February 23, 2012
While sitting outside the Stop n’ Shop about a week before Christmas you begin to notice things. You notice the father holding his little daughter’s hand as she skips to an invisible rhythm. Giggling, the girl is oblivious to him as he yells into a cell phone, presumably at his wife. You only understand half the conversation, but you can tell the husband forgot something. Men have no attention to detail, thus they forget. It’s always the wife who remembers when she tries to save herself from the ridicule of the family and neighbors, the people she is eternally trying to appease.

You notice the middle aged women with heavy gobs of make-up suffocating her face as she drives in front of you and looks for a parking spot. She swears loudly enough to be heard behind closed windows as a teenager in a neon vest pushes half a dozen shopping carts in front of her car. He is startled and stares, confused as the woman screams and curses. The little girl, still walking towards the door stops to turn around at the loud noises with a curious expression. You want to cover the little girl’s ears. The girl doesn’t need to see and hear how ugly the world is so soon. You see the teenager finally push the carts away and the woman flips him off spectacularly in a final bout of anger. She speeds off.

You notice a Salvation Army volunteer standing in front of the exit door. He is older, maybe sixty. You notice his jovial disposition as he rings his bell and chats to customers. He has some kind of disease you can’t remember the name for; his arm is attached to one of those crutches polio victims use. You know that the old man isn’t being kind. He just wants the money. Still, you want to put some of the bills you got as change for a ten in his bucket but nervousness stays your feet. The man starts to chat with you as well. He tells you about the weather (“Terrible, isn’t it?”), his family (“I have a granddaughter just your age!”) and who has been giving what for the last four hours (“You see this twenty-something girl gave me the funniest look when I wished her a Merry Christmas. Absolutely the funniest. And she wouldn’t even give anything!”). He asks if you boyfriend is late. Startled, you glance at him, eyes widened, and say you don’t have one. You resume your position, leaning against the graffiti-covered and slightly sticky wall, more annoyed than ever. This man has the gall to presume that you, of all people would have a boyfriend. Boyfriends aren’t a luxury - or curse, you aren’t sure which - that you are endowed to have.

You notice the tiny girl as she exits the store, still skipping, clutching her father. He is no longer on his phone, but has a bag full of produce. You want to be like that little girl again; everybody does. She is happy because it is almost Christmas. Christmas means tasty food, family and no school. Most of all presents. She knows she will get everything she has asked for.

You can’t remember the last time you were excited about a gift like she is now. All that your relatives know about you is that you read but have no idea which type of book to get you. So they give you notebooks. Write down your thoughts in them, they say. Better yet, write your own story.

They sicken you. You know they are too lazy to ask what you want so for four, five, six year you have gotten notebooks. Notebooks and monogrammed pens. Notebooks with cutesy stickers. Even the notebooks you can get for less than a dollar at Staples somehow end up in your stocking. Notebooks fill your bookshelves. And your mother will make you write thank you cards for every notebook you get. Thanks for the notebook, it reads. I love the pattern and I write everything in it. It must be the best present I’ve ever gotten. Really, you feel like burning it. They could’ve asked, and you would’ve said you like science fiction books. Math and science lesson books for a grade level above your own. Political commentary books and modern culture books and philosophy books.

You lost all faith in humanity once you started getting notebooks for Christmas. Everything is hopeless once they give you white walls because they don’t bother asking your favorite color. They want you to paint them yourself.

Join the Discussion

This article has 10 comments. Post your own now!

SN3RD said...
Mar. 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm

I can so relate to the pains of growing older! My advice to you is hint at it if you ever are hoping for a change.


aurum_angel replied...
Mar. 8, 2012 at 3:07 pm

Is this about my comment on your piece or my piece?

Either way, thanks for commenting!

futurenovelist1577 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm
Whoa! I really enjoyed this! I was totally into the whole story, and you have inspired me to use 2cd person the next time i write! Keep it up! 
aurum_angel replied...
Mar. 7, 2012 at 7:49 pm
Thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
FluteFreak said...
Mar. 5, 2012 at 10:17 am
I love the fact that you used 2nd person. It really did make the story more personal. Your descriptions literally brought the scene to life. Great job!
aurum_angel replied...
Mar. 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm
Thanks so much for commenting! I really love getting feedback!
Artemisia said...
Mar. 4, 2012 at 10:32 am
That was awesome! You really got me engrossed in the story: I forgot what was going on around me while I was reading it. Great job on this! :)
aurum_angel replied...
Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm
Thanks Artemisia!
Writer_Jordan said...
Mar. 1, 2012 at 3:14 pm
Wow! I can't get enough of this viewpoint! Very descriptive, well done
aurum_angel replied...
Mar. 1, 2012 at 5:14 pm
Thanks! I really appreciate it! I'm glad someone liked my first piece on Teen Ink!
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