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~Payphone, Maroon 5

Thursday, May 10th. welcome to the island. You've just docked on to the island with 20 other girls. so make sure you check into your treehouse and mingle. You may even run into Jessica puma herself if your lucky.

Dear Mother and Father,

I'm writing to you from Hatata! I just arrived an hour ago. I'll email you when I can and I'll be sure to take lots of pictures too. Thanks for everything. See you in the fall! 

xx Little Byrd 

Hatata is so different from Canada. First off, where I'm from, it's really cold. So naturally I had packed a few coats, sweaters, and cardigans. Of course I knew Hatata was going to be warm, but I assumed every place on Earth is subject to some cooler days. I had been wearing a thick sweater because the airplane was air-conditioned and cool. Well the minute I stepped foot on this island, I peeled off my sweater and put my sunglasses on. 

I realized I was one of the latest to arrive. Everyone else was already packed and some people looked like they had even made friends. I made my way across the docking shore, which was breathtakingly beautiful. It reminded me of all those gorgeous postcards my friends used to send me when I was younger. Only now, I wasn't merely holding the postcard in my hand. I was standing in it. Living in it. It took me a minute or so to grasp it before I could find my treehouse. 

Everyone's treehouse looked the same. That didn't matter because I was just psyched about the idea of living in a treehouse. The only thing that differentiated the treehouses were the doormats. Mine had my favorite quote on it, "You say that you love rain, but you open your umbrella when it rains. You say that you love the sun, but you find a shadow spot when the sun shines. You say that you love the wind, but you close your windows when wind blows. This is why I am afraid, you say that you love me too." from William Shakespeare. The treehouses have hot water showers, personal coffee machines, electricity, kitchenette, and a semi-private deck. It's even better than my room back home. Though I do admit it might get a little scary at night, especially since it's one person per treehouse. All alone. At night. Outside. I tried to think about it too much. I guess I'm not much of an adventurous girl--yet. 

I had heard some girls talking about Jessica Puma and how they were so afraid of running into her. Why would anyone be afraid of her, I wondered. She founded this place out of the desire to help people reach their goals. I just so happened to walk into her on accident on the sky walk (there are no sidewalks that lead to the facilities and treehouses). 

"Don't hunch your back, Zoe." I heard an unfamiliar voice and I looked up to see Jessica Puma herself in front of me. Had I really just bumped into her? Where was my mind? I hadn't been paying attention. My cheeks turned the color of tomatoes. What was even /more/ embarrassing was that I was a dancer and a dancer like me is supposed to have perfect posture all the time! 

"Sorry, I--I just...." I tried to think of an excuse. "It's kind of hard to walk on this bridge. I'm used to level--"

"Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, and in fearing future. Please don't complain. I can assure you that complaining will not help you reach your goals." She smiled coldly at me, but what she was saying sounded more like an insult than something nice. 

I stepped back a little. "But I wasn't trying to complain. How is my posture going to help me reach my goals? I know I'm a dancer but it's not like I walk like this all the time. I'm sorry." 

"Goals are goals, no matter how big, no matter how small. You may be thinking of your long-term goals. But here at Hatata Island, we focus on all goals. A goal is a goal and we are going to help you reach it." 

I wanted to leave right then. She was probably trying to be nice but she didn't know that my confidence was shattering. I don't take criticism very well. I could sense the tears coming. Before I could help it, I was crying. I was crying! I was such a baby. I couldn't look Jessica in the eyes anymore. 

"What goal am I trying to reach right now, you may ask?" she continued, a smug smile on her face. "Well you're trying to prove yourself to me. You're standing in front of me, your appearance speaks for you. If you're standing tall and smiling, you'll appear more likable. So right now, you are working on your reputation. You are always working toward a goal. Every girl here at Hatata will learn to be goal-oriented at all times. I hope you enjoy your stay, Zoe Byrd."

I tried to make myself like her. I forced myself to try to accept her "words of wisdom". I tried to see the good in her. But she was too cold. How could a woman like her create this place? I thought she was supposed to be nice, motherly figure. My expectations were too high. She was just another person who had grown bitter as she aged. 

Instead of going out and mingling with the girls in an effort to make some friends, I found myself walking back to my treehouse. Slouching, with a hunched back the whole way. 

The weather's warm here, but the people aren't. 

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