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Just a Little While Now.
The potato felt cold and slimy behind my ear. I smelled the flame as Mom struck a match, and lit the candle. The fire glowed around the tip of the needle, and Mom’s breath came out in a whoosh as she lifted it to her mouth to cool.
“I don’t know.” I said for what must have been the hundredth time, I had given up on counting.
“It will only hurt for a second, and then see how pretty you’ll look with earrings!” Mom smiled winningly, and took a step forwards. My legs were stretched out in front of me on the couch, and I held the cut potato behind my left earlobe.
“But it will hurt!” I whined.
“Only for a second.” Mom unhesitatingly crossed the distance between us, and put her hand on the side of my face.
“Now hold still. This will only take one teensy second.” Mom didn’t allow me another chance to protest as she touched the tip of the needle to my ear and pressed down.
It hurt a lot. And it hurt for longer than a second.
“I don’t want to do the other one! I don’t want to do the other one!” I struggled to my feet, and jumped through the doorway to the kitchen.
“Well fancy that. Imagine the fright you’ll look with one ear pierced, and one naked as the day it was born.” Mom rested her hands on her hips from where she sat on the couch.
“I don’t care.” I said defiantly, with a lump of ice wrapped in a dishtowel crushed to the side of my head.
“It’s just a little hurt, and then you get to wear earrings. It will only hurt for a little while now.” Mom told me. I sniffled and whipped my nose on the end of the dishtowel.
By the end of this day, I had one little white thread tied in each of my earlobes.
I hated that sound. The alarm clock buzzed into my ear, and fated the day’s morale with its grim punctuality.
“That’s the alarm clock, get up!” Mom’s voice screeched harmoniously with the high-pitched buzz. I groaned and rolled over.
“I don’t want to get up, it hurts.” I grumbled into my pillow. Mom’s mouth dove to rest just above my ear.
“It will hurt less every morning you get up at this time. Eventually you’ll think nothing of it.”
“So.” I continued my grouse.
“Just think about how much you’ll learn at the classes you’re taking.” Mom reminded me of the reason for this disruption of much needed slumber. I had signed up for a condensed course at a local college on journalism.
“But it’s so early…” The pillow underneath my face muffled my well-articulated arguments.
“It won’t take long before you’re painlessly popping up at the crack of dawn, and learning something new every day.” Mom pledged the award with unstimulating propositions. “It will only hurt for a little while now.”
I got out of bed, and went to class.
I missed my Mom every time I hit send on an email query letter. I missed my Mom every time I popped a letter addressed to a literary agent in the mailbox. I missed my Mom every time I opened an email, or lifted the seal of a letter that began with the words “Dear Author”. But it’s all right. The rejections only hurt the first few times. Once I got used to them, the reward was enough to keep me motivated. It will only hurt for a little while now.