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 Nov. 30 2011 at 12:01 pm
MarissaWhitecloud SILVER, Oskaloosa, Iowa
7 articles 0 photos 84 comments
I loved this article, it was great! I hope you write more.

on Nov. 30 2011 at 11:05 am
This story is WONDERFUL!! Its left me wondering what she had throughout the entire story and not once did I guess cancer. Its a somber story but it had a sweet ending.

amberrrr said...
on Nov. 30 2011 at 8:48 am
this is the sweetest story ever! it just surprised me when it said she had cancer... that was the only thing i didnt think she would have.

on Nov. 30 2011 at 8:46 am
This story is so sad! But it's REALLY good (:

ambeerrr said...
on Nov. 30 2011 at 8:45 am
ikr ! i wanna cry every time i read it !

Meredith15 said...
on Nov. 26 2011 at 8:55 pm
Meredith15, Cypress, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You must be the change you want to see in the world."
-Mahatma Gandhi

very creative and inspirational

on Nov. 22 2011 at 4:38 pm
Jappyalldayeveryday, Detroit, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 163 comments

Favorite Quote:
They say that good things take time, but really great things happen in the blink of an eye

This was really good. Lots of people write about cancer, but you have lots of talent so were able to do it well. 

byebye said...
on Nov. 19 2011 at 7:19 pm
byebye, Nevermore, Other
0 articles 0 photos 253 comments
Oh wow I didn't even notice the typo. The writing was too good for me to get distracted by little things like that.

byebye said...
on Nov. 19 2011 at 7:17 pm
byebye, Nevermore, Other
0 articles 0 photos 253 comments
I know, I assumed from the title and the throwing up part that she was probably abused and anorexic. Perhaps uninentional, I'm not sure, but there was a little twist in the plot when "cancer" was brought up, and it was great.

byebye said...
on Nov. 19 2011 at 7:14 pm
byebye, Nevermore, Other
0 articles 0 photos 253 comments

I loved what details she did put in and I have to say, adding too many more or the wrong ones (which is super easy to do) can actually ruin a story.

As it is, this story is great, and I would personally just let it be.

KingMiddie said...
on Nov. 9 2011 at 11:45 am
so much better if you spark some mids

on Nov. 8 2011 at 6:10 pm
Victoria.S BRONZE, Dallas, Texas
4 articles 0 photos 24 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Someday you will look back and know exactly why it had to happen."

You should keep writing this! It is so amazing and sad. I love the specific details that you gave, and how you ended it with a similar beggining. Keep it up!

on Nov. 8 2011 at 4:01 pm
classof20142121 GOLD, Torrington, Wyoming
12 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
You laugh because I am different ,but I laugh because you are all the same .

This  is a  amazeing  story and  i think  you should  keep  writeing  it 

Fia-fia BRONZE said...
on Nov. 8 2011 at 10:00 am
Fia-fia BRONZE, Bethesda, Maryland
4 articles 1 photo 157 comments

This is really good. It shows the part of a girl that always wants to be perfect, but also a new side, about a girl who only has a year left, and how she wants to live that last year. thank you


on Nov. 5 2011 at 10:25 pm
hawkeyegirl11 BRONZE, Knoxville, Iowa
1 article 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Everyone has a story.

Awesome! Your main character seems like someone that a lot of girls can probably relate to, not neccessarily with the cancer but just being in high school and feeling the pressure to be perfect.

Lit.rox BRONZE said...
on Oct. 30 2011 at 7:25 am
Lit.rox BRONZE, Kandy, Other
4 articles 0 photos 28 comments
wow! nice writing.ejoyed the article a lot.don't stop.

on Oct. 17 2011 at 8:31 pm
This should be a novel, is there more? I really enjoyed it--it was so captivating.

on Oct. 17 2011 at 6:22 pm
Imperfectlife SILVER, Rochester, New York
7 articles 0 photos 74 comments
Wow, it makes me sad but she's really strong and brave for herself.

HanaGZR BRONZE said...
on Oct. 17 2011 at 5:38 pm
HanaGZR BRONZE, Burr Ridge, IL, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 16 comments
Amazing! Where did you get the inspiration?

Khalida BRONZE said...
on Oct. 17 2011 at 4:03 pm
Khalida BRONZE, Quincy, Indiana
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy... and I keep it in a jar on my desk." -Stephen King

Wow.  Just wow.  It's just an amazing, captivating story.


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