“Dinner is ready,” yelled Rita to the kids.
Her afternoon had been full of exploring the art scene of Seattle, which she had forgotten was so prolific. Yes, she had played hooky, even though she was at work. The discovery of Larry and his art gallery had popped Rita wide open. She was so excited!
Frank and Francine sat down with Rita, both happy that it was spaghetti for dinner.
“How’s the play coming along,” Rita asked Frank.
“Oh, it’s okay, Luke is being his annoying egotistical self, thinking he is the most important person in the play. It doesn’t help that he is one of the key characters. Joe and I had fun with our roles and yesterday’s practice really helped me to feel more prepared. The set is really looking good,” responded Frank.
“Can you send me the dates again for the play, so I can email everyone a reminder and also reserve some tickets,” asked Rita.
“Hey mom, would it be okay if Jennifer comes over after school on Wednesday? And Frank can you drive her back home after we hang out, her mom works late as a nurse and her dad has a meeting that night,” pleaded Francine.
“It’s okay with me,” replied Rita. “Remind me again, who is Jennifer, I haven’t heard her name before have I?”
“She plays on the basketball team and I have one class with her,” shared Francine.
“Umm, I guess I can give her ride home, since mom will probably be making dinner,” chimed in Frank.
“While we are talking about schedules, are you two cool with making your own dinners on Thursday night? There is an art show downtown at a gallery that I want to check out, your Aunt Marie is going to meet me there,” explained Rita
Frank and Francine looked at each other before replying to their mom. Both were surprised, for rarely did their mom go out on a night that they were with her. She always prioritized her time with them.
“That’s great mom, sure, I can make my own dinner. I’m glad you’re going to an art gallery, that will be fun,” Francine smiled with happiness for her mom.
“Sure, that works for me,” Frank answered.
The three of them continued to converse while enjoying the slurp of spaghetti noodles.
Francine was eager for dinner to be done so that she could go to her mom’s room and tell her all that the magazine had shared with her. It had been a very interesting afternoon with the magazine, especially after a very successful day at school. She had stayed true to her list, connecting with Jennifer, being more present in choir by engaging with others in the class. She had tried to find Amy, no luck yet, maybe tomorrow. She could tell that some of her “friends” were perturbed with her behavior, she found herself easily not caring what they thought, actually surprised by how easy this change seemed to be, so far.
On her way home with Frank, she had received a text from Jennifer saying she could come over Wednesday night as long as she had a ride home, since her parents were busy. Francine couldn’t believe it. A part of her was a bit nervous, what would they talk about, do..? She reminded herself that this is the way you feel every time you start a new friendship, it would be okay. Chiding herself that she wanted to be real.
When she got home she waited for Frank to get his snack and go to his room. Once his door closed she loaded up her snack, grabbed the magazine from her mom’s room and headed to her bedroom. Sitting down on her bed she opened it up.
“Hi Francine, how are you today,” typed quickly across the page.
“I’m great, it’s been a crazy day. I took my list with me and stayed true to it. I found myself scared and a little unsure, but I kept thinking about your words,” blurted out Francine out loud. Slapping her hand across her mouth, she listened to see if her brother heard her. “Whew, he didn’t,” she added.
“That sounds like a great day. Why did you feel scared and unsure,” inquired the magazine.
“Well, what if my friends stop liking me and the new friends I am trying to meet don’t like me, I’ll be alone. Or what if I do or say something stupid to someone new. Or what if I make a big mistake and try to be friends with someone who is really mean or….,” spewed Francines mind.
“What I hear you sharing is full of the negative possibilities, what about the positive possibilities. What do you want to happen,” gently probed the page.
Feeling herself calm down into the page and the space, Francine smiled, the magazine was right again, she spent a lot of time thinking about the negative possibilities. When she thought this way, she became more uncertain and afraid to create change.
“Change does not have to feel scary, everything always changes, that’s life. What would it feel like if you focused on what you want to happen, feeling into what the change will offer,” continued the publication.
“I know, change happens all the time, but there is a lot that doesn’t change too. I like being popular, but I don’t like pretending. I like having lots of friends, but I don’t like how fake many of them are. I like doing lots of things, but, I don’t like feeling so stressed when I can’t keep up,” the mixed emotions rolled out of Francine, like butter on a hot ear of corn.
“Take a deep breath and close your eyes,” implored the magazine. “Now focus on just breathing for a little bit, sink deeper and deeper into that quiet space. Then when you feel more calm, open your eyes and let’s start again.”
Francine scooted up against her pillows, closed her eyes and started breathing. She was glad no one could see her, for she had always thought meditation was silly. She was willing to try it though, cause, she felt completely overwhelmed and crazy. Gradually her shoulders relaxed, her back softened and her breathing deepened. Like letting go after you have held something really tight. Peeking through her eyelashes, she saw the words still on the page.
“Thanks, I feel better now,” she stated.
“Yes, you do,” typed back.
“Can you really feel what I feel,” asked Francine.
“Yes, for we are you,” replied the words.
“How can you be me,” she questioned with doubt, “I’m me, not a magazine.”
The magazine seemed to chuckle in response, “The words that type upon this page come from your inner self, your true self, there is nothing we share that does not come from that deep part of you which knows who you are, what you want, how you feel…,” trailed the black ink on the white page.
To be continued… 25