Perfect | Teen Ink

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 836 comments.


on Jul. 29 2012 at 11:18 am
ladybugsrock SILVER, Billings, Montana
6 articles 0 photos 45 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wow! This is a great story! I liked how the reader felt the emotions going on as well as the main character! Great Job!

Niti-M BRONZE said...
on Jul. 28 2012 at 9:21 am
Niti-M BRONZE, Mumbai (Matunga), Other
2 articles 1 photo 23 comments
so sad but brilliant.

on Jul. 15 2012 at 6:27 pm
primepower BRONZE, North Andover, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Come he slow or come he fast it is but death that comes at last."-Sir Walter Scott "Ideas are bulletproof."- Alan Moore "I believe in Metphors. Metaphors are real." -Elliot S! Maggin "Are you the dreamer or just a part of someone else's dream?"

This is really great!

I swear to God I was about to write a piece like this soon...


GaelicC said...
on Jul. 13 2012 at 8:23 am
GaelicC, Longford, Other
0 articles 0 photos 91 comments

Favorite Quote:
No -Rosa Parks

Really liked this. It reminds me of my sisters keeper. So sad but beautiful.

on Jul. 6 2012 at 12:31 pm
PhoenixCrossing GOLD, Tinley Park, Illinois
14 articles 0 photos 178 comments
Very beautiful. Please write more!

on Jun. 5 2012 at 7:29 am
wow...heartbreaking and beautiful!

on Jun. 3 2012 at 11:11 am
brookemister101 GOLD, Hohenwald, Tennessee
16 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
There are as many religions in the world as there are people

Wow. I loved it. Af first I thought it was about an eating disorder, so I was shocked about the cancer part. It was an awesome piece, although sad.

on Jun. 2 2012 at 11:40 am
JulieKate SILVER, Niceville, Florida
6 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The brain is wider than the sky."--Emily Dickinson.

So powerful! 

on Jun. 2 2012 at 11:40 am
JulieKate SILVER, Niceville, Florida
6 articles 0 photos 16 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The brain is wider than the sky."--Emily Dickinson.

So powerful! 

StillYoung said...
on Jun. 1 2012 at 9:25 am
StillYoung, Cavan, Other
0 articles 0 photos 5 comments

Favorite Quote:
be who you want to be, not who others expect you to be.

Yeah I also thought it was about bulima as well, excellent piece though :) you should actually do a piece on like anorexia or bulima, you're really good at taking on the role of the character it seems, really well written :)

on May. 31 2012 at 1:13 am
Kenziemcm13 PLATINUM, Rutherfordton, North Carolina
36 articles 5 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
A simple story can tell an entire story!~~ ME
Pictures tell a 1000 words~IDK :P

Loved it!! Your a really great writer! Could you read some of my poems and see what you think I would be honored if you would!

ShadowRealms said...
on May. 24 2012 at 4:33 pm
I honestly thought she was bulemic at the beginning, but now I see why. Its an amazing article but it is incredibly sad D:

SchWag said...
on May. 24 2012 at 2:31 pm
SchWag, SCREWSTTOONN(:, Texas
0 articles 1 photo 6 comments

Favorite Quote:
God First, Broo(:

Yeahhh!!!(::::::

on May. 24 2012 at 7:39 am
mindless_dreaming BRONZE, Wyckoff, New Jersey
1 article 0 photos 43 comments

Favorite Quote:
"May make my heart as a millstone, set my face as a flint, Cheat and be cheated, and die: who knows? We are ashes and we are dust." -Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 'Maud'

This is so good but so sad:(

bluhs said...
on May. 19 2012 at 8:24 pm
bluhs, E, Alabama
0 articles 0 photos 111 comments
Wow...Wow...Wow. That's all I've got.

akstory GOLD said...
on May. 14 2012 at 6:01 pm
akstory GOLD, West Palm Beach, Florida
11 articles 3 photos 19 comments

Favorite Quote:
It is our choices . . . that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.
~ J. K. Rowling

This story is so great! So suspenseful and emotional.  And very relatable even if it is necessarily a very common situation.  Good job! :) 

on May. 11 2012 at 7:35 pm
_ella_herondale BRONZE, San Diego, California
4 articles 2 photos 222 comments

Favorite Quote:
"...If the Thames that ran beside them...recalled a night where the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on the same boy and girl... and thought to themselves, 'at last, the wheel comes full circle,' they kept their silence."

This was vbeautiful. I love your writing.

Hifriends said...
on May. 10 2012 at 2:44 pm
Hifriends, K, Maryland
0 articles 0 photos 7 comments
This is my third time reading your story, so I don't think any additional compliment is necessary!

on May. 8 2012 at 5:38 pm
Number_One_Mommy GOLD, Springfield, Oregon
10 articles 14 photos 80 comments

Favorite Quote:
" Your Only Out Of The Game, When You Take Yourself Out!"
-My Daddy

I really Like the way that you describe Your Character and how she is "perfect" but how it is really all a lie. it reminds me of how i used to be. Hiding what and who i really was with the make-up and clothes. Hoping that no one would know the change. You are amzing and i absolutly LOVE this piece. :)

on Apr. 25 2012 at 3:01 pm
Claire_baller PLATINUM, Platteville, Wisconsin
40 articles 0 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have left.
I Don't need easy, I just need possible.
10% luck 20% skill 15% concentrated power of will 5% pleasure 15% game and 100% reason to remember the name!

You probly hear this a lot, obviously becuase you have sooo many comments but that was truely beautiful and amazing!