Elle will survive this summer teen tour the same way that she's survived most of high school. She’ll ignore everyone, build a photography portfolio for college, and hide her generalized anxiety disorder, including her obsession with Worst Possible Outcomes: icebreakers, bed bugs, myopic bus driver, lost meds, Mary Todd Lincoln’s ghost, anxiety attack on the National Mall.
What she doesn’t predict is making friends, or falling for the cute girl across the bus aisle. When her new friendships and artistic goals collide, Elle must choose between staying behind the camera or leaning into the vulnerability that comes with true friendship.
Logic tells me this dinner won’t kill me. Anxiety tells me otherwise. Anxiety tells me a lot of things.
Mom notices that I’ve been ripping at the skin around my fingernails and slaps my hand. “Elle, don’t pick.”
We wait for the pager to buzz surrounded by parents juggling toddlers and middle-aged couples hoping to reenergize their sex lives by consuming obscene amounts of artichoke dip, a known aphrodisiac. We’re at one of those Italian chain restaurants where they claim you’re family and then overcharge you for the ziti.
Dad’s girlfriend Heather Grace—Cleveland’s most beloved weather forecaster—strolls through the door, her local fame causing several heads to turn. Mom’s eyes bug out before she zips up her emotions, as is her custom. Mom and I will never win an award for our communication, but we enter a rare state of telepathy, a series of raised eyebrows and squints and shrugged shoulders that, if verbalized, would sound something like this:
Mom: Why didn’t you warn me?
Me: I didn’t know.
Mom: Of course, you did.
Me: White to eat pasta?
Mom: She only wears white.
Me: So weird.
Heather Grace apologizes for her tardiness. “There’s fog in the forecast.”