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

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The mornings after Lola stays out too late, after the last bus, so late that she has to bum a ride with a friend or scrape together change for a cab, she comes home to find her mother asleep on the kitchen table. Those are the mornings she begins to see me again. Her bedroom door is flung open with a soft thump against the wall, bruising the chip that's been there for years, and she waltzes in to see me sitting on top of the closet waiting for her.

She usually snorts when she sees me. Her eyes are misted over with that red tinge they get when she's spent a night chucking ping-pong balls into red cups just to get a wink from the rugby player she's wanted since she was 13, but she can still see me all the same. I just watch her as she tries to wrestle with her jacket, gives up, and topples onto the bed fully clothed. Her eyeliner leaves smudges on the pillowcase. “Hi, Lola.” I begin, holding my tongue.

“Go away,” she mumbles.

“Do you want me to go away?”

She lifts her head a fraction, which allows her hair to flick across the back of her neck in an unnaturally uniform fashion. It used to permanently be caught in a haze of tangles, one that I constantly brushed (or tried to) into a ponytail every day, but Lola discovered hair straighteners the same time she discovered bras, and suddenly she spent hours burning her scalp as I looked on. “Yes.”

“All right. You know how to make me.”

She narrows her eyes at me and thinks about vodka.

I return about two hours later. She's fallen asleep with a string of clear spit clinging to the pillow that reeks of someone else's sweat and a beer cooler. I yank her heels off and stack them in the wardrobe, underneath her dresses and school uniform with the “too long” hem and the “unflattering” collar. Her feet cling nakedly to the bed, bare ankles dotted with dark hairs where she's missed shaving. I pull her white duvet over her, just like old times.

A few years ago it was a Barbie duvet, a monstrous pink and fluffy hemorrhage that got feathers up my nose constantly, but she refused to sleep in any bed without it. A few years before that it had been a Peter Rabbit one, with an embroidered rabbit that she ran her fingers over as she listened to stories from her mother, who then had blonde hair instead of salt and pepper curls.

“I miss you, Teddy,” she murmurs in her sleep, and I know she's talking to me.

“I miss you too.”

“What happened?”

“You grew up.”

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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_insertnamehere_ said...
today at 2:02 pm:
This is a fantastic article, I love it. The way you described every single detail to the fullest made it so much better! Keep writing! :)
 
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