Sue often stayed at the Green’s house when her parents had to travel. The Greens loved Sue. She was 15 and came to the Green’s for music practice every week with Mike, Steve, and Evelyn. When Sue stayed for a week the little Cape Cod was transformed. The Green’s house was normally a place for teenagers and children to come and go, but when Sue came she took visiting at the Green’s to a new level. Study groups came in, babies were dropped off for her to babysit, an occasional hamster or parakeet was looked after, and a constant flow of teenagers were in and out of the house. Sue was also a great help to Mrs. Green. She encouraged Mrs. Green to pull down the old wall paper and repaint, move the furniture in every room, plant crocus bulbs in the grass so they colored the lawn in spring, and she gave Mrs. Green tap dancing lessons. Mr. Green got used to the sound of shuffle ball change, in the mornings as Mrs. Green and Sue practiced with tap shoes in the kitchen.
Sue hadn’t always been such a pleasure to visit with. The Green’s first had Sue visit when she was 10 years old. Sue’s parents came to the Green’s when they realized they needed to to travel a few times a year. The Green’s were excited at the thought of a little girl in the house. Sue proved to be a challenge. Sue didn’t like anything. She didn’t like anyone, least of all herself. She complained about the food Mrs. Green served for dinner, she didn’t want to play games or have friends over. Sue spent a lot of time looking at fashion magazines. She spent a lot of time in front of the mirror, combing her hair and getting frustrated with herself. Sue was not unattractive, but she thought she was. Sue was miserable with herself and everyone else.
Right around this time, the Green’s adopted Ampersand from a local shelter. Ampersand did not come to the Green’s as a healthy, happy dog. Ampersand was undernourished, his eyes were two different colors of brown, he had not grown into his ears yet, and he was loosing some of his fur around all four of his ankles. Mrs. Green thought he was wonderful. Everyone else was not so sure, everyone else, except for Sue. Sue took to Ampersand right away. She fed him whenever she stayed at the Greens, she walked him, and she taught him tricks. Sue was the first person to realize how smart Ampersand was. Ampersand loved to learn. He sat and stared at Sue as if he was begging to learn something new. Sue taught Ampersand how to sit, stay, roll over, lay down, turn in a circle, and speak. Sue had discovered Ampersands gifts and Ampersand thrived because of it. He gained weight and grew and his hair filled in around his legs. People stopped commenting on his big ears and his mismatched eyes and started seeing Ampersand in a different light.
Sue started to change as well. She wasn’t as focused on herself all the time. When she worked with Ampersand she was forced to learn to ignore what other people thought of her. She told Ampersand not to worry about people starring or laughing at him when they went for walks. She told Ampersand he was handsome, and smart, and loved. It was obvious to the Green’s that Ampersand believed her. Ampersand, sat differently, he walked differently, Ampersand was growing healthy and thriving.
Then Sue began to sing for Ampersand. Sue didn’t know it but she had a lovely voice. Mrs. Green began to play the piano along with Sue. They began to write silly songs for Ampersand and Sue learned to laugh. Mrs. Green told Sue not to worry about what other people thought of her. Mrs. Green told Sue she was beautiful inside and out. Mrs. Green told Sue she was smart, and amazing and capable. Mrs. Green told Sue she was loved. Sue began to believe Mrs. Green, and she has never been the same since.
Yes, the Green’s loved it when Sue came to visit.
Copyright Terri Neagle Donaldson 2015
Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Terri Neagle Donaldson and Stressfreestories with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.