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You've been counting stars, now you're counting on me
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October, 1999

Kimberly is nine years old, and she's crying in her room, and she doesn't exactly know why. It's career week at school, and the other kids' parents have come in to give presentations. Her grandparents do not know about this, because she neglected to give them the form about it. This is because she does not want her friends to know that she is different.

Sometimes her friends come over, and sometimes they ask her where her mom is, and Kimberly always tells them that she lives in South Dakota and comes to visit sometimes but not so much. When they ask where her father lives, she says he lives by the sea because she know it's true but she can't remember which city and doesn't like to think about it too much. He does not come to visit, but he sends her money every birthday.

It's not even that she misses them. She loves her mom, because everyone loves their moms, but she doesn't feel like she misses much by only seeing her a few times a year. Her mom is pretty and smart but not always very interested in talking. She sometimes doesn't know how to play games and she doesn't always want to know about school or the Goosebumps books. When she's around, her grandmother and grandfather are more distracted too, and when she leaves they get sad.

What hurts is that she's different, and she doesn't like that. Even if nobody in class ever says anything, even if everything is pretty good, she's not like the other kids, and that feels strange and bad.
Juliette Sargent drawn by Mimi and Ryuki
Alton Gerow drawn by Mimi
Lavender Ripley drawn by Mimi
Phillip Olivares drawn by Ryuki
Library Vee
Misty Browder drawn by Ryuki
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