A young woman goes off to college but she finds that she is very lonely and misses her family, so her roommate mocks her and tells everyone and they all tease the girl.
Jenny Tarling was 18 and she supposed she should be tough enough to face going away to college 2000 miles away from home. But somehow, even though going to Sarah Lawrence was her dream and she was excited to start college, she found herself missing her family terribly.
It could be that she was the baby of a family of six and the only girl, or it could be because her family was particularly close and loving. By the second day, she was sobbing on the phone, telling her mom she wanted to come home. Unfortunately for her, one girl heard her...
Jenny never expected to feel so lonely at college. | Source: Shutterstock.com
Jenny thought she was ready to be independent, but just one week after she arrived in college, she was struggling not to call home every night, begging her parents to let her come home.
She felt like a fish out of water. Everyone around her seemed to have it together, to have hit the ground running. The girls at her dorm were glamorous, fun, and out every night partying and living it up.
Jenny was the only one crying in her pillow. Unfortunately, her roommate, Zara, had caught her crying on zoom, and telling her mom she felt maybe she wasn't ready to be away from home.
It was very unfortunate because as soon as Jenny hung up the call, Zara started mocking her. "Oh my! Does baby miss mommy? Did you forget your teddy bear back in Arizona?"
After graduation, Jenny went to Sarah Lawrence College in New York State. | Source: Unsplash
Jenny wiped her cheeks and blew her nose and asked, "Don't you miss your folks? Don't you ever think about going home?"
"Never," Zara said coldly. "I've put away childish things, and so should you, little cry baby!"
It made life harder, knowing the one person she had hoped to make friends with was so unsympathetic. Worst of all was the fact that Zara had made sure that every girl in the dorm knew that Jenny cried for her mom and dad.
"I'm only 18," Jenny said indignantly. "And I've never slept even one night away from home. I think it's normal to feel a little homesick!"
Jenny's roommate Zara wasn't very supportive. | Source: Pexels
"Sure," Zara sneered. "Keep telling yourself that when you're twenty-five and still call home every night to say good night!"
Jenny blushed furiously. "I - I just call so my mom and dad won't worry..." she said.
But Zara just laughed. "Sure...You keep telling yourself it's for THEIR sake, Cry Baby!"
A family is the greatest blessing anyone can have.
Soon everyone in the dorm was calling Jenny 'Cry Baby,' and one evening, she was utterly humiliated when she went to a frat party with some of the girls and someone asked the DJ to play Janis Joplin's 'Cry Baby' and dedicated it to Jenny.
Zara mocked Jenny when she saw her crying. | Source: Pexels
Jenny ran home crying and that week she was a hair's breadth away from quitting college and running home to the loving arms of her family. But somehow, she made it through and started feeling more at home.
Then her parents called and invited her to come home for a long weekend. "And bring your roommate, Jenny!" her dad said. "I'm sending two return tickets. We'd really like to meet your closest friend!"
Jenny had never told her parents that Zara was far from friendly or supportive. She'd been too ashamed and eager to hide her complete misery from her family. Now she had to invite Zara to come home with her!
That evening, after Zara came back from the library, she broached the subject. "Listen," she said. "In two weeks we have a four-day weekend and I'm going home. What about you?"
Zara told everyone and started calling Jenny 'Cry Baby.' | Source: Pexels
"No," said Zara abruptly. "I told you I don't go home."
"Oh," Jenny said. "Well, my parents sent an extra ticket and are inviting you. But if you want to stay on campus..."
Zara was staring at Jenny, her mouth open. "They sent a ticket for ME? Why would they do that?"
"They think...I told them you were nice to me..." Jenny explained awkwardly. "So they wanted to be nice to you..."
"They must be rich!" said Zara enviously.
Jenny's parents invited Zara to visit. | Source: Unsplash
"They do alright!" said Jenny, embarrassed. "Look I'm just passing on the message..."
"What's the temperature like in Phoenix right now?" asked Zara.
Jenny grinned. "It's 70º...We have a heated pool and my brother went swimming this afternoon."
"That's it!" Zara exclaimed, looking out at the icy driving rain. "I'm coming!"
So two weeks later, Jenny and Zara boarded their plane. Jenny was more than a little anxious. She didn't want Zara to go telling tales out of school about her crying. How on earth had she gotten herself into this mess? She was going to share her precious long weekend with her beloved family with the cynical and harsh Zara!
The two girls flew to Arizona to visit Jenny's family. | Source: Pexels
They landed in Phoenix, and to Jenny's chagrin, her father and four brothers were at the airport, each with his own banner welcoming her home.
Jenny was hugged and squeezed by her dad and brothers then she turned around and said, "Guys, this is my roommate Zara!"
Jenny's dad just swept Zara up in a giant bear hug and rumbled, "Thank you for looking after my baby girl! We were so worried about her!" Jenny's dad wiped away a tear and blew his nose.
To Jenny's astonishment, the usually self-possessed and poised Zara looked at a loss. She was blushing and mumbling as if she didn't really know how to deal with her family's outpouring of affection.
Zara confessed that she had grown up in an orphanage. | Source: Unsplash
Jenny's mom was just as demonstrative and kept putting an arm around Zara and kissing her cheek. Later, upstairs in her room with Zara, Jenny said, "Look, I'm sorry about mom and dad! They can be a little too much!"
Zara was shaking her head. "It's OK," she said in an odd voice. "I...I don't mind."
"I know you're very independent, so... I mean, I know you're not keen on the whole family thing."
Zara raised her head, and Jenny was surprised to see tears in her eyes. "I don't have a family," she confessed. "I never did. I grew up in an orphanage so I guess that's why I teased you. I was jealous, you know? I could see you love them so much, and they love you. I would give anything to have that..." Zara wiped her tears away. "Look who's the cry baby now!"
Zara loved feeling part of a big family. | Source: Unsplash
But Jenny was hugging Zara. "It's OK to cry, it doesn't mean you're weak, it just means you feel. If you like, we can share my family. I need some backup -- I have FOUR brothers!"
That weekend, for the first time, Zara experienced the joy of being in the center of a loving boisterous family, and when they went back to college, she and Jenny became best friends for real -- and no one ever called her Cry Baby again.
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