Limos and Manicures

March 19, 2008
By Tiffany Taylor, Wichita, KS

How can she just sit there, typing on her laptop, listening to her iPod, talking on her phone? I wonder what is truly important to her. She rarely eats, focused on maintaining that perfect body for prom, and she spends at least 2 hours on the phone nightly gossiping with her friends about those extremely important pre-prom rituals. I hope she enjoys her $300 prom dress, her manicure and hairstyle, and her dinner that night, not to mention the limo and the after-party she throws.

Right after school 3 times a week she gets into her sporty little car her parents bought her on her 16th birthday. She texts while she drives to the tanning salon. Every weekend means another party or concert, and her entire summer is spent with a fruity drink in her hand beside a pool. I sure hope she’s enjoying every second of this. I wonder if she ever thinks about us. Last week when there was a commercial on TV about us, she scoffed and turned the channel. Can she really be that heartless? Is she numb or does she just not care?

I have almost stopped asking these questions, it is apparent she has entirely forgotten there is world outside her cell phone. Besides, I don’t have time to think, I have to feed my sisters. I hate that disease. It murdered my parents and is slowly killing me and two of my sisters as well. My youngest sister escaped the curse, and almost every night I wake in a cold sweat. How will she survive after I am gone? I must find food, even if it is only a tiny amount. My sisters have stopped complaining from the hunger, but instead search through the trash in the dump where we live. I know it gnaws at their stomachs night and day, for I feel the same way. They never manage to find much. People here don’t throw good food away.

I had dreams, once. It wouldn’t take much to make them come true. Dreams of a little shelter to sleep in at night instead of shivering under a piece of cardboard. Dreams of a tiny plot of land where I could grow food. Dreams of clothing, of a school. But that’s all they are, just dreams. I’m 9 years old now and I know better. There’s no way out. Nobody cares, anyhow. Especially not her.

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