Thursday, March 20, 2014

Time to Let Go

By Lurlene McDaniel. Published 1990.

It’s been about a year since Amy died, and her family is trying to move on. But Erin is having debilitating headaches, that aren’t exactly migraines. They’ve done every test imaginable, but can’t find a cause. So Erin’s parents are having her go to a counselor, to see if that helps. Erin is really having none of that shit, even though she realizes she doesn’t have much choice.

Erin’s family is kind of falling apart. Her parents are either working or arguing with each other. It sounds like they’re the ones who really need counseling.

So Erin is auditioning for West Side Story. Of course she’s auditioning for Maria. But she’s not a singer, you say? Don’t worry, her friend Shara is doing the singing for Maria. In fact, most of the lead roles will have separate singers. What the actual fuck is this?

The first guy who reads for Tony with her is named David, and Erin is a little bitchy with him. He’s a bit messy, and he’s not straight up gorgeous. And he calls her beautiful. That bastard. Shara says he read the best for Tony, though.

Of course, they get the lead roles. Erin is more willing to open up during counseling, because she doesn’t want the headaches to get in the way of the play.

Erin runs into Beth, whom she had met at the hospital. Beth’s mom is doing okay, but not great, after her kidney transplant. Erin is relieved that after seeing her, a reminder of Amy, that she doesn’t get a headache.

She does get one after getting caught up in a prank of David’s at rehearsal. She keeps seeing a pratfall he does run through her mind, and she’s sure David is connected to the headache.

Erin tries to get David fired from the show, but her teacher is having none of it, unless she has a really good reason. She tells her to act professional, and asks her to do some special rehearsals with him. At said rehearsal, David kisses her when he’s not supposed to, saying his lips slipped. To try to make her like him, he makes Erin a balloon animal, and all of a sudden, Erin realizes where she knows him from. He was the other clown when Erin took over Amy’s job.

Erin counselor wants her to start group therapy as well, but Erin says no. She’s about ready to give up therapy altogether.

Shara drags Erin out with a bunch of people after rehearsal, and it goes okay at first. She even smiles at some things David says. But then he mistakenly says “brain dead”, and she freaks the hell out and runs away.

David runs after her, and comforts her while she cries. This seems to break down a wall for Erin. She agrees to go with him to his job the next day.  They go to a kid’s party, and she meets David’s little sister, Jody. Jody, and all the kids at the party, are deaf.

Afterwards, David tries to get Erin to go into McDonalds with him, still in his clown costume. He says if she does, he’ll be her best friend. She freaks out, because Amy used to say that to her.

After some urging from Shara, Erin asks David to a school dance. Of course, he accepts. Then she gets a headache.

After getting in trouble for missing a few appointments, Erin goes back to counseling. There, she finally makes the connection that Amy was a lot like David,

It’s the night of the dance, and David embarrasses Erin by dressing weird, and doing magic tricks. Everyone else loves him, though.

At the after party, Erin starts getting upset again, with David reminding her of Amy. But he comforts her again, and they talk. Then Erin realizes she’s actually angry with Amy, for leaving her all alone.

Erin goes to a meeting of the support group, and she does like being around other kids who understand. But she feels a headache coming on afterwards.

They have their shows of West Side Story, and after the last performance, Erin tells David she doesn’t want to start anything she can’t finish, like dating him.

Erin has been hanging out with Beth, so when she calls to say her mom is going in for another transplant operation, Erin runs to be at her side. But the hospital makes her have memories of Amy, so she calls David, and he comes right over. He does tricks to keep Beth’s family entertained. The operation goes well, then David and Erin leave. David can tell she has a headache coming on, so he offers to drive her home. It starts to rain hard, so David pulls her under a covered walkway, and kisses her.

Finally, Erin’s parents go in with her to a counseling session. Erin finally lets out the guilt she’s had about letting Amy drive that night, and how difficult she finds it trying to live for both herself and Amy. Dr. Richardson also points out to Erin’s parents that the strain of trying to keep the family together is the cause of Erin’s headaches. She suggests individual and family therapy for them all.

Dr. Richardson suggested Erin go through Amy’s things. She does so, and it’s therapeutic for her. She is finally able to say goodbye to Amy.

Erin decides to put on the clown makeup and costume one more time. She goes to surprise David at the Special Olympics, where he’s entertaining and Jody is competing. During all their time together, Erin never told him a bout when they really met, so he’s very surprised indeed. But he’s happy to see her. They catch up, and she tells him she’ll be starting the year at a junior college, but then when she’s better, she’ll be transferring to the same school he’s going to. So she can start something she can finish. Or not.

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