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 824 comments.


on Apr. 27 2016 at 7:44 am
ysanjana757 BRONZE, Chesterfield , New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
Great job writing this story! You have a lot of talent as a writer! It was very emotional and touching.

on Apr. 26 2016 at 8:00 am
LiveLaughSmile,
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Great Job! The story is written professionally and sparked a feeling of sorrow, in my heart, for the poor girl that is dying.

on Apr. 13 2016 at 9:54 pm
Luckystar78 ELITE, London, Other
114 articles 0 photos 97 comments

Favorite Quote:
"..though warm as summer it was fresh as spring." (Thomas Hardy) ("Far from the Madding crowd")

This is harrowing, sad, and gorgeously detailed. The style is emotive without being mawkish, gifting it with sensitive realism. You have real talent as a writer!

lizzyyyyyyyy said...
on Apr. 7 2016 at 7:09 pm
I love this story and I can tell you are a good writer. There is a lot of good description and I like how you can touch the reader.

on Apr. 2 2016 at 3:51 pm
Writergirl009 BRONZE, Hudson, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 13 comments
This is so amazing. Very thought provoking. Keep on writing, obviously you are very good at it.

EmmyZ said...
on Mar. 30 2016 at 9:48 am
EmmyZ, Grandville, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
I really liked your descriptions and the emotion in this piece

KaitlinRoze said...
on Mar. 30 2016 at 8:46 am
KaitlinRoze, Grandville, Michigan
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
Love this story very good description

dpurdy said...
on Mar. 23 2016 at 12:59 pm
dpurdy, Craryville Ny, New York
0 articles 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
always love yourself no matter what.

i love this story

why.not BRONZE said...
on Mar. 2 2016 at 6:17 pm
why.not BRONZE, Troy, Michigan
2 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
You know who's gonna get you exactly where you want to be?
You.

Absolutely phenomenal. Keep it up!

on Feb. 8 2016 at 8:08 pm
socialkaysualty PLATINUM, Dover, Delaware
25 articles 0 photos 39 comments

Favorite Quote:
Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes,
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.

And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair —
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin —
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.

For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.



So how should I presume?

And I have known the eyes already, known them all—
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?



And how should I presume?

And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.



And should I then presume?



And how should I begin?

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ...

I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head



Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;



That is not it, at all.”

And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:



“That is not it at all,



That is not what I meant, at all.”

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

I absolutely love this. It spoke to me so much. You have such an amazing talent!

on Feb. 5 2016 at 8:56 pm
KayeIsWriting SILVER, Oxford, Alabama
9 articles 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!" - Franklin Roosevelt

My heart just like...

DaniaZie GOLD said...
on Jan. 31 2016 at 3:45 am
DaniaZie GOLD, Shah Alam, Selangor, Other
13 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"And remember one thing, the second day is always better than the first"
- Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day

"Wrists are for bracelets, not cutting"
- Kellin Quinn, Sleeping With Sirens

This is absolutely amazing! It's so beautiful. Keep up the good work!

CianaB GOLD said...
on Jan. 27 2016 at 6:15 pm
CianaB GOLD, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
12 articles 0 photos 34 comments
This is one of the most touching stories I have ever read on Teen Ink. I absolutely love this. Please keep writing more pieces like this. I will love all of them.

on Jan. 10 2016 at 4:08 am
Sedgecomb BRONZE, Santa Barbara, California
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.” -Virginia Woolf

Very beautiful! You deserve all the credit you've gotten with this. Nicely done!

on Nov. 13 2015 at 7:40 pm
jason.writes BRONZE, Macon, Georgia
2 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
Bitterness is like cancer; it eats and feeds upon the host until there is nothing left. Anger is like fire; it burns everything clean.

Beautiful, and it gave me a unique view point on something I had never thought if before,

on Nov. 6 2015 at 11:54 am
alaylanorthern BRONZE, Rosedale, Louisiana
1 article 0 photos 3 comments
this was the realest I have ever read because from the suspense, to the sadness, to the realness of the whole poem it was amazing. From the beginning to the end, it was well detailed and an amazing insight compared to someone’s life. “The eyeliner makes the dark circles less pronounced. The lip-gloss hides the trembling. The ponytail conceals missing patches of hair”.

markelly said...
on Nov. 5 2015 at 8:40 am
markelly,
0 articles 0 photos 3 comments
The phrase “The eyeliner makes the dark circles less pronounced. The lip gloss hides the trembling.” is a heart fulfilling line and relate to me for various reasons. I too, a young teenage girl, wears make up to hide my flaws that no one else may see. I wear make up to make myself feel better knowing I’m not the happiest when I look in the mirror without it. Those lines are very touching to me because I understand how it feels to want to change your appearance and take more than an hour to do it.

markorea said...
on Oct. 30 2015 at 2:54 am
markorea,
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
beautiful :)

MADDO SILVER said...
on Oct. 27 2015 at 2:36 am
MADDO SILVER, MUMBAI, Other
7 articles 0 photos 37 comments
Beautiful....:)

KyraSapphire said...
on Oct. 18 2015 at 1:29 pm
KyraSapphire, Fort Worth, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 17 comments
9/10. This is an amazing story. You obviously put a lot of time and effort into i. I wish that I could write this well.




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