I couldn’t sleep. My eyes were heavy and stiff like papier-mâché, but my mind was going in a million different directions, or at least one direction, or maybe a million different directions that always
ended with one thought, one of those things anyway. I sighed and rolled to the edge of my bed, trying to reach underneath without having to get up, but my fingers could only reach about an inch. I pushed the covers back and slid to my knees next to the bed, leaning over far enough to press my cheek to the carpet and peer under the bed.
I used to make Mom do this every night when I was four, I thought, checking for monsters, but I stuck my hand into the dark underneath, feeling for what I wanted, pushing aside old clothes and something else that felt like one of Trenton’s baseballs―or maybe an old orange―until my hand brushed the dulled corner of an old shoebox. I pulled it out and tucked it under my arm quickly sliding back under the warmth of the covers. I took the lid off the box and took a deep breath of the faint smell of dust and cheap plastic.
I didn’t need to turn the light on to know what was in the box. An old necklace Dad had bought me for Christmas one year so long ago that the silver chain was yellowing. The cardboard kaleidoscope Aunt Nadine had given me. Trinkets that weren’t really worth anything except for the memories they had. I reached my hand inside and carefully felt through the items until I found the smooth plastic. I pulled it out and set the shoebox on the nightstand.
I could picture every detail of the walkie-talkie even in the dark. The faded pink box, the big purple antenna, the chipped battery cover from accidentally dropping it. I reached for the ridged knob and turned it on, listening to the cackle of white noise as a tear slipped down my cheek.
Mom had given this to me when she was in the hospital to have Trenton, so I could talk to her if I missed her. My shoulders started shaking with sobs as I listened to the sound of emptiness.
“Mom?” I whispered into the box, clutching the button at the side. “I miss you.” I drew in a deep breath hoping to stop the shudders in my shoulders. “I really, really need to talk to you.”
“Aunt Nadine’s moved in with us, but she’s not okay. She forgets things sometimes, and I’m worried.” I let go of the button, listening to the white noise before clutching the button again. “I’m worried that she’s going to forget something and hurt Trenton or me. Or,” I took another deep breath to try and calm my voice. “That she’ll have to leave us too, and then I won’t be just missing you, but her too.”
My words started coming faster and faster. “And Dad, he stays at work most of the time. So much, that I’m not sure he knows that something is wrong with Aunt Nadine, or that I’m sad or that Trenton is scared. And he’s not taking us to church either, because it hurts so much to go there and think of you.” One of my sobs turned into a gasp. “That’s where you married him, isn’t it? At that
church? But it shouldn’t matter, he should still come just for me and Trenton, even if it makes him sad.” I felt selfish saying it, but the words just kept coming, uncensored.
“And half the time Ellie and Avery don’t even know what to say to me. And Ellie doesn’t even know Aunt Nadine is staying with us. I, I was afraid of what she’d think, even though I know you always said it never matters what other people think. I just couldn’t tell her, and now I can’t really tell her that I lied to her either.”
“I miss you Mom. I really, really miss you. I want you here so that I can talk to you, so that I can tell you everything and then you can give me a hug and tell me that everything is going to be okay, tell me what I should do.” The words had to stop, I was crying so hard, I relaxed my hand, releasing the button, and let my arm fall to my pillow, listening to the crackle of the walkie talkie as I cried myself to sleep.
This book is about a teenage girl, Jaydn, who is very similar to me. Jaydn and I would have been very good friends I believe, we even both lost someone very close, and had to deal with Alzheimer’s in a relative. You see Jaydn’s mother dies and her great aunt moves in to help her dad with her and her younger brother Trenton. But Jaydn’s dad refuses to believe that Aunt Nadine’s Alzheimer’s is bad as Jaydn keeps trying to tell him, until the day Aunt Nadine and Trenton go missing in a blizzard. Can Jaydn in her different way of seeing things help find the two in time? After all Aunt Nadine is always saying that they think alike. Can Jaydn also help her dad see what he has been missing all along?
This book is great. It will be a positive addition to any library shelf. It is a wonderful book for reluctant readers, those with trouble reading, and people looking for a wonderful story about a girl who thinks differently but learns to use it to her advantage. Many will be able to relate to Jaydn in ways not found in any other book available at this time, I wish it had been around, well let’s just say a few years back for a younger me.
Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/Kaleidoscope-Me-Hillary-K-