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 835 comments.


on Dec. 17 2009 at 4:55 pm
Darkchloe14 BRONZE, Memphis, Tennessee
1 article 0 photos 25 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be Strong"

That was so good. I really liked it and it was very realistic, too

DEMON said...
on Dec. 15 2009 at 7:46 pm
"RAZED EXPECTATIONS" It continues...

Her lovely green eyes shifted into hard emeralds.

“What do you know about me, Dare? And what’s so wrong with having dreams? And why are you talking to me like that? I was simply commenting on the sunset.” She tossed her red curls, clearly miffed.

I lifted my chin, and blew smoke in her face. It was easier on me when she was angry. I don’t know why she bothered with me. Why she was brave enough to confront me. Why she didn’t follow the laws of the superficial high school we both attended. Why she didn’t stay away from me, like everyone else.

“You’ll die from that smoking, Darian.” She glared at me. We’d had this argument a lot. I lifted my eyebrows, and turned away from her, signaling that the conversation was over.

She didn’t obey, and I sighed.

“You know, Dare, you could let yourself feel. You could understand it.” Her voice was soft, a whisper in the darkening air. She was air. My air.

I reviled the potency of the emotions I could feel pulsing through me. I ran a hand through my black hair nervously, my body skidding with strange, unfamiliar energy. I didn’t want to answer her. Why didn’t she leave?

I made a fatal mistake when I looked at her. Every nerve inside of me screamed, as though my body and internal organs were recharging hurriedly in the rare moment of my awakening.

I think I felt my heart beat hesitantly.

My voice seemed like that of a stranger. It had a rich, deep tone to it. It had color.

“Understand what?”

Something in my expression changed the way she was looking at me. It may have mirrored the arrangement of my own features. She became vulnerable in that instant.

“Kiss me.” She whispered brokenly.

Surprise jolted keenly through me. God, I wished I was numb again. Everything felt electric-too intense and too vivid. Emotions scattered across my being, a mutinous invasion of the raging war against myself. I was defenseless and an easy prey to her request. I breathed jaggedly, and there was a husky vibe to it. Want. I recognized it more clearly as it bloomed vibrantly through me.

And she was waiting. For me.

I destroyed the walls I had so warily built as I leaned towards her. She lifted a creamy hand and laid it tenderly against my cheek, the expectation making her bold. I moaned, and closed my eyes. My own hands loosened, and reached for her face greedily

Something hot-burning-ignited against my skin. I wrenched myself away, dazed by the unpleasant sensation. Had a spark traveled through our bodies? That’s when I noticed the cigarette kindling like a faint ember beside my marred hand. It had burnt me. The throbbing pain brought a wave of consciousness through me. Reality. And I stared at her face, inches from mine, and something clicked inside of me. Gears that began humming smoothly, like a tuned clock. I pulled back, and tossed her hand away like it stung. I grimaced as the vitals within me slowly resumed their state of nothingness, and shook my head to clear it of its nonsensical ideas.

She watched the change take possession of me, and tears began to collect in her eyes.

I found that I could care less.

I grinned at her, and mocked, “I taste of cigarettes, Clara.”

She got up shockingly to her feet, and backed away as if understanding for the first time what I was. Tears stained her nondescript face.

I smiled, that careful replication of a smile, and said acidly, “Did I humor your silly fantasies well?”

Her face crumpled entirely, and she pivoted away and ran sobbing from my scathing ridicule.

The sun died, and all was dark.

on Dec. 6 2009 at 5:55 pm
freespirit94 GOLD, St. Louis, Missouri
11 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Sometimes people are beautiful. Not in their looks. Not in what they say. Just in what they are."
-Marcus Zusak

Oh my god! I love this writing so much! The story brought tears to my eyes; it was so sad! I love the title and the whole "perfect" theme in it. This was really well written and everything. Great job! Keep up the good work!

on Dec. 5 2009 at 10:21 pm
thesilverrose BRONZE, Richardson, Texas
1 article 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead." -Benjamin Franklin

Hate what? The overdueing is not so great. It gets on my nerves. Wordy... hm... I wonder if the dictionary would have a definition for it. Probably not. :(

oh well... :D

on Dec. 5 2009 at 9:20 pm
BeckoningLovely GOLD, Wilmington, Delaware
15 articles 1 photo 106 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I think our favorite quotes say more about us than the people we are quoting," John Green

hahaha i hate that!

on Dec. 5 2009 at 4:32 pm
thesilverrose BRONZE, Richardson, Texas
1 article 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead." -Benjamin Franklin

I didn't either till my English teacher said it. It's supposed to be like when someone tries to explain things (example: features and details) and say too many words. Sometime like that. They feel like they can't get an image in the reader's mind... so they tend to overdue it. :D

on Dec. 4 2009 at 10:26 pm
BeckoningLovely GOLD, Wilmington, Delaware
15 articles 1 photo 106 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I think our favorite quotes say more about us than the people we are quoting," John Green

wordy? haha i've never heard that term before

laneyb GOLD said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 9:59 pm
laneyb GOLD, St Paul, Oregon
17 articles 7 photos 11 comments

Favorite Quote:
I am a quote addict. I spend majority of my time writing down quotes I hear.

I loved this, keep it up!

on Dec. 4 2009 at 9:56 pm
lilcrazyshygirl BRONZE, Chicago, Illinois
4 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A wise girl kisses but never loves, listens but never believes and leaves before she is left." -Marylin Monroe

i seriously cried love the feeling!

rmangagrl said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 9:55 pm
omggg that's soo sad :( T___T

grasslova GOLD said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 7:06 pm
grasslova GOLD, Highland, Utah
19 articles 43 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
When you learn to die, you learn to live - Morrie

:) Perfect indeed. This was absolutely beautiful! You had me enchanted the entire story. Thank you for writing this, it gives me a whole new perspective. Food for thought.

on Dec. 4 2009 at 6:36 pm
thesilverrose BRONZE, Richardson, Texas
1 article 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead." -Benjamin Franklin

IT WAS SO SAD!!! But I loved what you wrote. It was so well put together. Not wordy either. Very discriptive. Keep writing! This story makes me want to read a book with this as the beginning. Keep up the good work. =)

StarsMoon said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 5:17 pm
StarsMoon, Lehi, Utah
0 articles 0 photos 49 comments
it made me want to cry..

it was really good! i loved it!

its really well written. :)

ill look at some more of ur stuff and see if its just as good. :)

thnx! :)(:

DAMINIG345 said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 4:15 pm
THIS IS THE BEST STORY I READ I THOUGH IT WAS REAL AT FIRST

yellowboy said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 3:25 pm
Yeah your totally right. This story is really good. I love it.

Zobst1 GOLD said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 1:59 pm
Zobst1 GOLD, Buffalo, New York
18 articles 0 photos 9 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic." -The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

very well done! keep it up!!

sfarias2010 said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 1:17 pm
sfarias2010, Columbus, Ohio
0 articles 0 photos 9 comments
This is really good

there should be a book about this

emily23 BRONZE said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 12:07 pm
emily23 BRONZE, Solon, Maine
3 articles 0 photos 126 comments

Favorite Quote:
Every story has an end, but in life every end is just a new beginning.

yea i totally agree

Erperderp said...
on Dec. 4 2009 at 8:25 am
Erperderp, Bangor, Maine
0 articles 0 photos 85 comments

Favorite Quote:
EAT THE STUPID COOKIE!!!!

OMG i love it keep up the good work. you really have talent!!!!

on Dec. 4 2009 at 8:07 am
Love it! You did a great job! Everything flowed together nicely and there was no lack of detail. Keep up the good work!