Chapter 5: letting go
Jenna grabbed Maddie’s umbrella from Mika. “You’re getting all the good stuff. This should go to me – I helped paint the stars.”
“Sorry,” said Maddie, wrapping her hand around the middle of it.
“Its going with me – it rains in Lima too.”
“Try these,” she said passing Jenna a pair of shorts she opened at the seams to insert a band of purple velvet with red applique hearts for their Grade 6, King and Queen of Hearts dance.
“Comes with a lovely ‘sweet tarts’ belt,” Maddie said rocking it in front of Jenna.
Jenna reached for the shorts. “How’d you make this?”
“I taped sweet tart wrappers over my old Dora the Explorer belt – et voila! Its kind of small but I like how it bunches the shorts at my waist.”
“What waist?” asked Jenna as she wiggled into the shorts.
“They’re too tight!” said Mika, “and too short! You can’t wear those.”
“Can too,” said Jenna sucking in her breath so she could do up the belt.
“Can you breathe… or walk?” asked Maddie, laughing at Jenna’s pinched red face.
“Crap,” Jenna moaned as the belt snapped open. “Nothing fits me.”
“Here. Take these mitts and toque.”
“Awesome!” said Jenna slipping her hand into a red crocheted mitt covered in sparkling beads.
Do you have any beads in case I lose some?”
“If you lose one you’ll have to sew it back on; have you mastered that skill,” Maddie taunted.
“I’m a model not the designer! What about these moccasins?” asked Jenna attempting to get her foot into one. “They’ll be perfect for Canada Day. Are they really made from the skin of a caribou?”
“Your feet are too big Jenna! said Mika, “let me try.”
“Don’t pull on the fur Jenna. For your info they’re mukluks not moccasins. My grandpa got them in Nunavut,” she said, snapping one from Jenna’s hand, the other from Mika.
“But they don’t fit you. Neither do these,” said Mika, holding up a child size pair of blue sequenced slippers.
“Your mom said if it doesn’t fit you or Jenna or me, you have to give it away.”
Maddie plucked the dance shoes from Mika. She felt an ache in her heart grow as she thought about dancing with Grandpa Leo, moving, and letting go.
Maddie was bothered Jenna or Mika would even think she would give away a treasured gift from her Grandpa. “I decide what I take!”
My dad says your grandpa’s famous. Is that true?” asked Mika.
“Maybe – kind of – I guess.”
“You’re either are famous or you’re not,” said Jenna.
“I don’t care if he was or wasn’t,” snapped Maddie feeling a turbine of emotions revving up inside as she thought about everything she was having to give up.
“Well you should care,” said Jenna, trying to squeeze into another pair of Maddily Modified shorts. “Famous people are more interesting and if your related to them, that makes you more interesting.”
“My dad said he found the bones of a kid.”
“Mummified remains – not bones – you make it sound cold and scary. Her bones are in Lima’s Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, I’ve seen them.”
“Yah. Yah!” replied Jenna waving away the discussion like you do a pesky fly.
“Your lucky, you’ll be able to go to his grave and talk to him,” Mika said.
“What?” Maddie spluttered, “he’s dead!”
“When I lived in Japan, we went to the graveyard every season. You take a picnic and talk to your dead relatives.”
“A picnic in the graveyard! That’s creepy,” said Jenna.
“Is not! Everyone does it.”
“Maybe you do that there but not here. It sounds creepy, and weird to me!” Jenna said.
“I don’t know if we’ll go,” said Maddie. “Can you talk to dead people if you don’t go to the graveyard?”
“I think so. Its like talking to God – you just do it,” Mika said.
“Never mind the dead people. What about the boys; I thought we were going to the park this afternoon,” Jenna pouted and plopped herself onto Maddie’s bed.
“Are you crying?” Maddie asked Jenna.
“I’m going to miss you,” Jenna said wrapping her arms around Maddie.
“Me too,” Mika added, joining the huddle.
She hugged them back thinking how good it is to have friends; especially when your sad and scared.
“Hey!” her dad asked peeking into the room. “What’s going on here?”
“We’re having a funeral,” said Maddie.
“What are you talking about?”
“Maddie’s leaving us,” Jenna puffed out between sobs. “We’ll never see her again.”
“You’re on the screen all the time,” he reminded.
“Its not the same. We can’t hug her, or try on each others’ clothes,” said Jenna sitting back on her haunches.
“The boys buzzed. They’re in the lobby. Shall I invite them up for some quality time together?” he asked scratching his head.
“No!” said Maddie, wiping her tears away.
“I’ll text them. We’re almost finished – we can meet them at the beach.”
Ö Ö Ö
Maddie usually loved Canada Day. Everything red and white, just like me.
Beach Street usually lined with towering oaks and double-parked cars was now a carnival. Kiddie rides occupied two blocks from Thurlow to Jervis. There was a bandstand set-up on Sunset Beach that they planned to visit later. For now it was surrounded by little kids and their parents or caregivers. Adult clowns in kiddie cars were on the stage crashing into each other.
Leaving kiddie land and Mika behind to watch her cousins for a while, they headed towards English Bay where the boys and food trucks were.
“Let’s get a beaver tail,” said Maddie.
“No. Lets meet up with the boys. You can make beaver tails at your grandma’s house,” Jenna moaned, eying the long line.
“Its not the same,” Maddie declared firmly. “Besides waiting in line and watching people is part of the fun.”
“For whom?” Jenna pouted. “The boys are waiting.”
“We’ll get them one to share. They won’t care that we made them wait if we give them something to eat,” said Maddie holding firmly to her spot in the line-up.
“Okay. Its our last day together,” said Jenna, grabbing Maddie’s arm and cuddling up beside her.
“You’ll need to send for me,” said Jenna. “You’ll never find a better Maddily Modified model than me.”
“I’m finished with Maddily Modified.”
“It annoys my mom and well … its different in Peru. They like different clothes – there styles are different. Maddily Modified designs won’t fit in there.”
“You can’t quit Maddie. You’re going to get clothes out of the landfill, improve working conditions, and make me look amazing!”
“You’ll always look amazing,” said Maddie hugging her best friend ever.
Interrupted by their turn to order, Maddie was glad she didn’t spill the beans about how scared she was; scared of never having a best friend again, scared about going to a school where she didn’t know anyone and didn’t have a grip on the language; scared about fitting in.
They were finishing up their beaver tails when Mika returned.
“He wants candy floss, she wants mini-donuts and I want a fairy cake,” said Mika, holding a hand of each cousin having now been tasked to take them out for the afternoon.
“Is that all we are going to do is eat today!” complained Jenna.
“Come-on skinny,” Maddie said pulling her along.
“I’m not skinny, I’m blossoming,” Jenna replied.
The fair, food and fireworks were good but the best part of the night was curling in her sleeping bag on the deck with BFFs.
They agreed they would go to university together and decided Ho Chi Minh City would be the best place because they could eat noodles ever day – if they wanted to, wear beautiful clothes and speak French.
Sirens, party-goers still on street, and an aching stomach and heart kept Maddie awake long after her friends were asleep. She focused on her breath and talked her toes, legs, body, arms and head to sleep with teary eyes knowing this was her last night with her friends under Vancouver’s sky.
Table of Contents
Chapters 1 – 5
Best Summer Ever | Graduation Day |
My Life Sucks |
Maddie's Moving | Letting Go |
Chapter 6 - 13
Who Are You? | Jojo Kofi Afram | Lima, Peru |
Grandpa's Map | Surquillo Market |
Wynn the Peruvian Dog | HBIPS | Taco Night |
Chapter 14 - 19
TGIF | La Niña | Stranded | The Carmelites |
Market Day | Maddily Modified Reconfigured |
Chapter 20 - 24
Meme and Victor | Yes! Things Can Get Worse |
On Assignment | Lost Again | Ties That Bind |
links / resources
Change Resilience |
Cultural Awareness |
Global Citizenship |
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