Reaching for the Stars
Stephany. Age 12. San Pablo, California

One hot afternoon, while I was walking down the street, I could feel the breeze. I could see huge redwood trees in different sizes and shapes, and daisies that looked so beautiful. Although the smell of the pine trees made my nose itch, that didn't stop me from being outside on such a day.

While I was walking along a dirt path, a girl with ocean blue eyes started to walk next to me. I looked at her, and she looked at me. She was wearing a long dress with flowers on it, and her hair was like the color of the sand. I wasn't sure whether to talk to her or not talk to her. But my instincts were telling me to talk to her.

My curiosity was killing me. “Hi, you must be new around here,” I said.

She stared at me for a moment. “Hi...uh...yes...I'm new parents and I just finished moving in yesterday.”

I smiled at her and asked for her name, but I guess she didn't hear me because she said good-bye and walked towards the woods where a campsite was located. I stared at her as she walked away.

Suddenly, I remembered that my dad said to be back home before 2:00 pm, or else I would have to do all of the household chores for a whole week. While I was walking back home, I couldn't stop thinking about the blue-eyed girl. Every question came to my head: What if she gets lost? What if she doesn't know her way back home? I didn't even get her name. But then I thought, why did I care. I barely knew her and plus she was old enough to take care of herself.

When I was right in front of the door of my house, I could hear the noisy kids screaming like a big waterfall from next door. From that I knew my day was going to be alone. As I walked in my house, I saw my dad watching TV in the living room. I looked at the time: I was ten minutes late. I tiptoed up the stairs and blew out a relieved sigh that my dad didn't notice that I was a little late. Although usually he catches me, I was surprised that he didn't catch me this time.

I heard my dad coming up the stair as I pretended I was cleaning my room. He opened the door a bit and peeked in as I saw him from the corner of my eye. He closed the door again. Once more relief came to me. I peeked in the hallway and then I went downstairs to go grab some cookies. As I was going back upstairs to my room, a smell came to me. It was a good smell and it was coming from outside. The smell seemed familiar, but I couldn't tell what it was. So, I just kept walking up the stairs.

Suddenly I heard my dad call my nickname. “Steph...can you please come here? I need to talk to you.” As I walked towards my dad’s room, I noticed his disgusted face.

“Oh god...what did I do this time?” I murmured. He looked at me and pointed outside his window.

“What are those hole dug in the backyard?” asked my dad.

I looked at him and tried to tell a lie, but it didn't work because it was true. I dug the holes in the backyard because I wanted to find the box I had buried there when I was five years old. My dad just walked into my room, grabbed my backpack and started putting clothes in there while yelling, “Steph, you're going to summer camp. Maybe like that you will stay out of trouble!”

That same afternoon, he took me to the summer camp that was three blocks away from my house. When we got there, I saw the girl again. I was excited for once because maybe my being in the summer camp wouldn't be such a bad idea. The bad thing was that there was only three more months left in the summer camp. So I had a choice: either go up to the girl and start becoming friends with her or just forget about her. But since my instincts wouldn't stop bugging me, I chose to go and talk to her. Leaving my dad behind me and ignoring him, I started walking away.

Once I got settled in a room that was near the lake filled with fish, I had to change to this weird uniform that everyone had to wear. I looked through the window. The girl was coming. “Hi, my name is Isabel and I'm your roommate,” she said.

I looked at her and responded. “Hi. My name is Stephany, but you can call me Steph.”

“Wait a minute! I remember're the one that I talked to earlier today,” she said as we shook hands

As I got to know her more, we became friends, and learned many things about each other.

One month went by, and I was still in the summer camp and, not to lie, I was actually liking it there. Until one night I saw Isabel taking a walk. She looked as if she were missing someone. “Is everything OK?” I asked her.

“Leave me alone,” Isabel whispered sadly.

I did what she told me to—I left her alone—but I wondered why she told me that. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked myself over and over again. I went to sleep, and when I woke up the next morning, I realized that it was all just a dream to be reached by the stars. I was a little sad because the girl seemed like she was very friendly and kind.

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