Cruel Summer

Alyson Noël

St. Martin's Griffin

CRUEL SUMMER
by
Alyson Noël

June 13
Dear Aunt Tally,
When I asked my mom for your e-mail address, she just laughed and told me you didn’t have one. But I know she’s just joking—right?
I mean, it’s not like you have to have a computer or anything, since I’m planning on bringing my laptop anyway, I just need to make sure you have wi-fi, high speed, broadband, or whatever they call it where you live, since it’s really important for me to stay connected, because, well, I just started hanging with this new group of friends and
Anyway, so my mom just walked in and when she saw me writing to you she said, “Don’t waste the postage, Colby. You’ll get there long before that letter does.” But just in case she’s wrong, I’m sending it anyway. And just in case she’s right, well, then I guess there’s nothing more to say.
 See you soon.
 Love,
 Colby

June 15
Dear Mom and Dad-
Just in case you decide to stop arguing long enough to come look for me, you should know that I’m NOT home. I’m out with my friends, determined to enjoy my LAST NIGHT OF FREEDOM.
Attempting one last stab at having a little FUN before you succeed in TAKING IT ALL AWAY.
But don’t worry. I’m not running away or anything. Mostly because you’re decision to send me away makes running away seem almost redundant.
Besides, I’ve done my best to reason with you and try to put an immediate halt to all that you’ve started, but since I’ve so clearly failed, I will soon surrender, comply with your wishes, and resign myself to the fate you have so randomly chosen for me.
Only not now, later. Because now, I’m just going to try to enjoy myself—while I still can.
Though before I go I’d like to leave you with a few thoughts for you to consider:
It’s not too late!
There’s plenty of time to reconsider!
Everything you’ve done can still be undone!
At least take the time to think about it.
~Colby

Colby’s Journal For Desperate Times Like Right Now
June 16
I can’t believe I’m actually writing in this journal. I mean, today, (well, technically it would now be yesterday), when my mom gave it to me, I just looked at her and said, “What’s this?”
And she said, “I thought you could use it to write about all of the exciting things that happen to you this summer.”
So then I shook my head, rolled my eyes, and sighed as loud as I could.
Then I tossed it onto my desk, and watched it skid all the way across the top until it fell off the side and tumbled to the ground, as my mom just stood there, still and silent, gazing between the upside down journal and me.
But I just narrowed my eyes and stared right back, wondering if she was going to yell at me, cry, or both.
But in the end she just shook her head and left my room. And the second the door closed behind her, I’m the one who started to cry.
Though not for too long, since I didn’t want my face to be all puffy and red for the goodbye party Amanda was supposed to throw for me. Even though in the end it really wasn’t much of a party since it pretty much consisted of a six-pack of her brother’s beer, a bag of chips, and us.
Well, at least until she made a few calls—
Okay, I was just about to write the rest of the story, but then I decided to stop because it feels really weird to be confessing in this thing. I mean, as much as I’d like to write about EVERYTHING that just happened, (and trust me, there’s PLENTY to write about), because I’m thinking it might really help me to get it all down on paper and maybe even clear my head and put it all back in perspective, the thing is, I can’t help but think—what if someone reads it?
I mean, it’s not like you can password protect a leather bound notebook.
Not to mention how I can STILL hear my parents totally yelling and screaming downstairs, which is not only making it hard to concentrate, but also freaking me out to think what will happen when they come up here to check on me while I sleep, (because that’s what they always do after they’ve exhausted themselves from one of their arguments, and are ready to call it a night and head off to their separate rooms), and maybe even end up peeking at what I’ve written.
And even though I know that probably sounds totally paranoid, in light of how they’ve managed to wreck just about every aspect of my life, I think the breakdown in trust is completely justified.
So, with that in mind, it’s better to just sign off for now and continue this at another time, in another place.
Or not.

June 16
Text Message:
To: Amanda
Message: This is the last txt msg Ull get from me bcuz IM packed N ready N lvg 4 LAX v soon so I wanna say bye N also 2 say last nite was soooo fun but it also makes lvg that much harder I still cant believe my rents R doing this 2 me O well Plz say bye 2 Levi 4 me N plz give him my email cuz I 4got 2
K, ttfn, Colby

June 16
Dear Mom and Dad,
I really hope that by the time you return from dropping me off at the airport you will find this letter and realize what a big mistake you’ve made.
Because this is NOT fair!
It feels like I’M the one being punished because YOU GUYS decided to get a divorce—a divorce that, as you know, not only am I completely against, but that I definitely don’t agree with. And yet, here I am, being banished from everything I know and love, and it just doesn’t make any sense.
It’s not like I’m the one causing trouble. It’s not like I’m the one yelling and screaming and fighting all the time. Because that would be YOU! And yet, somehow, the plane ticket is still in my name.
I mean, did you ever stop to consider that maybe the WRONG PERSON is being sent to Aunt Tally’s? Did you ever stop and think that maybe one of YOU should go cool off on a Greek Island for a couple months, so I can just stay home and enjoy my summer in peace?
Apparently not.
I hope that by the time you finish this letter you will have come to your senses, stop fighting, see the error of your ways, and bring me back home immediately.
It’s as simple as calling the airport and having me paged.
I will be listening for my name.
And even though it’s probably not necessary to say, I want to assure you that should you choose to reverse your decision, I hereby do solemnly swear, to never mention this little digression again. I will just tuck it away in the file of- Things We’d All Rather Forget.
But if not . . .then I’m afraid I can’t be held responsible for my actions.
Please take the time to reconsider. And remember, it’s never too late to correct a mistake.
Love,
Your sad, lonely, and already completely homesick daughter—
Colby