cool!”
While they sat there talking, Finn and Molly were very patient, but finally Finn couldn’t stand it anymore and put his head in Louisa’s lap.
“You are so cute…” said Louisa. And then she started to cry again. “What’s the matter?” asked Zara. “My dog is still with my dad. I miss him so much. I hope to be able to get him back soon, my dad is supposed to come and visit next week and is bringing my dog with him. He’s my best friend! I’m looking forward to seeing my dad too.” “Awwww, what’s your dog’s name? Tell us about him!” said Abby.
“He’s a Jack Russell terrier named Eddie—just like in the old TV show Frasier. He was a birthday present a couple of years ago. I really miss him, he always slept with me in my bed. I can’t wait to see him again. My dad is up for a job transfer not too far from here, so I’ll get to see him more too.”
“I know I would miss Finn and Molly if they weren’t here” said Zara. “I bet Eddie misses you too.” Then Zara gave her a big hug.
“I’m really glad that you two came along. I do feel better since I’ve been talking to you. I definitely don’t feel so scared about school now. I hope everyone there is as nice as you two.”
“Great!” exclaimed Abby. “We don’t like sad faces around here!!”
“Would you two like to come in for a glass of lemonade? You can meet my grandpap, he’s really nice, and he loves dogs too! I bet he will love these two” said Louisa.
“Sure!” replied Abby and Zara at the same time. “Let me text mom and let her know where we are” said Zara.
Zara and Abby stayed for about an hour, then they said they needed to get going because their mom would be worrying about them being gone for so long. The three girls agreed that they would get together later in the week to play and to introduce Louisa to the rest of the girls.
“Thanks guys, I’m so glad you stopped to talk to me. I feel so much better about school.”