Perfect MAG

February 10, 2009
By Kelsey Hill BRONZE, State University, Arkansas
Kelsey Hill BRONZE, State University, Arkansas
2 articles 1 photo 1 comment

The eyeliner makes the dark circles less pronounced. The lip gloss hides the trembling. The ponytail conceals missing patches of hair. The Abercrombie sweater covers bruises. I might look at bit thinner, but everyone will ask about my new diet. My hair might not shine the way it used to, but the pink ribbon will distract curious eyes. One hour of preparation and I look like myself. One hour of preparation and no one will know. One hour out of 24. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it – wasting a twenty-fourth of my day on a lie. But then I see my wispy hair and baggy eyes, and I have to do it.

Checking my makeup one last time, I push my sleeves up, though not past my elbows. I slip on a cute pair of flats – heels are too dangerous with shaky legs – and grab my Hollister bag. Padding downstairs, I inhale the scent of waffles and syrup.

“Morning, Mom,” I call.

“Morning, baby,” she chirps. “Did you sleep well?”

“Better than I have been.”

She sighs, and her eyes look a hundred years old for a minute. “Any improvement is good,” she says half-heartedly.

“Of course.”

“I made waffles.” Her offering.

“Thanks, Mom. Smells delicious.” My offering.

I sit at the table and she hands me a plate. The thought of all that food turns my stomach, but I force a smile and thank my mother again. She busies herself at the sink and fills the silence with chatter. When she turns around, she takes in the waffles still on my plate, only missing a few bites. I smile apologetically.

“I’m not very hungry this morning.”

“You’ll need your strength for this afternoon.” She bites her lip. She doesn’t like to bring it up over breakfast. I eat another bite.

“I packed your lunch.”

“I’m 18, Mom. I can pack my own lunch. You have more important things to do.”

She reaches for the paper sack. “But now I know you’ll have something to eat. And you need to eat, okay? You have to keep your strength up.”

Sighing, I take the bag. I know this peanut butter and jelly sandwich won’t be eaten, not any more than the one yesterday or the day before. And even if I do eat it, I’ll just throw it up later. Anything consumed after 11 ends up in a plastic basin at 4:07. It’s just the way it works.

“Hon, have you thought about what I said the other day?” she asks.

I shrug noncommittally.

“Sweetheart, you can’t hide this forever. Eventually you’re going to miss school and people will start asking questions.”

“Mom, I have two months left of high school. I can make it ’til then. I’m class president and probably valedictorian. I was voted ‘Most popular,’ ‘Most fun to be around,’ ‘Best smile,’ and ‘Most likely to succeed.’ I’m the girl who’s got it all together. People don’t want to know that the girl who’s got it all together, doesn’t have it all together. People don’t want to know that girl is dying!”

“Honey, don’t say that. You’re not dying.”

“Yes, I am. I have cancer. You heard Dr. Morrison. I have maybe a year left. But that means I can graduate and then never see those people again. I’ll die and they’ll feel sorry for me, but at least I won’t have to endure their pity.”

“But …,” she tries to interrupt.

“Mom, listen to me. I don’t want to be the girl everyone looks at and whispers, ‘Look at her. Poor thing, she has cancer.’ I can’t handle that. I want to be normal. Just for these last two months.”

“Okay,” she whispers. “Okay. Just remember, it’s okay if you don’t have it all together. Sometimes things just fall apart and there’s nothing we can do.”

“Thanks, Mom.” I grab my bag and lunch and kiss her on the cheek. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” my mom replies. This exchange, once taken for granted, is now a vital part of every morning, every afternoon, every night. Three little words, followed by four more, have come to mean more than an entire conversation. They bridge all gaps and disagreements, because we both know there is now a finite number left.

Keys in hand, I open the door and blink in the early morning sun. My silver car waits in the driveway and as I walk toward it, I check my reflection in the tinted window. Perfect.

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This article has 823 comments.

on Feb. 4 2012 at 9:55 am
Amyelisee BRONZE, Lake Bluff, Illinois
3 articles 8 photos 118 comments
I love it!

on Feb. 4 2012 at 9:51 am
rexyness BRONZE, Belmont, Massachusetts
1 article 5 photos 4 comments
What does? The fact that the main character has cancer? Yes, that does suck. But the story itself is beauiful. Sad, but beautiful.

Hilidan SILVER said...
on Feb. 4 2012 at 3:36 am
Hilidan SILVER, Istanbul, Other
5 articles 0 photos 52 comments
Great.I give u 5/5. You described the mother's sadness very well.Keep writing.

on Feb. 4 2012 at 3:01 am
Novelist05 BRONZE, -, Other
3 articles 0 photos 29 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Live like you're going to die tomorrow and Learn like you're going to live forever"

excellent, very sentimental. I love it. Keep writing.

on Feb. 3 2012 at 11:20 am
GingerLily BRONZE, Aulnay-sur-Mauldre, Other
3 articles 6 photos 79 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world" - Oscar Wilde

I felt like crying towards the end. What a beautiful story.

on Feb. 1 2012 at 6:17 pm
I love this. Excellent attention to detail, very convincing voice (although sometimes the dialogue is a little unrealistic--just barely). It's an interesting idea, too: a girl hides her cancer diagnosis to avoid pity from her classmates. I was expecting her to have an eating disorder from the beginning, but I like that you surprised me. Keep writing.

on Feb. 1 2012 at 5:06 pm
welcometoplanetearth SILVER, Devon, Pennsylvania
9 articles 2 photos 13 comments

Favorite Quote:
There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
-W. Somerset Maugham

I can never get enough of this story. It's beautifully written and the details are amazing.

on Jan. 31 2012 at 7:38 pm
FluteWriter BRONZE, Maryville, Missouri
1 article 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Living life is like writing in pen, once you've made a mistake you can't go back and erase it..."

i like the bit about wasting 1/24th of her day...but its kind of a cliche really, good writing, but you could probably find this in almost every YA book today...

dmpizzo24 said...
on Jan. 30 2012 at 12:43 pm
dmpizzo24, Glastonbury, Connecticut
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This is a really nice story. I like the beginning, where you mention that she doesn't want to waste 1/24th of her day, and later we figure out why. The one suggestion I might have is to be a bit more subtle. She doesn't need to explain everything to her mother in perfect detail, maybe show instead of tell in certain places so that the reader can infer.

on Jan. 26 2012 at 12:56 pm
lilacandlydia, Braselton, Georgia
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"when i look at my room, i see a girl who loves books." -john green, looking for alaska

Wow...That's such a beautiful piece! I loved the ending, it was really powerful :)

Vithiya said...
on Jan. 23 2012 at 9:54 pm
Vithiya, Singapore, Alabama
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:

I love it! Its touching , sweet and beautiful. I'm happy to be alive....

on Jan. 23 2012 at 5:19 pm
Anny_Grace SILVER, Centennial, Colorado
9 articles 0 photos 22 comments
Love the ending! Most powerful part of the story.

on Jan. 21 2012 at 8:25 am
EPluribusUnum DIAMOND, Woodbine, Maryland
59 articles 24 photos 280 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head)."
-Sylvia Plath

Wow, that was beautiful!

on Jan. 19 2012 at 7:44 pm
AndSoItGoes01 GOLD, Reno, Nevada
10 articles 0 photos 149 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The winter I told you icicles are magic, you stole an enormous icicle from my neighbors shingle, and gave it to me as a gift, I kept it in my freezer for seven months. Love isn't always magic, sometimes it's melting." -Andrea Gibson

There's been more then one person being mean, so it wasn't only him. Don't feel too sorry, i mean, he did have help.

Riley79 BRONZE said...
on Jan. 19 2012 at 4:44 pm
Riley79 BRONZE, Dover, Delaware
2 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Music in the soul can be heard by the universe.”
-Lao Tzu

That was great!

on Jan. 19 2012 at 11:07 am
USERNAME1996 BRONZE, Bedforshire/ Luton, Other
1 article 0 photos 2 comments
This is a really good piece of writing! Wanted to read on, write more ;;) :)

on Jan. 18 2012 at 12:15 pm
Rocinante SILVER, Wexford, Pennsylvania
7 articles 1 photo 387 comments
I completely agree. Thank you you said that very nicely, and I'm glad that rude person got their comments removed.

Apology said...
on Jan. 18 2012 at 2:12 am
Hello Teenink. First I would like to say that I am sorry for the silly messages my sons have been posting on this website. I have been notified he has been writing extremely obscene things, and I hope that none of you have paid attention to it. Once again, I have made sure he has been punished, and this will not happen again.

on Jan. 17 2012 at 6:56 pm
__horizon133 PLATINUM, Portage, Michigan
26 articles 0 photos 232 comments

Favorite Quote:
"laugh, and the world laughs with you. laugh hysterically, and for no apparent reason, and they will leave you alone." anonymous

how did a simple short story about cancer get caught up in some sort of Neo Nazi cyber war? SarahG: thank you for sticking up for this piece. it is really well written and deep.

on Jan. 17 2012 at 6:51 pm
__horizon133 PLATINUM, Portage, Michigan
26 articles 0 photos 232 comments

Favorite Quote:
"laugh, and the world laughs with you. laugh hysterically, and for no apparent reason, and they will leave you alone." anonymous

why not get a life? this piece is a five star. any of your work available for comment?


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