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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am 12 years old and I have a boyfriend, "Zak." Since it's summer, we don't communicate with each other as much as usual. Most people would think we'd be more in touch, but since we're both on vacation, we haven't been. I always text his phone, but most of the time I never get an answer back. Or he'll text, "I'm busy, I'll text you later," or "Sorry, can't talk. I'll call you later." But he never does.

Not long ago, I talked to Zak on the phone for a short time and he said he'd call back the next day around noon. He never called at all that day. Sometimes I don't hear from him for days on end.

Do you think I'm overreacting? Do you think he thinks I'm annoying? Maybe he feels I'm obsessing over him, I'm pretty sure if he wanted to end our relationship he would just come out and say it, but do you think he really does but doesn't want to hurt me? Help, Abby! -- CRAZY ABOUT HIM IN ARKANSAS

DEAR CRAZY: Zak appears to be a normal adolescent boy who has many interests -- and possibly parents who keep him busy. That would account for his not calling you later or returning your texts.

Rather than worrying about why he's not performing up to your expectations, you should develop some other interests and activities so you won't have so much time to worry about Zak. That way you'll appear less needy, clingy and insecure, and you'll be more attractive and interesting to be around once school starts again.

And one more thing: Think positive! Dwelling on the negative will only make you feel more unhappy and insecure than you're feeling right now.

DEAR ABBY: Last fall, a horrible car accident claimed the life of a young local man. A roadside memorial of wreaths and memorabilia was erected. Since then, no one has tended the site, and the elements have take their toll on it. The offerings look like litter now. Would it be appropriate to remove the battered items? Or would a respectful cleanup of the site be in poor taste? -- PASSERBY IN MAINE

DEAR PASSERBY: Roadside memorials are usually placed there by the family or friends of the deceased, who also tend to them. They are sometimes removed by street cleaning or highway maintenance crews when they have reached the stage you have described. A report made to the city or state department that's in charge of maintaining the road would be better than attempting to do the job on your own, and also safer.

DEAR ABBY: My sister is an alcoholic and prescription drug abuser who causes a scene at every family gathering. There will be an important family event soon, and we don't want to invite her for fear she'll ruin it by showing up drunk or high. My mother is mad and says it's not right to ostracize my sister, and if she's not invited, my mother will not attend, either. What should we do? -- NO DRAMA, PLEASE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR NO DRAMA: You have two choices. Invite your sister with the clear understanding that if she shows up drunk or high, your mother will remove her from the premises and see she gets safely home. Or, refuse to give in to your mother's blackmail and tell her that if she chooses not to come, all of you will miss her. Period.

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