The past few weeks, I have been working on a short story that I will be submitting to a contest. Over the next few days, I will be posting the chapters (4 in all) on my blog. I realize that this may not be everyone’s genre, but if you don’t care to read it, don’t leave me!! I’ll be back after the four days are up. If you do read it, please give me some feedback…I value your opinions!! Thanks 🙂
When I was thirteen years old, I asked my mom why she and my dad hadn’t had any more kids. Her reply was “By the time I was done squeezing you out, I swore I’d never go through that again!”
Great…make me sound like the last bit of toothpaste, being wrenched from the tube.
Three days later, my parents told me that they were divorcing.
I remember that they told me about it on a Friday because when my mom called me from my room to have “the talk” with me, I was getting ready to go to the skating rink with my best friend Diana. I had just washed my hair and was blowing it dry, getting ready to put the hot curlers in when she came to my door and said, “We need to talk to you…now.”
Both my parents were in the living room and I knew when I walked in, that it wasn’t going to be good news. They were so nervous and at first they wouldn’t look at each other or even me for that matter. They looked at their hands and the ceiling and the floor and finally my dad cleared his throat and began to speak.
They said the usual parent stuff. You know, that it was their problem and had nothing to do with me and that they both still loved me but they just couldn’t live together any more. It was really weird, I thought, that they kept stressing the fact that it wasn’t my fault…of course it wasn’t my fault. Heck, I lived in that house too. Their bedroom was directly below mine and I heard every word of every argument they had in it. How he didn’t understand her and how she nagged him too much and how she never wanted to do that “certain thing he liked but made her feel like a dime-store hooker” and how he could find “it” other places if she wasn’t interested anymore and how she said he already was finding “it” other places and she hoped he washed good afterwards. I mean, come on, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to see this one coming.
Even now, they couldn’t put their differences aside long enough to focus on me. My mom was crying and saying how her family would be so disgraced by a divorce and my father had that I’m-bored-can’t-wait-to-escape look on his face. Gee guys, thanks for worrying about me…NOT!
Thankfully, Diana and her sister, Charlotte, who was home from college, pulled up and were honking the horn on Charlotte’s mint green Pinto and I was finally able to escape the mini-drama that continued to unfold in my wake. I grabbed my skates from the coat closet and was out the door before either of them noticed. I could hear Meatloaf’s Paradise by the Dashboard Lights cranking out of Charlotte’s stereo. She was so cool! In my parents’ car (we only have the one!) the radio was always on the farm report. My father sold farm chemicals and you’d be amazed, even in the winter, the things they could come up with to fill air time.
I ran down the sidewalk and Diana, who was in the front with Charlotte, opened her door and pulled her seat forward for me to get in behind her. I was in such a hurry to leave that I forgot about my hair, which I never wore straight if I could help it, and I hadn’t grabbed my backpack with my clothes, Village Lip Lickers gloss (strawberry of course) or my Loves Baby Soft Perfume…the only concessions my mom had made in the you’re-too-young-to-wear-makeup fight. Charlotte pulled away from the curb while Diana was still closing the door.
“Oh, God no,” I moaned a few moments later in realization that I would have to return to that scene.
Charlotte turned down the stereo and looked at me in the rear view mirror. “What’s the prob?”
“I forgot my bag…you know my clothes and all my stuff.”
“No prob at all!” Charlotte pulled off (nearly clipping a boss-looking Mustang, whose owner blasted the horn and threw a few choice words at us) into the Stop-N-Go parking lot. “I need some gas anyway.”
I looked at Diana, who looked as bewildered as I did. Did Charlotte expect me to buy clothes and lip gloss and all at a mini-mart? “I can just borrow some of Diana’s…we are going by your house before, aren’t we?” This had been our plan…for me to shower, do my hair and finish up at Diana’s. I could tell by the look on Charlotte’s face that she hadn’t been let in on this plan.
“No way! I have to get my paycheck, cash it and drop you guys off…our house is completely in the wrong direction.” Charlotte shook her head and muttered something about little sisters that were ‘wearing their welcome thin.’
As she pulled into the pump, Charlotte grabbed her oversized denim purse, pulled out her wallet and said, “Look in the hatch…I’ve got a few extras I keep in there. Everything else you’ll need is in here,” she added, handing her purse to me. “Grab what you need from the back and hit the can; you’ve got about 5 minutes.”
It took Diana and me a full minute of our five to understand exactly what was happening but before I knew it, Diana was dragging me from the Pinto and we were looking at Charlotte’s “extras” in the hatch back she had opened for us.
Clothes were strewn everywhere and at first I thought there was no way we’d even get through them in five…no four minutes. But Diana must have been used to Charlotte’s “system of organization” or the fact that she was allowed to wear her sister’s clothes was a privilege she wasn’t going to squander the opportunity because she dove in, grabbed an armload and headed towards the store. “Come on,” she called over her shoulder. And so, I followed.
Once in the bathroom, Diana kicked the door closed with her foot and slid the lock on the door. Dropping the clothes, she grabbed the bag from my hands and said, “Find yourself a top quickly…I’ll get out her make-up.”
I started to point out the fact that we, at thirteen, weren’t allowed to wear anything but lip gloss, but the glare that Diana was already sending my way made me swallow my protest. The first shirt I picked up had a V cut so deep in the front and the back and I knew I didn’t have the chest to pull it off, so I tossed it off to the side. The next one said, “Disco Sucks!” and quickly followed the first. Not that I disliked Disco so much but the thought of wearing the word ‘sucks’ around boys my age was just asking for crude comments all night.
The third turned out to be the proverbial “third time’s a charm.” It was a bluish-black t-shirt with short sleeves and a little hood on the back. I quickly pulled off my shirt and put it on. It felt like a second skin. When I looked in the mirror, the first thing I noticed was my eyes. The shirt made them seem twice as large as they usually did and I could tell by the look on Diana’s face that I had made a good choice. As I looked again at the mirror, I noticed how the shirt seemed to hit my curves, what little I had of them, just right, so they looked better than they actually were. How cool was that!
“Here, shut your eyes for a sec.” I could feel Diana breathing on me as she leaned in close and began putting eye shadow on me. Next came a brush that went over my entire face, followed by one that just barely skimmed my cheekbones. I was just about to protest when she told me to open my eyes for the mascara. As I opened them I could again see my reflection and I have to say, it looked pretty good. Gone was the clean boring normal me face…in its place was a new and improved, must older version of me!
“Your hair looks great, straight like that…makes you look older,” said Diana. She put the mascara on me and handed me a salmon colored tube and said, “Hit your lips with this while I find me a top.” I opened the tube and brushed the salmon colored applicator across my top lip. It shimmered as I turned my head from side to side, so I did the bottom lip as well. It was a darker color than I was allowed to wear but it looked really good on me.
Diana had changed her top and was now wearing the “Disco Sucks!” shirt. She flipped her dark brown hair back and pulled it into her usual ponytail. I just then noticed the makeup she had put on while I was looking through the shirts. She looked older too, even with the ponytail…but the green eye shadow she had put on was a little heavy on one eyelid. “Here,” I said, reaching in the stall to get some toilet paper. I ran it lightly over her eyelid to even it up with the other. “Much better!”
“We’d better go,” Diana said, and headed out of the rest room. I took one last look in the mirror, taking in my long straight strawberry blonde hair and smiled. This was going to be a great night!