"Lost who?" Tibby asked, looking up from the mess.
"Myself." Bee bounced one heel against a closed drawer.
Tibby stood. She abandoned her mess. Gingerly she backed toward her bed and sat down, keeping an eye on Bee. This was a rare mood. Month after month Carmen had subtly tried to pry introspection out of Bee, but it hadn't come. Lena had been maternal and sympathetic, but Bee hadn't wanted to talk. Tibby knew this was important.
Although Tibby was the least physical of the group, she wished Bee were sitting next to her. And yet she knew intuitively that Bee was sitting on her bureau for a reason. She didn't want to be sitting on a low, soft place within easy range of comfort. She also knew that Bee had chosen Tibby for this conversation because as much as Tibby loved her, she would listen without overwhelming her.
"How do you mean?"
"I think about the person I used to be, and she seems so far away. She walked fast, I walk slow. She stayed up late and got up early, I sleep. I feel like if she gets any farther away, I won't be connected to her at all anymore."
Tibby's desire to go closer to Bee was so strong she had to clamp her elbows against her legs to make them stay put. Bee's arms were wrapped around her body, containing her.
"Do you want ... to stay connected to her?" Tibby's words were slow and quiet, seeming to make their way to Bridget one at a time.
Bee had made every effort to change herself this year.
Tibby quietly suspected she knew the reason. Bee couldn't outrun her troubles, so she'd entered her own version of the witness protection program. Tibby knew how it was to lose someone you loved. And she also knew how tempting it was to cast off that sad, ruined part of yourself like a sweater you'd outgrown.
Excerpted from The Second Summer of the Sisterhood byAnn Brashares Copyright© 2003 by Ann Brashares. Excerpted by permission of Delacorte Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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