A Green Thing
“Who are you calling?”
“Friends… Hey, Spencer,” she said warmly. “What’s up, dude?” Then she winked at me. “Well, Maya and I are downtown right now. We volunteered to do this mural project, and we sure could use some big, strong guys to help out.” She smiled knowingly. “Oh yeah, for sure. Maybe you could get Jake to come and help too… No, it’s no big hurry. I mean, we need to kind of figure out where we’re going with this mural and get the paint and stuff. Maybe not today. But how about tomorrow? First thing in the morning?” She got a catty smile now. “Oh yeah, totally.” Then she hung up.
“Help on the way?”
“Sounds like it.” She slipped her phone back into her bag.
“Spencer is such a pushover when it comes to good-looking women.”
“I hope he didn’t get the wrong impression.”
“We’re talking about Spencer, right?” She laughed. “Of course he has the wrong impression. It’s just the way that boy’s brain is wired.”
And I was fully aware of this. Spencer had begun hitting on me as soon as I started going to HHS a couple of months ago. I’d been flattered at first, but as I got to know him better, I realized that I needed to draw some boundaries. Even so, I wasn’t going to admit that Spencer wouldn’t have been my first choice for help.
“So…do you think I should call anyone else?” I offered.
“Sure. Do you know anyone else?”
I kind of shrugged.
The truth is, I still don’t know that many people in this town.
Kimand her best friend, Natalie, already have summer jobs. But I was thinking
about the kids in Kim’s church youth group—particularly Dominic.
Any excuse to spend time with Dominic seemed like a good excuse to me.
But I didn’t know
“It was supposed to take only a week,” I said finally. “But with justMarissa and me and this great big wall, well, it’s a little overwhelming. She’s already called a guy to help, but—”
“What a cool project,” Caitlin said. “That building is a real eyesore. It’s great that someone wants to make it nice, and I’m sure that’ll be a blessing to the kids who use the center. Why don’t I call around and see who might be willing to help out?”
“That’d be awesome.”
“When do you want your helpers to show up?”
“We have to figure some things out first. We probably won’t need anyone until tomorrow morning.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“Thanks.” I hung up and smiled hopefully.
But Marissa was frowning at me now. “Why are you calling in the church people?”
“You want me to make you a list of reasons?”
“Are you willing to turn away free help?”
She dropped her cigarette butt to the pavement and ground it out with her heel as she shrugged. “I guess not. So what’s the deal, Maya. Are you one of them?”
“One of what?”
“Are you a Christian too?”
I took in a deep breath, then slowly nodded. “Actually, I am.”
She shook her head
in a dismal way. Like this was really unfortunate.
“Why?” Her dark eyes narrowed as she studied me closely.
I started to feel like a bug beneath a magnifying glass. “Why?” I repeated, confused. “You mean why is it new for me?”
“No. Why did you do it?” The way she said this made a woman walking through the parking lot glance nervously at me, like she assumed I’d committed some horrendous crime.
“Become a Christian?”
“Yeah.” Marissa made a sour face. “I mean, I can understand girls like Kim and Natalie… They’re such goody two-shoes. But you, Maya? I thought you were different.”
“I am different.”
“Because I was unhappy and lonely and hopeless and depressed and just really, really lost.”
“And now you’re found?” I could hear the teasing note in her voice.
“Actually, I do feel kind of found.”
She rolled her eyes.
“Look,Marissa, if anyone had told me just a few months ago that I was going to make a life-changing commitment like this…well, I would’ve reacted just like you. I would’ve said they were crazy. Seriously, I never would’ve believed it myself.”
Her countenance softened ever so slightly, and she didn’t question this statement.
End of Chapter 1/Day 2 Excerpt - More from chapter 1 coming in tomorrow's email!