How to Find Your Mom’s Stash This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

First of all, be naive. Be curious and easily swayed. Listen to your friends when they say they want to help you, even though you had no intention of looking for it on your own, even though they’re the ones who put the idea in your head. Just act like you were going to go on a big search anyway.

Button up your army jacket and lead them to your tiny ranch-style tract house in the historical part of town. Giggle along with them, mocking your mom’s drug and alcohol habits. Tell of her strange activities, and embellish the stories a bit. Chuckle slightly while telling the tale about the catnip in the cabinet and how you were never allowed to feed it to the cat, letting them assume it was a stash. Don’t tell them that the reason was because the cat was big and mean and bit your tiny hands whenever you tried.

Grab your boyfriend’s hand and hope that he can see that you’re actually scared. Hope that he knows you well enough after these three months to see that this worries you and that most drug use makes you uneasy. Don’t act standoffish or hurt when he shows no sign of understanding. If you show him you care, it won’t be a treasure hunt anymore. If it’s not a treasure hunt, they’ll lose interest. As long as you’re friendly, they’ll continue to make jokes and the truth of how scary this is will never have to meet your eyes.

Don’t let them know how straight-edge you really are. Don’t tell them that deep down, the word f--k still offends you. Don’t say that you were oblivious to your mom’s drug use until they came around. If you do, they’re going to think you’re an idiot, and as far as this group goes, that’s the beginning of the end. All the respect they have for you will be gone and that means going back to how you were before. Sitting at home with your mom and sister on Saturday nights unaware of what other kids your age are doing, and no way of getting out there to find out.

That is the last thing you want. You’ve spent so many years longing to know what it is to be a teenager, and while your definition has changed over the last few months, you’ve finally made it. Your new definition involves the word angst and replaces a letter jacket with a camouflage one. It means trading rehearsals for the school musical for a drug search you never before thought was necessary. Having obtained this new sense of self, you are not willing to give it up. At least these friends seem to enjoy this version of you.

When you get to the police station, jaywalk across Canterbury Lane and cut through the open field. Try not to look at your feet; it will only get you thinking about snakes. If you’re caught staring at the grass and watching your combat boots too closely, Jessica will give her customary commentary and there’s the possibility you’ll be laughed at.

The best course of action is to remain quiet but to listen closely. Laugh at their jokes but make few of your own, speak only if you have something worthwhile to say. That is probably the most important thing. Be one hundred percent positive that what you have to say is worth saying.

You’ll reach your tiny abode just after the field. If your mother knew that you had friends with you, she wouldn’t be happy. She thinks your friends are pyromaniacs and drug addicts. She’s not far off, you know.

Lead them to the bedroom down the hall, the one across from yours. As you pass, shut your door. It’s messy in there. You have Simpsons sheets on your bed, which the mob recently decided to be foolish. You agreed, if only to avoid conflict. Your arguments aren’t worth stating. You won’t win.

In your mother’s room, have them look in all the usual places. The closet, the TV stand. Take the bedside table yourself. The chances are too good that embarrassing things are in there, and your mother is already the butt of jokes. While you’ve been hurt by your mother a lot recently, you still feel as if they’re hurting you when they say things about her. If this happens, just think of how she screamed at you about your calorie counting and said you were stupid. Remember specifically how she refused to take you to a counselor. Remember how she said you should manage it on your own. Remember you were only 13. The feeling will subside.

Sam will look under the bed and call you over. Giggle slightly at the pot that everyone knew was there. Don’t show so much shock at the cocaine. Just look nervous, but strong. Everyone else will look unsure. Act as if you knew somehow. Note that you really had no idea and you wouldn’t have recognized it if Sam hadn’t said what it was.

After you find it, send them home. They won’t be very supportive, but they’ll try to pretend. They’re all too confused to be genuine. Kiss your boyfriend good-bye, and when you shut the door behind all of them, burst into tears. But certainly not until then.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 41 comments. Post your own now!

keep breathing said...
Dec. 2, 2010 at 2:14 pm
this poem is the most moving ive ever red
Macx14 said...
Sept. 18, 2010 at 3:39 pm
So moving, LOVED IT!!
sometimes This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 8:19 pm
Whoa. This was sooooo good.
coly33 said...
Aug. 5, 2010 at 1:55 pm

aww thats sooo sad :(

so were the freinds just helping her mom cause at first i thought they were going to do drugs but i somehow i didnt think that would happen in the begining of the story but now i understand it it was very good and interested me


courteycat said...
Jul. 14, 2010 at 11:46 pm
I love the way you wrote this. I love it. Its very well-written and true. KEEP WRITING!
sailorchick said...
Jun. 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm
i like how you right with you as the subject thats really cool
MoonlightAngelx0 said...
May 31, 2010 at 9:03 pm
Absolutly loved it!
Patrice B. said...
May 9, 2010 at 10:56 pm
It's all so real...Everyone must feel these things at one point. Keep your amazing, true style going, keep writing, I loved this!(:
coldnightswarmfights This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 17, 2010 at 10:28 pm
Beautiful. Utterly devastating for some reason. My eyes certainly watered up towards the end. You're very good at putting the reader within your character's head. Very nice usage of second-person perspective.
horse95lover said...
Apr. 17, 2010 at 9:55 am
This story is amazing, beautiful and so much more. This is more than the usual story of conformity. Great job!
Allessandrea-Rukia said...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 4:40 pm
I really like this. it is written very well, i like the style and flow. when i read the title i was really unsure but after reading the piece i really tihnk that the title is perfect :)
George said...
Feb. 8, 2010 at 1:21 pm
thats really sad
ChowD This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 6:44 pm
nice sarcasm!
LeilaniLives said...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 5:52 pm
I absolutely loved this piece. It was genuine and addicting in its flow. Beautiful job.
blinking.and.breathing said...
Jul. 27, 2009 at 4:22 am
I love how the style of writing is so precise- to the point where it's almost distracting (key word: almost).... but in the end, all it all comes together... the situation explains and pulls everything together in a beautiful and sad way. Thank you.
fruity2can said...
Jul. 27, 2009 at 1:01 am
wow! great writing, I totally loved it. It was so true and honest. You really have a talent, you wrote like how people think all day long. I felt like I was in the looking glass of someone's mind when I read this. And that is so hard to put that concept into words on paper.keep it up! And if this story is true, bless you and I can totally relate, I have drastic simalarities to the family problems/friends issue. and if it's not then you're just as amazing of a writer then I thought, that... (more »)
trmpetzetc. said...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 9:18 pm
I don't know if this story is true or not. But if it is, please don't lose hope. There is hope out there. Jesus, the Son of God, loves you so very much.He even died for you. You may already know this, but if you don't, please do everything you can to find out more about Him. May God bless you in all you do. And keep writing- you have a great gift.
Abigail_W said...
Jul. 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm
Oh, this is so sad and beautiful! I do hope it doesn't have a hint of truth in it, and isn't it awful how we have to be some careful around our friends like that? I think I only have one friend that I don't have to be cautious around and not have to hope I say just the right thing.
Haley G. said...
Jun. 17, 2009 at 9:38 pm
sad. sad but true. im sure this is a tender place for so many children. i do hope to read more of your writting
BreeLynne27 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 25, 2009 at 4:33 am
This piece is beautiful. This is only the second story I've actually read all the way through. Keep writing!!
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