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

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   I'm slipping into my new dress for the upcoming awards ceremony. I love this dress (it's a beautiful thing), full and white with flowers embroidered across the white lace pinafore. I slide my feet into the spotless, stiff new lavender shoes and begin to feel like a princess. My first pair of high heels! I must really be growing up. I realize my mother would probably like to see me in my pretty new dress. I rush into the living room to show her.

The warm, late afternoon sun slants through the living room window and lands on the shape of my mother, slumped down on the floor in a heap in front of the couch. Her legs are twisted beneath her in a most unnatural way. I almost burst into tears of panic as I run over to her to see if she's okay. I know I am too small to help her up myself. Worse yet, this time she's had an accident on the red living-room rug. I suddenly get the feeling that no matter how hard this is for me, it is mortifying for her. I must remain calm. She doesn't seem hurt, but is badly shaken. I lean down and wrap my arms around her neck. She looks at me with tears in her eyes and sobs "I'm so weak ... I'm sorry." I have absolutely no idea how to reply.

"I think I can pull myself up now," she says, "Please wait outside while I ... take care of things. I really wish you hadn't had to see this." I nod slowly and trudge out to the garage.

As soon as the fresh air hits my face, I break into the hot, messy tears I'd been saving.

I remember my dad will be dropping off my brothers soon. I'll have to keep them outside. They'll demand to know why; what will I tell them? I become very angry. I shouldn't have to deal with this alone.

As I wander around the garage, fretting, my new dress is getting smeared with black grease and grime, but I couldn't care less now. I suddenly feel like I'm dressed in a frilly sweet cream puff that a three-year-old would pick out. And, heels or not, my purple shoes look babyish. I feel so old. c


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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