CORY SLUMPED ON the shaded bench at the school’s front entrance, hoping to avoid the rest of the girls leaving for the cross-country team tryouts. Leaning back deeper into the shadows, she watched the stream of girls jog down the hill, turn onto the road, and disappear. She’d intended to run with them, to try to make the team, but . . .
Why was it still so hot in September? Not at all like back home in Massachusetts. Home. It had only been three weeks since school had started, eight since her family had moved to Maryland. Except Dad. He had left her mom, Roni, and Cory knew her mom would sooner wear white shoes after Labor Day than be known as “the abandoned wife” among her friends back home in Wellesley.
Things would be different if she were still going to school in Wellesley. Cory recalled it was the start of the school season in Massachusetts when women removed their hot pink toenail polish, packed away the Nantucket wicker pocketbooks, and pulled out chests of mothball-infused woolen sweaters. In other words, in the fall. Here in Maryland school started in August.
A group of girls passed by, their rubber flip-flops flapping against heels, bare legs under short shorts. Cory tucked her legs under the bench. When she picked out the new shoes at the store she thought they looked great. Now she wasn’t so sure. She realized she stood out, and maybe not in a good way.
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