Thirteen-year-old Olivia and her 16-year-old sister Ruth are gonna jump into an RV with their aunt and uncle and take a road trip to California. Now, being in a vehicle for hundreds of hot miles might not necessarily sound like a fun time to you, but it does to Olivia. She has oh-so-many plans. Great plans, goofy plans, secret plans that she’s going to unfold along the way.
An observer would probably say that Olivia is trying to make this into the “road trip of her dreams.” That’s what her mom would say anyway. But the truth is, Olivia wants this to be the trip of her sister Ruth’s dreams. You see, Ruth has been struggling with depression over the last couple of years. Those difficult bouts—that Olivia thinks of as Ruth helplessly sliding into The Pits—have gotten more frequent and increasingly dark.
And each trip to The Pits is almost as painful for Olivia as it is debilitating for her sister. It works like that when you love somebody as much as she loves Ruth. However, Olivia is going to try and make things a little better on this cross-country jaunt. And with any luck, she might even make things incredible! Oh boy, she can’t wait!
OK, the key to it all is the fact that she and Ruth had made pretty much the exact opposite trip a little over three years ago when their whole family moved from California to Tennessee. They had so much fun they could barely stand it. They buried a treasure box of mementos, had a scavenger hunt, played imaginary pirate adventures, took all sorts of goofy snapshots and generally drove their parents crazy. And Olivia hopes to recapture that silly joy and oh-so-much more this go-round.
Olivia has her new camera slung over her shoulder, an Instagram account to memorialize the fun, and enough imagination and cool, memory-making ideas to fill up five or six trips. Now she just needs time and the best opportunity to surprise Ruth with the right gray cloud-shooing stuff.
It’ll work. At least Olivia hopes it will work. No, it must work.
She’ll do the right thing. And get that great picture. That perfect moment when Ruth is happy again.