“I was neck in neck with a guy who usually bullied me in camp named Chris Waters. And then I thought, Not this time, Chris.”
My name is Charlotte Elizabeth Gavigan. I am ten years old. I have a mom named Kate, a dad named Shawn, an older sister named April who is 14, a younger sister named Piper who is five, and a baby brother named Mikie who just turned one. Oh, and I can’t forget my puppy dog Beau who is a shorkie (a shi-tzu yorkie mix).
A couple weeks before the end of school, my mom signed me up for this camp called “Hearts and Horses” and I was psyched to go because I love horseback riding. I wished school would just end so I could go the week after when we went to Bridgehampton for the summer. It was also a good thing for my family because my mom and dad wanted me to get “exercise.” And horseback riding was exercise, I guess. I was hoping that I’d meet someone new because I wouldn’t get to see my best friend Haley for the entire summer except on weekends and we usually saw each other everyday. I was hoping that Hearts and Horses was actually going to be a good camp.
I couldn’t wait for the day of school to end. I was stuck in history class and I didn’t know what to do.
“…blah blah blah Franklin Delano Roosevelt blah blah blah…there was the rich and the poor blah blah blah…” said Mrs. Heffley.
I was whispering to my best friend Haley during this boring session.
“Bing!” the bell rang and everyone went running out. Some kids got pushed around because everyone was excited for summer to start. I said goodbye to Mrs. Heffley and I ran off with Haley.
We ran to my house and we planned out our secret escape so we could at least see each other a little bit, because she was going to Bridgehampton too, but not the same camp, so we’d only get to see each other on weekends and we usually saw each other every day. So we planned where we would have our secret room so we could just hang out for a while so we didn’t have to hear my dad with the TV on, and my mom reading to my little sister, and my older sister texting, blah blah blah.
“Okay, what are we going to do now?” I asked.
“Don’t know,” Haley said.
“Let’s spy on people,” we said together.
“Why do we always say things at the same time? I think we have a problem, we must be sick,” said Haley.
We both giggled and then put on black turtlenecks and black pants and tied up each other’s hair into a ponytail with black rubber bands and put black headbands on.
“Ready?” I asked.
“Ready Freddy,” Haley replied.
We went out of my room, which was a secret room, and we started spying. I heard my mom talking to my dad about Hearts & Horses, my camp.
“Are you kidding? I don’t know if a little girl like her is ready for that kind of pressure,” said Mom.
“She’ll be fine,” Dad said.
“No, she’s not ready for that kind of jumping competition. We shouldn’t let her enter,” Mom said.
“Well, we’ll talk about it at dinner with her, okay?” Dad said.
“Okay, Shawn,” Mom said.
I looked at Haley. She looked at me and we looked at Beau and Beau looked at us. And the three of us ran off into my room.
Before dinner, my mom asked if Haley’s family wanted to join us for dinner. They said yes. Then the ten of us (my family, Haley’s family including her older brother Sam, her dog Elle, and Beau) would all drive off in my family’s car and Haley’s family’s car to Bridgehampton.
At dinner, my mom said, “Okay, I need a moment for a family meeting, just with me, your father, and you, Charlotte.”
I was chewing my steak and suddenly stopped chewing it and held it in my mouth, and my eyes also widened up, when I heard “Charlotte.”
I swallowed my piece of steak and then whispered in Haley’s ear: “Say you have to go to the bathroom even though you really don’t and I’ll tell my mom and dad that I want to talk about the thing near the bathroom,” I said.
“So what you want me to do is go to the bathroom but really listen to what your parents are saying?” Haley asked.
“Exactly,” I said.
Then I stopped whispering to Haley and said, “Just telling Haley our new secret handshake. Since it’s secret, I don’t want anyone to know.”
“Okay,” said Mom. “Let’s go.”
Once we got to the bathroom, I stopped and started talking to my parents. Earlier, Haley snuck in the bathroom and I assumed she was now listening.
“Look, your father and I have been talking, and there’s this big jumping-”
“I listened,” I said. “I was spying with Haley earlier today and I heard you and Dad talking earlier and saying that I wasn’t good enough to be in the jumping competition for camp.”
This is not what I was expecting, Haley thought.
“That’s not what we were saying,” Dad said. “We just didn’t know if you could handle that much pressure.”
“What am I, five?” I said. “I can handle this! I’ve been doing horseback riding for like, a really long time! Like five years, and you think I can’t be in the jumping competition? Come on! I know how to jump with my horse. It’s not that hard, okay? Are you worried I’m going to get hurt or something? You just don’t know what it feels like because you and Mom haven’t been horseback riding for like, a really long time.”
“We just want to make sure you’re safe,” Mom said.
“I will be safe. I won’t break a leg or anything. I’ll be okay,” I yelled.
Then I stormed off to the backyard and Haley followed me, and Beau came along and so did Elle (Haley’s family brought Elle).
“Charlotte, Charlotte, hey Charlotte! Wait up,” Haley said.
When she found me, she came running with the dogs following her from behind and saw me sitting on the top of the monkey bars.
Haley said “Stay Here” to the dogs and climbed up the ladder and sat next to me.
“Well, that’s not what I was expecting,” Haley said.
“I just had to tell them that I could do the jumping competition,” I said. “But apparently they think I’m going to get hurt or I’m not ready. You’re lucky. Your parents would allow you in a tennis competition.” (What Haley did was tennis camp).
Haley and I looked at each other, both making a kind of sad face.
When we went off to Bridgehampton, I did my secret handshake with Haley and she went into her car and I went into mine. I turned on the TV which was in the car and I put in the DVD “Pretty in Pink,” and Haley got in her car and put in the DVD “Pretty in Pink” too because we both had TVs in our cars. Usually I would turn the TV off for a little bit to talk with my family and so would Haley, but this time we didn’t.
I heard my parents whispering. I didn’t know what they were whispering about.
“This isn’t like her,” Mom whispered.
“Maybe she’s tired, Amy. Relax. It was a long last day of school for a fourth grader like her,” Dad whispered.
“I guess you’re right,” Mom whispered back.
When we got to Bridgehampton at my house, I said goodbye to Haley. We did our secret handshake, and I said that I’d come to her house at 1 o’clock to talk about this entire situation. It was Friday night, and I was wrecked, so I grabbed some Oreos, put them in a cup, and went straight to my room and turned on my TV and watched “Dog with a Blog.”
When my Mom and Dad came in to kiss me goodnight, I said, “You still don’t believe in me?”
“Look, we’re sorry,” said Mom.
“Okay,” I said. “Love you.”
Since I had a late lunch, after lunch I went off to Haley’s house. I got on my bike, put my helmet on, and rode down to Dune road. I put the kickstand down so it wouldn’t fall, ran to Haley’s house and rang the doorbell. Haley opened the door.
“Hi Bestie,” she said.
“Hi Bestie,” I said.
We did our secret handshake and then she said, “Do you want a snack or anything?”
“No,” I said. “I just had a really late lunch.”
So we ran to her room and then I told her what happened last night.
“That’s a hard one,” Haley said. “I don’t know how to deal with that one.”
“What do we do?” I said.
“Let’s take a little bike ride and get some fresh air. Maybe we’ll get an idea. Omg, omg,” they said together.
So I went outside and put my helmet on and waited for Haley to get her bike out of the garage. She put her helmet on and put the kickstand up and I put the kickstand up and we both rode a little and talked.
“I think I should just give them another chance,” I said.
“I agree,” Haley said.
“It just feels awkward and I don’t know why,” I said.
So we were about to turn the corner and we saw a boy fighting with his parents.
“I’m good enough to be in the soccer championship. Why do you think I can’t do it?” the boy said.
“We don’t want you to get hurt,” said the mom.
“It’s just like you and your parents!” said Haley.
“Let’s stay and listen,” I said.
“I won’t get hurt, I’ll be okay,” said the boy. Then he ran off.
“The only reason why we don’t want to allow him in the competition is because our baby is getting older,” said the mom to the dad.
I looked at Haley and then she looked at me and we both went back to her house, biking quick.
“What are we gonna do?” Haley asked.
“Well, maybe my parents are worried because they don’t want me to get older,” I said.
Just then I heard a doorbell. I ran to the door with Haley and Haley opened the door. It was my mom.
“It’s time for dinner, sweetheart. Say goodbye to Haley,” said my mom.
“Bye Haley. Bye Mrs. Presner,” I said. I did my secret handshake with Haley and my Mom and I put on our helmets and rode our bikes back together.
On the first day of camp, I was kind of nervous but mostly excited. So when I woke up I brushed my teeth and was still thinking about why my parents wouldn’t want me to enter this jumping competition. Maybe it WAS because they didn’t want their baby to do all that. Maybe the real reason they don’t want me to enter was because they cared about their baby.
At camp, I was riding my horse that I got, Peppermilk, and I was talking to her about what my parents were talking about the jumping competition. On Friday night, since it was movie night, I didn’t have camp the next day so I told my parents that I just needed to use the bathroom for a second. I was thinking about if I should ask my parents if they were worried that their baby was getting older. When I was washing my hands I told myself that I would do it.
I went up to my mom and dad and said, “Mom, Dad, can I talk to you in private for a second?”
They said, “Sure.”
So I said, “Is the reason why you don’t want me to compete in the jumping competition because you are sad that your baby is getting older and doing something like this?”
“How did you know?” Mom said.
“I took a bike ride with Haley on Saturday when I went over to her house and we saw this boy and his parents talking about that; his parents didn’t want him to enter this soccer competition because their baby was getting older and they were sad about it.”
“The reason we didn’t want you to enter is because this is your first jumping competition and it’s a big milestone in your life. But I want you to enter. I want you to be happy,” said Mom.
“Me too,” said Dad.
“Thanks guys,” I said. “But I’ll always be your baby.”
“Thanks,” they said.
So we went back in the living room and finished the movie Pretty In Pink.
The day of the competition came and my family came and so did Haley’s family to support me. My family even brought Beau and Haley’s family even brought Elle.
“Go Chawit. Go Chawit!” said Piper and Mikie.
Even my sister April was supporting me after all those years of being mean to me. She was holding up a sign that said,”You can do it, Charlotte!”And Haley and her brother were holding up a sign that said, “Hooray Charlotte.”
I was neck in neck with a guy who usually bullied me in camp named Chris Waters. And then I thought, Not this time, Chris. And then rode Peppermilk faster and I won!
Chris’s eyes widened up and then he ran off. Everyone went and congratulated me and my parents gave me a big smile and I gave them a big smile back. I knew from the start that this was gonna be the best summer and it was.