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.

Similar Articles


This article has 836 comments.

tessa410570 said...
on Nov. 4 2009 at 10:41 am
I thought that your story was AMAZING!!! i loved it. i thought that it was really sad but good at the same time. lol


on Oct. 21 2009 at 10:07 pm
wordnerd BRONZE, Victoria, Other
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Your life is a movie. You can edit it."

I agree. I thought it was about an eating disorder too, until I read the part saying she had cancer.

on Oct. 21 2009 at 10:06 pm
wordnerd BRONZE, Victoria, Other
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Your life is a movie. You can edit it."

This story was amazing! I wish my stories were this good! I love it because it is so real. Who knows what is happening to people who you see everyday. Thouhg it was also very sad, with her only having a year left to live.

on Oct. 21 2009 at 9:37 pm
chocolate_lover123 BRONZE, Houston, Texas
2 articles 0 photos 8 comments
this is too good!

WOW :)

left me speechless

on Oct. 21 2009 at 7:33 pm
writingrox BRONZE, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
3 articles 0 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities." (Albus Dumbledore)

Awesome story! I can't say much else, because I'm speechless.

on Oct. 21 2009 at 6:33 pm
very good story overall. luv the story line, and the way u carried it out.

the only part that needs a little work is the dialogue, it's alittle to back-and-forth, it doesn't sound very realistic, not enought emothion.

but overall, very good

on Oct. 21 2009 at 4:43 pm
maddog6000 SILVER, Chicago, Illinois
6 articles 8 photos 26 comments
Oh my goodness--this is amazing! Excellent work! Keep it up! I loved it.

on Oct. 21 2009 at 2:04 pm
jennee21_ann GOLD, Helper, Utah
17 articles 0 photos 568 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't gain the world and lose your soul....wisdom is better than silver or gold."

"You can always close a book, but you can never close the mind of a writer."

if i wasn't in the middle of the computer class i would probably be bawling right now. this is just amazing :) i love every part of it, but the ending is for sure my favorite. i absolutely love this! your awesome! :)

<3 dreamer

Jaquie BRONZE said...
on Oct. 21 2009 at 1:25 pm
Jaquie BRONZE, West Palm Beach, Florida
3 articles 0 photos 407 comments

Favorite Quote:
This is certainly one of my favorites: "I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." -2 Samuel 6:22

Wow. You are really talented. I can't tell you how much I enjoy your writing style. It's not to overwhelming and your not trying too hard. It's. . . perfect. You're a natural. Congratulations on being published. Keep it up.

God bless,


at004 said...
on Oct. 21 2009 at 12:31 pm
Wow this was really good!! I love it!!!

on Oct. 21 2009 at 12:04 pm
priscilla kirk, Hindsville, Arkansas
0 articles 0 photos 6 comments
OMG!! that is sooo good iloved it soo much!! =D

on Oct. 21 2009 at 11:09 am
oriGINAlity GOLD, Williamsburg, Michigan
10 articles 0 photos 8 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you follow the crowd you might get lost in it.

Wow. Very well written. Sad yet so good!

on Oct. 21 2009 at 1:43 am
Kitten111 SILVER, Watanobbi, Other
6 articles 0 photos 48 comments

Favorite Quote:
Knowledge is knowing that tomato is a fruit ..... wisdom is not putting it in fruit salad :P

made me cry (in a good way) Im named after my cousin who died the year i was born from cancer ... good work :)

on Sep. 29 2009 at 8:20 pm
dramatik4 BRONZE, Hanover, Maryland
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments
nice pretty good unexpected twist to everything keep up the good work

mandygale77 said...
on Sep. 29 2009 at 7:19 pm
The ending was incredible, a total twist from what I expected. Cancer...

on Sep. 29 2009 at 7:17 pm
wordweaver96 PLATINUM, Winchester, Kentucky
37 articles 2 photos 254 comments

Favorite Quote:
" It is not our abilities but our choices that show who we truly are. "
Albus Dumbledore

See, we really DON'T have anything to fear but fear itself!

I love this! I've read it four times. I searched for it and couldn't find it, so I was so glad it was voted othe highest the most so I could read it again and tag it as a favorite!!!!!! :D

jackie17 said...
on Sep. 29 2009 at 4:40 pm
this was so good!!!

mladdissa said...
on Sep. 29 2009 at 2:16 pm
It was a very good story very true and touching.

on Sep. 29 2009 at 1:20 pm
I like this story because you gave it a lot of detail good job!!!!!!

Dseventeen said...
on Sep. 29 2009 at 1:18 pm
l liked it a lot