Anaconda This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 14, 2013
When I was a child.
I remember her ruby-red signature, the way the cosmetic would glide over her lips with a delicate point. I remember the jet-black hair that stank from being dyed, and I remember her hugging me and being too bony in all the wrong places.

I remember being chocked by the cigarette smoke. That thick, phosphorous smoke curled around me, recoiling back and threatening to strike with its dripping fangs at any moment, a hanging, unseen threat. And she hugged me tighter and tighter, and I remember feeling like I was being squeezed by an anaconda, restricting me more and more and more and more until I would finally just … ­implode.

I burst away from her grasp, gasping for air, my lungs so appreciative for the fresh oxygen.

“Mama,” I remember pleading, “don't hug me so tight.”

She laughed, a guttural, throaty chuckle, but she somehow managed to make it airy and girly by upping her pitch. “Don't worry, kid,” she said in her delicate, raspy voice, “nothing in this world is gonna be tighter.”

When I was a teenager.

I vowed to be nothing like her. I remember the screaming fights and the yelled words. I remember hating her, a washed-up nobody, and the fact that all she had given me was the remnants of her broken life. I remember knowing that I was a remnant of her broken life. I never let her hug me because I remember hating that suffocating feeling, yet she still constricted me in every way possible because neither of us could just let go.

When I was an adult.

There is nothing left for me to not be like.

“Ms. Smith?” the receptionist calls, peeking her head around the door and smiling when she sees me. I stand up nervously, tugging my blouse down. “They're ready to see you.”

I nod and hastily fumble in my purse as I walk unsteadily to the doorway. I pull out a purple tube and uncap it to reveal a bright red lipstick that I quickly glide over my lips, puckering them together when I'm done.

“Love ya, Mama,” I mumble as I take a deep breath and knock on the door.

“Ana? You can come in now.”

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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honest_iago This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 26, 2014 at 6:58 pm
Wow! That description of the mother was so poignant--I have a hard time getting her out of my head now ^_^ So well done!
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