Since I’ve skipped the past few Teasers, I decided I’d better post something today, even though I’m not really sure what that something is yet. It’s a bit of YA first person present I’ve been tinkering with. I sent some out to crit group this week (meep!) so I figured, what the heck? Maybe I’d be brave and post a snip on here, too! (double meep!)
Comments welcome, as always!
When I walk down the stairs, Mom’s smile is the same one she’s been wearing for the past four months—perky, wide. Strained.
Then she gives me a once over, and the smile fades. It’s not long before she’s hovering, which makes even our condo-sized kitchen feel claustrophobic, and I can see her biting her lip. She’s trying not to say anything about my new look. But I know her. Former Miss Chester County won’t be able to help herself.
Sure enough, one last graze of lasered-white teeth against perfectly applied Chanel lip-color later, she says, “Hon, are you sure that’s what you want to wear on your first day of school?”
I look down. I’m wearing a frayed t-shirt, an old pair of jeans that had probably worn out their coolness years ago, and a pair of scuffed up sneakers. Not as awful as I’d like, to be honest. I completely procrastinated on my mission to stock up on school clothes at the local discount store. But my blond hair is pulled back into a haphazard braid that makes me look about twelve, and instead of contacts, I’m wearing my ancient square glasses—the ones my brother used to tease me were only fit for one-hundred year old librarians. Or asexual men.
“Yes, this is exactly what I want to wear.”
Mom opens her mouth as if to protest, but appears to think the better of it. “Okay, hon. Just remember, everything will be fine.” She’s using that soft, soothing voice I hate, the one that says she thinks I’m a wild, injured animal that needs to be approached with extra care. And I know she’s not finished; we’ve been here before. Soothing voice is always followed by some false platitude about how I’m really such a nice girl.
Wait for it. Wait for it. “You’re a good person—whether you believe it or not.”
But she can’t hold my gaze when she says it, she never can; instead, she turns to fuss with the already perfect place setting.
We both know she’s lying.
I don’t reply, but my silence speaks volumes. I grab a single piece of toast off a plate groaning with pancakes, eggs, the works. Because it’s a universal mom fact that food will solve everything that’s wrong in the world. I sling my backpack over my shoulder.
“You have to eat more than that before your first day,” she frets.
“I’ll be fine. Thanks though,” I add, leaning down to give her a peck on the cheek. After all, it’s not her fault. “Besides, I need to get going if I’m going to walk.”
Mom frowns. “I still don’t know why you’re planning on walking. You have a perfectly good car.”
Too good—that was the problem. I didn’t want to show up for the first day at my new school in a Lexus convertible. “Haven’t you heard? Exercise is good for you.”
I try to smile, but my mouth fumbles over how to form one. It feels like decades have passed since I’ve activated those particular muscles. In reality, it’s only been a few months. “See ya later.”
Then, I walk out the door to start the mile hike to school. This year will be different. It has to be.