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.

willie SILVER said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 7:47 am
willie SILVER, Ventnor, New Jersey
9 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
is it worth it

yes it is

this was the best story ever nice job.

keep it up. :)

on Dec. 4 2009 at 7:45 am
-alice- PLATINUM, Colorado Springs, Colorado
21 articles 0 photos 81 comments

Favorite Quote:
I care very little if I am judged by you or any other human court; indeed I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. -1 Corinthians 4:3-4

Wow, at first I thought the girl had an eating disorder but then... wow!

on Nov. 27 2009 at 8:41 pm
SerenityMine BRONZE, Not Saying, California
2 articles 0 photos 156 comments
This was amazingly well written. Great job.

on Nov. 20 2009 at 11:55 am
lightbearer GOLD, North Bloomfield, Ohio
15 articles 0 photos 19 comments
this is amazing! i have try to write sad, but who can compete with that. well done!

on Nov. 19 2009 at 8:09 pm
firstsnowfalls DIAMOND, Marcellus, New York
51 articles 6 photos 105 comments
i LOVE this! awesome awesome job! you are a great writer: it is simple and concise, but moving!

on Nov. 12 2009 at 9:18 pm
BleedingRose PLATINUM, Frederic, Wisconsin
33 articles 1 photo 378 comments

Favorite Quote:
*The darkness holds infinite possibilities.


Simple and beautiful yet thorough and sad. I loved it, and cancer or not, most do feel the need to look and be perfect. Love the story, keep writing! :-)

on Nov. 12 2009 at 7:59 pm
OfMiceAndAngel PLATINUM, Westminster, Colorado
25 articles 7 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
You have so many options in life. Never make giving up one of them. ♥

Wow! Im so speechless its not even funny! That was beautiful in a sad way! If I knew you, id give you a high five! Amazing!

on Nov. 12 2009 at 6:43 pm
oops, i accidentally clicked the 'new comment' button instead of the 'reply' button. Just goes to show... uh, me.

aaaaaaaaaaaaany way, what i meant to say was that you probably would have spelled 'emotion' correctly.

on Nov. 12 2009 at 6:37 pm
except you probably would have spelled 'emotion' correctly...!

on Nov. 12 2009 at 6:00 pm
4everluvjc BRONZE, Plantation, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
nothing is impossible with God! Try him and you'll see :)

wow...that's all I can say...just perfect!

on Nov. 12 2009 at 4:01 pm
Wow you inspire me to write better and I loved this, its not very long but it says so much about the story! Thank you!

XoLaUrEnOx7 said...
on Nov. 12 2009 at 2:45 pm
this story, even though it was short, was amazing. i loved how you used a struggle some ppl r going thru, and used an abercrombie sweater and eyeliner to hide the girl from herself. :) two thumbs up

on Nov. 12 2009 at 2:14 pm
Klewis1226 SILVER, Rosedale, New York
8 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Never take life to seriously. Nobody gets out alive anyways.

amazing story .. :]

on Nov. 12 2009 at 1:36 pm
Dandelion PLATINUM, Franklin, Massachusetts
20 articles 8 photos 173 comments
This article is perfect! At first, I thought the author had annorexia, but I knew she couldn't be annorexic when her mother didn't mind TOO much when she didn't eat. I sensed honesty in that, "I'm not hungry this morning."

KyndrahAsia said...
on Nov. 12 2009 at 1:12 pm
KyndrahAsia, Houston, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Every girl is entitled to a secret"

This was a wonderful story and you voice really came out in this piece. Great Job!

Emmalee SILVER said...
on Nov. 12 2009 at 11:21 am
Emmalee SILVER, Rayville, Louisiana
9 articles 14 photos 65 comments

Favorite Quote:
Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon

Wonderful. :)

on Nov. 12 2009 at 10:18 am
pictolover SILVER, Brookfield, Missouri
8 articles 0 photos 60 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Life is like a roller coaster. When you don't know what to do buckle up, close your eyes, and enjoy the ride."

Simply Magnificent!!! i thought that since it was short you would skimp on the details but it is amazing!! best thing i've read in a long time.

on Nov. 12 2009 at 8:58 am
betrayalhurts BRONZE, Cleveland, Tennessee
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
Middle Finger To the world

that is so sad plz write more!

on Nov. 12 2009 at 12:16 am
Writedancelove&live GOLD, Redding, California
12 articles 2 photos 66 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much."
"Karen: If you're from Africa why are you white? Gretchen: Omg Karen, you can't just ask people why they're white."

Uh-mazing! Please never ever stop writing, and continue to share your masterpieces with the world, even if they are as sad as this one.

EricBlair said...
on Nov. 5 2009 at 2:25 pm
Best quality/length ratio I've seen on the internet. Ever. I now have a strange feeling echoing from my chest, and I think others can relate. Never stop writing! Ever!