Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Girl, Grown Up

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
She sits there, in the room she’s lived in for eighteen years, ten months, and twenty four days, on the squashy mattress that smells like comfort and a satin comforter that is worn but still good. She sighs, looking at the wad of one dollar bills in her hand, wishing she’d made more money at her part-time witnessing job. Some bills are crinkled and ripped, other crisper and new, but with creases in the center from being folded in half for so long.

She looks at herself, at her thighs that have gotten bigger with the passing months, even though she swore she would lose weight right after high school and have one of those magical transformations that takes place right before you go to college- a college she’d never even applied for, except maybe in her head. She looks at the hem of her ratty shirt. It’s the same shirt she’s worn for the last week, every day she’s come home from work. An oversized T-shirt from some vacation of her childhood. It was huge when she first got it, a bright pink, and it fit her like a dress. She used to curl her skinny arms and legs up underneath it and make a tent for herself. It was still big, but her shape was definable underneath it. It was stained with sweat, makeup, cigarette smoke, and marijuana.

She thought about the bills she would have to pay later that week, later that month. And she thought about the month after. Nothing would be different. She would still be working at the same restaurant she’d been telling her friends and family she wanted to leave. Because she was looking for a better job. Even though she wasn’t.

She laid back on her bed, feeling her body stretch with as much flexibility as a bend of plywood. That was another thing she had to get used to. Having sore muscles and bones that creaked when she moved. Once she was in one position and her joints and limbs had settled into a sedimentary delta of comfort, she let her mind wander again. And it did.
It took off like an hawk released from captivity.

A blur of pictures rushed passed her head. Her mom and dad loving each other, fighting, divorcing, and then hating each other. A best friend who never left her side, and then several other friends who’d been rotated out over the years. A boy who had been one of those people, but who meant so much more… Even now. A boy with a smile like cotton candy and eyes that reminded her of the word ‘vivid’ every time she looked into them. A boy who she fell in love with, who she pined after for months, and who she ultimately gave up on that he would ever return her affection. A cigarette lit for the first time, a feeling of rushing dizziness that left her vibrating from head to toe… Something that became addicting. A new friend, with slanted eyes and shiny black hair and a personality people gravitated towards who liked to smoke pot and flirt with boys. Who made her feel like a somebody when she was around.

Then, her mind took a sharp turn, the hawk of her imagination flying straight for a sky-tornado of bad memories. The winds in her head picked up, throwing still-shots at her faster than lightning. An innocent girl, smiling and reading and laughing and thinking she would be American’s Next Top Model, turned into a sad ghost of the former. Uncontrollable crying. Picking at her wrists with a small knife. Yelling horrible things at her mother for leaving the family. Medication that made her a zombie. Money that slowly ran out when the recession hit. A girl who used her MP3 to tune out the world, even during school, which made her fail classes. A best friend who got cancer and moved away. A girl who never loved herself enough, and who instead loved others too much, too fast, and for too long. A girl who had the passion of a sun inside her, who could spin words together and make them sound like music, who used to know her path and how she would get there… A dad who loved her dearly, but who grew more and more distant with each passing month, like an island in the middle of a sea that you tried to keep your eye on as you sailed away in a ship. She saw tears, enough to fill a lake. Screams, scars, blood, broken promises, abandoned relationships, neglected diaries, ripped up clothes, oily hair, yellow skin, purple bruises under vacant eyes.

A million different pictures that were apart of a hurricane that sent her brain the same message- life.

She opened her eyes in shock, and in turn got a blinding glare from her ceiling fan. Everything stopped. Literally. It was as if the world froze for a moment, except she was alive and moving. Thinking. Realizing.

This was a moment in her life, and she was no longer a child. There were a million different children who would grow up and have a million different stories. It was a test of time that was tried and true by every living person on the planet, from the boy who would grow up and be a famous baseball player to the old lady who had seven kids and worked at the local grocery store. She wasn’t the only one. In that, she felt comforted and insignificant, the second simply because she was not as special as her self-complex made her seem, as individualistic and unique as her own brain would make her believe.

But also comforted, because if so many others had done it, made it through adulthood, then so could she. And she would. Growing up never stopped, and going from a ‘kid’ to a ‘grown up’ could not be defined by a solid line. There was no tangible marker, no ‘stop, pass, proceed to the next level’ deal. It was a journey, as beaten and as difficult as any other. But it was something that had to be done, and she would do it with as much of herself as possible. She would do it. She could do it.

She was a grown up, after all.



Join the Discussion


This article has 1 comment. Post your own!

dm1723 said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 8:23 pm:
This is a really nice story. I like the idea and the way you put it 2 words. Just a few grammatical errors here and there. Nothing much. Please comment on mine. Tnx!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback