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

January 13, 2012
My mother trusted me when I told her I didn’t smoke, even after she found a pack of cigarettes in my desk drawer. I didn’t trust her when she said that the only reason she was going through my desk was to find some tape.

She didn’t get mad when I broke my second contact lens in six weeks. She didn’t even question me when I told her I borrowed her favorite white sweater and spilled red nail polish on it. My mother just smiled her usual, lop-sided smile and forgave me. But, it took me two weeks before I forgave her for not buying the certain brand of wheat bread that I liked. I also found it unforgivable when she made me listen to her hillbilly rock music station, when we could have been listening to Depeche Mode. I’m still convinced that she made me wear a helmet to all those ice skating parties when I was six just to make me look like a fool. I’ll never forget the way people crowded around me asking why I was wearing a helmet. I would just tell them the truth: my mother made me.

For all these year I’ve been wishing my mother didn’t do all the things she did. That was before I met Valerie. It was her first summer at camp, while it was everyone else’s sixth. Her hair was blonde with black roots and she had a scar that ran across her forehead.

At night, everyone would sit in a circle and talk about everything. We would share anecdotes about boys, our parents and our friends. I told my famous story of how I tried to dye my hair blonde, but my mother wouldn’t let me because she didn’t want me to become “fake.” Everyone giggled at my exaggerated story except for Valerie. She just ran her fingers through her bleached hair and smiled. When it was time for her story, she began to rub the scar on her forehead nervously. I couldn’t take it any longer; I just had to ask where she got that scar. I blurted out my question and I was returned with a deep stare from Valerie’s brown eyes.

“I was ice skating and....”

I didn’t even hear the end of her story. I just smiled to myself as I remembered those ice skating parties. Everyone would give me such harsh looks as tears ran down my face. I also remembered staring in the mirror at my boring brown hair, listening to my mother tell me, “At least you’re not ‘fake.’”

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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