was in a mood. All she could see was change. All anybody talked about was
change. She didnt like Bees wearing heels for the second day in a row. She
felt peevish about Lenas getting three inches trimmed off her hair. Couldnt
everybody just leave everything alone for a few minutes?
Tibby was a slow adjuster. In preschool, her teachers had said she had trouble with transitions. Tibby preferred looking backward for information rather than forward. As far as she was concerned, shed take a nursery school report card over a fortune-teller any day of the week. It was the cheapest and best self-analysis around.
Tibby saw Gildas through these same eyes. It was changing. Its glory days of the late nineteen eighties were far behind it. It was showing its age. The once-shiny wood floor was scratched and dull. One of the mirror panels was cracked. The mats looked as old as Tibby, and theyd been cleaned much less. Gildas was trying to get with the times, offering kickboxing and yoga, according to the big chalkboard, but it didnt look to Tibby like that was helping much. What if it went out of business? What a horrible thought. Maybe Tibby should buy a subscription of classes here? No, that would be weird, wouldnt it?
Tibby, you ready? Lena was looking at her with concerned eyebrows.
What if Gildas closes? Tibby opened her mouth, and that was what came out.
Carmen, holding the Traveling Pants, Lena, lighting the candles, Bee, fussing with the dimmer switches near the door, all turned to her.
Look at this place. Tibby gestured around. I mean, who comes here?
Lena was puzzled. I dont know. Somebody. Women. Yoga people.
Yoga people? Carmen asked.
I dont know, Lena said again, laughing.
Tibby was the one most capable of emotional detachment, but tonight it all lay right on the surface. Her irrational thoughts about Gildas made her feel desperate, like its demise could swallow up their whole existencelike a change in the present could wipe out the past. The past felt fragile to her. But the past was set, right? It couldnt be changed. Why did she feel such a need to protect it?
I think its Pants time, Carmen said. The snacks were out. The candles were lit. The egregiously bad dance music played.
Tibby wasnt sure she wanted it to be Pants time yet. She was having enough trouble maintaining control. She was scared of them noticing what all this meant.
Too late. Out of Carmens arms came the artifacts of their ritual. The Pants, slowly unfolding from their winter compression, seeming to gain strength as they mixed with the special air of Gildas. Carmen laid them on the ground, and on top of them the manifesto, written on that first night two years before, describing the rules of wearing them. Silently they formed their circle, studying the inscriptions and embroidery that chronicled their summer lives.
Tonight we say good-bye to high school, and bye to Bee for a while, Carmen said in her ceremonial voice. We say hello to summer, and hello to the Traveling Pants.
Her voice grew less ceremonial. Tonight we are not worrying about good-bye to each other. Were saving that for the beach at the end of the summer. Thats the deal, right?
Tibby felt like kissing Carmen. Brave as she was, even Carmen was daunted by the implications of looking ahead.
Thats the deal, Tibby agreed heartily.
The last weekend of the summer had already become sacred in their minds. Sacred and feared. The Morgans owned a house right on the beach in Rehoboth. They had offered it to Carmen for that final weekend, in part, Carmen suspected, because they had gotten an au pair from Denmark and felt guilty about not hiring Carmen to babysit this summer as she had done the summer before.
Excerpted from Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares Copyright © 2005 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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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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