Summer knocked on the door before she opened it to check if Camellia was in.
She was there, with her earphones plugged in, and she seemed not to have heard Summer at all. Summer stood there, just inside the door, not sure what to do. She was hesitant to disturb the younger girl.
Things hadn’t been going so well since the weekend, and Camellia had shut down even more. Summer preferred the ‘trouble-maker’ version of her sister over this quiet version?
It had only been two days, but Summer could already tell that something had changed, and not for the better. It had never been her intention to help one sister by hurting, and alienating another.
When she had gone to bed on Sunday, she had gone to bed uneasy, feeling that something had gone wrong. She didn’t know what it was then, and she hadn’t even figured it out yesterday when the results of their family ‘chat’ had proven to be far different from what she had expected.
Watching Camellia walk away from something she had fought so hard for had left her really heartbroken.
It was just a few minutes before as she had been reflecting on the day that she had realized what was wrong. It was then she had remembered just how much power her words had.
To hurt or to heal.
There was no denying that she was closer to Winter than to Camellia, but she loved all of her sisters, and never wanted to see any of them hurt.
The fact that she was the reason for that pain just broke her heart even more.
However, that was a common occurrence. Over the past few years, she had gotten used to making a mess of things and living in constant guilt. Watching her sister in pain, however, was not something she was used to.
Her sisters usually had a way of rallying together against her and all her mess-ups.
Somehow she had to figure out a way to fix this.
But then again, isn’t that what had gotten her here in the first place?
Trying to fix things?
While trying to fix things, they hadn’t been kind to Camellia on Sunday.
They had all accused her of one thing or another.
And while Summer herself hadn’t directly accused Camellia of anything, she knew that by trying to explain their financial situation to her sisters, she had implied that Camellia was part of the problem. And yes, it was true that she had lost her previous assignment trying to deal with Camellia and Autumn related issues, but she shouldn’t have said anything?
She had shown an extreme lack of wisdom when she had that conversation with a 12-year-old around. Sometimes she forgot just how young that was, and how sensitive you are at that age.
And while everyone had been given the opportunity to say what they felt, they should have shown a little more restraint when it came to Camellia.
She should have shown a little more kindness.
She had been so worried about Winter, she hadn’t stopped to think about how it might affect Camellia. At least she should have asked God for wisdom before they sat down.
If pleasant words were like honey to the soul and health to the bones, what would the opposite do? She knew from yesterday’s reading that a harsh word stirs up anger, but did critical words to a person’s soul and health?
Lord help me! And help my sister, I don’t know what to do.
She looked closer at the papers that Camellia was reading and was surprised to see that they were about the Cambridge exams.
Did she want to write her exams early?
That wouldn’t be a bad idea actually, it was something that could help her move in the direction she wanted where her intelligence would be challenged.
Putting on her big girl pants on, she stepped forward and touched Camellia’s shoulder.
“Hey, can we talk for a second?” she asked.
Camellia hesitated for a moment before she stopped her music and put her papers to the side.
“How are you doing? I didn’t get a chance to speak to you today. You okay?” Summer asked.
Camellia shrugged and answered that she was fine.
Summer didn’t know how to start the conversation. Maybe an apology was the best way to start?
“I wanted to apologize for what happened on Sunday, I never meant for you to think that you couldn’t do the research on your own. And I know that some of what I said made it seem like I was blaming you for our financial situation, but Camellia, I need you to know that I don’t blame you. Things are just difficult in the country right now, and none of it is your fault. I’m sorry if I made it seem like it was. I…I don’t even know what to say right now but that I am sorry.”
“Its fine,” Camellia said as she shrugged.
Things were definitely not fine.
“Camellia…I am really sorry we hurt you. You know we love you and didn’t mean to hurt you right?”
“Like I said, it’s fine. No worries. I am not making an issue out of anything.”
She wasn’t making an issue out of anything? What was that supposed to mean?
“I am not going to cause any problems, there is no need to worry. And you should also know you don’t have to pay for the music lessons anymore, I got it covered. In fact, here is an envelope from Simba. This is all the money from the past few years, he said he didn’t need it and had been putting it aside to give it back to me.”
Summer looked down at the envelope and acknowledged that she truly had messed things up.
Camellia wouldn’t have had to have that conversation with Simba if Summer hadn’t mentioned that she struggled with keeping up with their bills and the lessons. It was a conversation that she herself should have had with Simba, not Camellia.
She was tired.
“This is yours, he kept it for you. You can use it for whatever you want. Maybe to apply for your cambridge exams? I see you were looking at those papers, what do you need me to do to help you with that?” Summer asked.
“You are okay with me taking the exams?” Camellia asked with suspicion evident in her voice.
Summer had more than messed up.
“Ofcourse I am, well, maybe just the O’levels for this year, and then the A’levels next June. I see you have papers on both, maybe let’s do this one at a time?”
Summer hoped her suggestion wouldn’t cause more problems, but knowing Camellia, she knew her sister was trying to find a way to take them both at the same time.
Was that even possible?
When Camellia didn’t respond for a while, Summer started to feel the worry creeping in, but she knew she couldn’t say anything. She had to wait for the girl to give her opinion.
“You don’t think I can do them all at the same time?”
There it was.
“I think you can, you are that smart, but Camellia, you don’t need to do it all at the same time. One thing mom always used to say she wished for you was that you have a normal childhood. I guess that’s what I was trying to give you. I failed, obviously, but help me out here. I know, I suck, but I’m trying. Do one of them now, spent the rest of the time doing something more fun, then do the other one later.”
“Hmm,” was the only reply.
Okay then, at least she didn’t shout at me or something.
“Think about it?”Summer asked.
Camellia nodded and started fiddling with her phone.
Obviously, Summer had just overstayed her welcome.
“Okay, let me go now. If you would like some food, there is still some left. Just thought you should know. I know you said not to leave any, but old habits you know. Goodnite.”
All she got back was a nod and mumbled reply she couldn’t make out.
Closing the door behind her, Summer went into her own room and sat down on her bed. She wondered if the conversation had helped any but she couldn’t be sure.
She didn’t know how she was going to fix things, and all she could do was to give it all to God.
It was still a little strange for her to do that as she was used to doing things on her own. But she knew God could lead her in the way she should go if she would just let go and let Him.
“Hey, how did it go?” Winter asked.
“Ehh, not so good, we definitely have a problem. She is angry, but being so polite it kills me.”
“Do you think I should talk to her?”
“I mean talking things out probably wouldn’t be a bad idea but I don’t know. This is all just so complicated.”
“For what?” Summer asked grabbing her iPad pro from her bag.
“This is my fault, I am older, I should have handled this better.”
Summer shook her head and sighed.
“If you should have handled it better, then what does that say about me?” she asked. “Instead of blaming yourself about anything, I would just ask that you try to rebuild your relationship with her. Don’t let it suffer over this.”
Summer waited until Winter acknowledged her before she checked her emails. Worrying about the situation wouldn’t help anything, better she checked some of her side projects instead.
She still needed to make some money, and she needed it yesterday.
When she opened her email, she was surprised to find an email from her former boss. Her company was copied on it so she wondered what they wanted this time. She couldn’t afford to have her company let her go, and having a former client that kept raising complaints against her would not look good on her profile.
As she read the email though, she was shocked to find an apology and a request for her to consider working with them again.
When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, He will cause their enemies to make peace with them.
The Lord had taken pleasure in her? Why?
All she was doing was making a mess of things.
She noticed though that this would solve the problem of their finances. They were even offering her a pay increase.
But did she want to take the job?
She had been so miserable in that job and always tired, was it worth it?
“Can you help me with some illustrations for my stories, I know I usually make my own but I don’t have the time to do the ones for this story, and I would love to feature a different style.”
“Umm…” Summer didn’t know what to say.
She hadn’t made any art in a long time, neither digital nor traditional.
“If you can’t, it’s fine, I’ll ask Autumn or Camellia to see if either of them could do it.”
Was this another one of those wake-up call situations? Or a God thing?
She had been thinking about her art since the last conversation she had with Winter about it.
Was Winter trying to help her out again, or did she genuinely want her to work on her the illustrations for her?
“I have two new stories I am working on right now, one for my paying subscribers, and another on the free part. I obviously have to make sure the one for the paying subscribers is done in time, but I also really wanted to publish the one as well.”
“Wait, two new stories over the ones you were already working on?” Summer asked.
“Yeah, they are stories I wrote before, am just editing them, and now I need to add illustrations.”
Winter was usually good about keeping a workload that she could manage.
This was obviously about money, probably the school fees.
Could Summer say no to that? It was bad enough that her sisters were all now worried about money. Could she look away and not help if she could?
Sometimes she had to make sacrifices.
This would be one of those times.
So what if she was a little afraid to start again?
She would do it, and learn to do it well, there was no other choice.
There was no other option.