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Blah Blah Blah MAG
When my mom speaks, it’s not my fault that all I hear is “blah blah blah.”
Because that is what she’s saying.
“I’m going out,” I say, and she looks at me in a sad way, shaking her head in confusion; I don’t think she understands me. I wonder why I bother announcing these things.
I slide across the floorboards of the entryway onto the porch. Rod is already waiting for me. I push aside the oleander-white sneakers on the shoe rack for the black, moth-eaten ones hidden behind them. Their soles are
so thin I can feel the texture of the ground. There’s a hole near the back. For some reason, this seems to bother Rod more than me. Once, I tried wearing the new white sneakers, but he stopped me, “You’ve always worn the other ones,” he said.
Rod has been acting distant lately. He knows I’m turning 18 tomorrow, but he treats me as if I were dying. He is a year younger.
“Blah blah,” Mom shouts to me, and I smile and wave as though I am listening. This appears to comfort her.
Rod and I walk across the street in the middle of the road where two crosswalks straddle us about half a block away on either side. A few drivers honk. I know one of them - so does Rod. His name is Collin, and he went to our high school last year. He doesn’t talk to us anymore.
“This way,” Rod says. He wants to go to the liquor store for a blue-raspberry slushy. I follow behind him, even though I know the way.
The man who owns the store doesn’t like us, so I don’t enjoy staying there for long. He hates everyone our age. I stare at a sticker on his shirt that says, “Hello, my name is:” with a sloppily written “Todd” beneath, while Rod grabs the drinks. Todd has a beard that’s long and black. It hangs so low that it brushes the buttons of the register when he rings us up.
Rod takes a sip from his blue-raspberry and hands me my white-cherry.
“Blah blah blah blah,” Todd says. He wants money for the slushies, so I hand him a few dollars. He grumbles and gives us our change. Rod and I walk out of the store.
“Good Morning, birthday girl,” Mom says as she wakes me.
“Morning,” I reply. She smiles.
I stumble downstairs where everyone is waiting for me, and I suddenly feel self-conscious in my Felix the Cat pajamas. No one is in the mood for breakfast just yet. They didn’t come here to eat. I notice that none of my school friends bothered to come; not that I really expected them to. I allow myself to wallow in this for a moment - before I notice that Rod is there. He is holding a box wrapped in gold paper. I smile, and he approaches me sheepishly.
“Thanks,” I say.
He lets the box go quickly, and I can’t tell whether he is handing it to me or if he intends it to drop on the floor. I catch it.
“Don’t worry about it,” I tell him - just to make him feel better.
Rod starts talking excitedly and his expression bothers me, although I can’t say why.
I scrunch my face, like I used to when my mom talked to me. I feel like my balance is suddenly off-center. Rob’s repeating the same thing over and over, but I can no longer understand him.
“Blah blah blah,” he says, and for a moment, I think he might cry.
My parents take him by the arm and shepherd him from the room