"Ginny," her mother called from downstairs, "can you come here for a sec?"
"Sure," she said to her empty room, and with a sigh got up and headed down the stairs. Taking each step with a new sigh, slowly savoring the feelings she had recorded in her diary only hours earlier.
"Gin-," then she noticed Ginny standing there. "Oh there you are. Sit sit sit. We have a lot to talk about," she said with a strange gleam in her eyes. Ginny hadn't seen that gleam since her mom unsuccessfully tried to pull off a surprise part for her 12th birthday. A pool party, it was a disaster. It was her "creative glow", and nothing good could come of a creative glow when it came from a person as stiff as an ironing board.
At her pool party, her mom invited everyone in her sixth grade class. Everyone. Including Billy Morris. What brought Billy pleasure in life was making sure Ginny was as miserable as possible. Her father said it was because that is what boys did when they liked a girl, Ginny knew better. He was just a jerk with a mean streak longer than the Nile River.
She was 12, and just got her first two piece swimsuit. We all know what comes next. Ginny acts surprised as she walks out into the backyard full of classmates, Ginny and her friends hop in the pool, Billy has Thomas grab the camera, and finally Billy pulls one little string. Ginny dives under water trying to find the bikini top that she could barely fill out to begin with.
Ginny refused to come up without it, so she holds her breath so long she passes out, under water. You'd think it would not get any worse, right? Wrong.
Then Erik arrives, Erik, the Mountain Valley sixth grade dream boat. In the 50's it was Elvis, in the 60's it was the Beatles, in 80's it was Full House's Uncle Jesse, but in 2004 at Mountain Valley Elementary School the it guy was Erik Henderson. Shaggy blonde hair, ice blue eyes, tall, muscular, and a real sweetheart. Erik, like his older brother, had the dream of being a lifeguard. (In retrospect, Ginny now realized he probably didn't want to devote his life to saving people, but to ogle at girls in bikinis all day. Not quite as heroic and dreamy.)
Anyways, Erik, of course has to jump in and save Ginny, dragging her to the top of the pool, and into the sunlight, with no bathing suit up top. He of course doesn't notice until after he has placed Ginny onto the sidewalk and is about to give her mouth to mouth.
Then mom walks out, "Who wants cake and ice cr"- Queue mom's hair raising scream as her daughter lays lifelessly on the sidewalk half naked.
Mom grabs a towel, and starts to panic. Erik preforms CPR, and gets her to breathe. She quietly thanks him before clutching the towel around herself and running to her room, shaky and teary eyed.
Since then, he can't look her in the eye. She gave up on them getting married and having two kids, once he still couldn't look her in eye two years later.
So now, as you can imagine, Ginny starts to get anxious… Recognizing the "creativity glow" and remembering the horrors it had on her pre-teen life, and her (now never gonna happen) happily-ever-after with Erik Henderson. Who of course is now the quarter-back and only got hotter as he got older. Life is so cruel.
"Hello sweetheart," she said softly, with a thoughtful look on her face.
It reminded Ginny of the look she got before going off the high dive, or going on one of those insane roller coasters her best friend loved for some strange reason. It was the look that decided whether or not to go through with something. It was the make it or break it, no turning back now look. Oh God, someone must have died, and mom doesn't know how to tell her.
"What's wrong?" Ginny asked with a sense of urgency and worry.
"Oh nothing like that darling," she looked at her daughter's face, "don't look so worried, no one died."
Relief. Then worry all over again.
"Then what is it?" Ginny asked apprehensively.
"Well, baby," she stammered, and finally continued, "this is for you."
Her mother handed Ginny a blue envelope. A familiar blue envelope.
Ginny looked at her mother, then the envelope.
"Mom," memories flooded through her brain, she tried to keep her eyes from watering. "What is this?"
"This is your summer vacation. I know you miss traveling. You never knew this, but, I used to travel. I loved to travel. I don't think you knew this, but, well, you know those foreign exchange programs? Before you were born, I used to go all over the world and check those homes out. I would stay for a couple weeks, and leave. I still stay in touch with quite a few of those families.
"Long story short, with a little help from Rhonda," Rhonda was Ginny's aunt on her dad's side, super creative and organized, "I made you a trip. Like the trip Peg made you, of course, not exactly like it, no one could ever replicate what Peg did. She sure was one of a kind." She paused, smiling fondly at a memory. She snapped out of it.
"You leave in one week. I have already told Cynthia, she even helped a little. She assured me your job would be waiting for you when you get back."
Was this really happening? Ginny couldn't believe it. Her mom didn't let her ride the bus by herself, and now she was spending the summer all over the world, by herself.
"Each stop will have a task to do, and a person to find. Like Peg did, each envelope contains just what you need for each task, and all the money you should need. Unlike Peg though, I am giving you an emergency card, and a call card."
May 27th, 2007
I got my wish, I can't even believe. I keep waiting for the "just kidding Gin" or the "happy late April fool's day Ginny, here's a globe so you don't feel bad." But they are not coming.
Mom really does have a trip planned, VIA blue envelope.
The one regret I have from Aunt Peg's Trip is not keeping a diary. I think a diary would keep every memory fresher and dear to my heart. How often do you get a second chance? So, I am going to take this with me and write in it whenever I feel the urge.
I don't know how to pack, so I am packing some shorts, tanks and sandals… some jeans, t-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, and tennis shoes… and a fleece jacket, a couple thermals and one pair of boots. I would be packing way more, but mom already gave me the backpack I'm to use, and that's all I could fit in there. In the front pockets I have my hygiene products, and my call card.
This backpack was made especially by my Aunt Rhonda, so there is a special pocket designed to perfectly hold all the blue envelopes I collect. There is also a pocket that Aunt Rhonda stuck a new digital camera, a charger and a 8GB memory card in it.
My welcome home present is probably going to be a homemade picture album.
Well, I have to be at the airport at 4 in the morning, and it's 11. I should get some sleep. I still don't know where I am headed . Apparently once Mom drops me off, and leaves, then and only then may I open my first envelope.
Of course, being mom and not Aunt Peg, there is a list of rules for me to carry around. Slightly larger than a business card, and laminated.
I must follow the instructions in each letter. (Self-explanatory, and fair enough.)
No putting yourself in unnecessary danger (it is, after all, my mom; I totally expected a rule like this.)
No guidebooks or tourist guides
No language books (Little does mom know, all boys speak body language, ha ha, kidding kidding.)
Use your call card, at every new country, to check in at home. (I saw that one coming)
Have fun, be safe, make smart choices, meet good people and most of all… Remember I love you more than anything. Your gonna do fine. (I really love my mom.)
Ok, to sleep I go, if I can even fall asleep. Hey, that's what planes are for anyways. Night.