Authors: Melody Carlson
color me lonely
an imprint of NavPress
© 2004 by Carlson Management Co., Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without written permission from NavPress, P.O. Box 35001, Colorado Springs, CO 80935.
TH1NK Books is an imprint of NavPress. TH1NK is a registered trademark of NavPress. Absence of ® in connection with marks of NavPress or other parties does not indicate an absence of registration of those marks.
Cover design by David Carlson Design
Cover image by Image Source
Creative Team: Jay Howver, Erin Healy, Darla Hightower, Pat Miller
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents, and dialogues are products of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Published in association with the literary agency of Sara A. Fortenberry.
Scripture taken from the
New King James Version.
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Dark blue : color me lonely, a novel / by Melody Carlson.-- 1st ed.
p. cm. -- (True colors ; bk. 1)
Summary: Two sophomore girls, best friends since kindergarten, grow apart when one wants new friends and decides the other is a popularity liability.
[1. Best friends--Fiction. 2. Friendship--Fiction. 3. High
schools--Fiction. 4. Schools--Fiction. 5. Christian life--Fiction.] I.
Printed in Canada
4 5 6 7 8 9 10 / 08 07 06 05
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Other Books by Melody Carlson
Diary of a Teenage Girl
Degrees of Guilt
Looking for Cassandra Jane
To Kimi Hamilton and Allie Nemeth,
thanks for sharing your ideas with me.
TO BE MY BEST FRIEND
OW SHE MAKES ME
sick. Just hearing her name called out in first period English or seeing her flitting down the hall with her lame new friends makes me want to hurl. Really!
And comments like, “Oh, Jordan, I totally love your hair today,” or, “Hey, Jordan, that outfit is really hot,” actually make me want to hit something. I mean
, these are the exact same girls Jordan and I
to make fun of. Behind their backs anyway—it’s not like we were ignorant. At least I’m not. I can’t speak for Jordan—not anymore.
Not that I ever did speak for Jordan. No, she’s always been perfectly capable of doing that herself. The sorry truth is, whether I liked it or not, she often spoke for me too. I guess it all started way back in kindergarten. My parents had recently divorced and I thought their problems were all my fault. As a result I think I was feeling pretty insecure and probably scared too. I didn’t want to talk to anyone and made a point of hanging out on the sidelines and keeping my little mouth shut. But one day our kindergarten teacher Miss March asked, “Who wants to play with the puppet theater next?” And even though I was dying to put my hand inside of that plump pink Miss Piggy puppet, I couldn’t utter a single word. I
nearly fell over when this tiny blonde girl wearing a mint-green My Little Pony sweatshirt walked over and took me by the hand.
“Kara Hendricks and I want to do the puppets now,” she said in this great big voice that totally contradicted her size. Jordan was the smallest girl in the class back then. Even now she’s barely five feet tall in her socks. But how she actually knew, at the age of five, not only my first but also my last name was a complete mystery to me. So naturally I didn’t argue with her. I even managed to find my voice once I was safely behind the puppet theater curtain and my hand was tucked into the bright-green Kermit the Frog puppet. Naturally, Jordan wanted Miss Piggy for herself. And who was I to question the girl who helped me step outside of myself for a change? Not having Miss Piggy seemed a pretty small sacrifice.
After that, Jordan did most of the talking for both of us, especially during that first year. Oh, I would talk to her, but only in this quiet mousy voice. Then she would speak to the teacher or a classmate or whoever until my wants and needs were perfectly clear. It’s like I was the hand puppet and she was the puppeteer. Still, her outgoing personality made life much easier for me.
Fortunately, I did get better at speaking, over time. But I’ve never been what you might call an assertive or even confident person. And I would never in a million years want to speak in public on purpose. Jordan, on the other hand, loved her speech class last year and even joined the debate team, and she was only a freshman! But I don’t get it. I mean why would anyone willingly put themselves into a position where they have to speak in front of an audience
argue about something? How whacked out is that?
Still, I admit that I admired her for it. I thought she was the bravest and coolest person I knew. And throughout our freshman year in high school, just last year, I was totally thankful that I had
Jordan Ferguson to share a locker, walk down the halls, eat lunch, and just basically hang with. She was like my security blanket. Well, that and a lot more.
I suppose that’s why losing her like this is so freaking crappy. Not that I’ll ever admit
. Not to her or anyone else in this moronic school. As it is, my life already sucks. I don’t need anyone’s stupid pity to add to my stinking pile of misery. Besides, I do a pretty good job of feeling sorry for myself.
“What’s up with you and Jordan?” my teenybopper sister asked the other day. “How come she never comes ’round here anymore?”
miss Jordan. She thinks Jordan’s the coolest thing next to (gag me) Britney Spears. Just the same, I rolled my eyes at her and said, “Probably because you’re such a total stink bomb. Poor Jordan just couldn’t take your smell anymore.”
Of course, this led to a rip-snorting argument about hygiene and fashion and a bunch of other things Bree and I don’t quite agree on. Turned out to be a good distraction—Bree hasn’t mentioned Jordan’s absence since. Still, I’m sure she privately wonders. You’d think my mom might wonder too, but as usual she’s so into her own world that she is totally clueless about mine. So what’s new?
But I guess I sort of wish my mom would ask me about it. Now tell me that’s not weird, since I usually don’t want to talk (I mean
to my mom about anything besides lunch money or whose turn it is to clean the kitchen. I guess that just shows how completely desperate I am.
I sort of feel like I’m drowning here, and I just keep wishing that someone—anyone—would toss me a life preserver, or even a rope . . . maybe to hang myself with. Because I really need someone to talk to. The pathetic thing is, the only person I’ve ever poured my heart out to before, the only one who’s ever listened or attempted to
give me answers, the only one who knew how to make me feel better, just doesn’t give a rip.
As furious as I am with Jordan, and as much as I can’t stand the very sight of her, I still miss her friendship more than I imagined possible, and I think I’d do almost anything to get her back. As lame as it sounds, even to me, there’s a great big gaping hole in my life right now. And I feel more alone than ever.
Not to mention scared.
AST FALL, AT THE BEGINNING OF OUR FRESHMAN YEAR
announced that she was going to try out for cheerleading.
“Have you totally lost your mind?” I asked her.
“No, I think it’d be fun.”
“Oh, sure. Wearing one of those stupid dinky outfits that make your thighs look fat, standing in front of the entire school, and letting someone drop you on your head. Big-time fun!”
“Oh, Kara, you’re such a killjoy. You need to learn to lighten up a little.” Then she got that look, that I-have-a-plan-for-your-life kind of look. “And to that end, I have decided that you should try out with me.”
“Okay, Jordan, now I
you’ve lost it.” I studied this girl who’d been my best friend for the best part of eight years. I say “the best part” because we did experience one major fallout during fourth grade when I called her “shrimp bait” while shooting hoops with some boys I wanted to impress (including Joshua Horsinger, the boy Jordan had a major crush on at the time). Anyway, she was so embarrassed and furious that she didn’t forgive me for two whole weeks. The most miserable two weeks of my entire life. Well, up until now. And it wasn’t like I didn’t immediately apologize either. I wrote her about a hundred “I’m sorry” notes and gave her my most
valuable Beanie Baby (Magic, the beautiful iridescent dragon). And I bought her a giant box of her favorite movie candy, Milk Duds, and finally got down on my knees in front of God and everyone on the blacktop of the Fairview Elementary playground and begged her to forgive me. Thankfully, she did.
But as I stood there that crisp autumn day last year, actually considering what it was that she was asking me to do, which was to stand before hundreds of cynical kids, mostly older than me and probably just hoping that someone like me would make a total fool of herself . . . well, suddenly my lifelong buddy seemed like a complete and somewhat frightening stranger to me.
“Jordan, you know I’d never be able to do that,” I told her. “I’d totally freak. It’d be a complete disaster. You’ve got to be kidding.
She folded her arms across her chest and just shook her head.
“No way.” I stood firm.
“Come on, Kara,” she pleaded. “Please. I don’t want to do this alone.”
“I just can’t, Jordan.” I sighed, feeling a bit sick to my stomach just thinking of what she was asking me. “I’d honestly rather strip down to my underwear, put a paper bag over my head, and run screaming through a pep assembly.”
“Really?” She looked hopeful. “Then how about doing
“This is ridiculous, Jordan. You know there’s no way on earth that I can do something like this.”
She frowned. “Yeah, I was afraid you’d say that.” Then she shrugged. “I guess I’ll just have to go solo.”
Now I just stared at her. “No. Way.”
“Way. That’s what I’m gonna do.”
“Are you serious?”
Now she made her pouty face. “Yeah, since my very best friend has left me no choice, I guess I’ll just have to do it all by myself. All by my little lonesome.”
For the first time that I can remember, Jordan’s guilt trip didn’t work on me. As bad as I hated to disappoint my best friend, I knew there was absolutely no way, short of a lobotomy, that I could do this thing. Now I wouldn’t exactly say I have a real honest-to-goodness social phobia that requires medication for me to function properly, but I think it’s probably close. I’m pretty sure that I am one of the shiest girls at Jackson High. Without Jordan bolstering my confidence all these years, I would’ve probably just disappeared into the background long ago. But even though I owed Jordan big-time, I knew there was absolutely no way I could go through cheerleading tryouts without humiliating both of us. I think I honestly believed that my refusal to participate might discourage her enough to give up this totally lame idea. Unfortunately, it did not.
So being a good friend, I accompanied her to the gym to sign up for tryouts, and then I even waited in the bleachers while she and about thirty other giggling girls learned these stupid cheers and dorky routines. And being a good friend, I even helped her practice those stupid cheers and dorky routines. And I even gave her some pretty useful critique too, like how it might look better if she held her fingers tightly together, slightly cupped. I’d seen other cheerleaders doing that. But when the big day came, Jordan Ferguson was
picked to be a cheerleader.