Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kiss Me

I don't think my mother is looking forward to watching my sister and I grow up. We have hardly any mirrors in this stupid house.  It's almost as if she doesn't want us to see what we look like.  The mere implication of our physical development might disturb the delicate stasis of our environment and instigate all sorts of changes that are beyond her control.

Mom has this really old, round mirror that she keeps in the hairbrush drawer in the kitchen.  It's reversible.  On one side, everything about your life seems okay. Flip it over and all your problems are magnified.  She mainly uses it to tweeze her eyebrows.

It doesn't matter.  That mirror is too small for my purposes, anyway.  I need a bigger one so I can practice kissing.  I like to see my whole face when I lean in to rehearse what I can only guess the experience is like.  Of course, it'd be ideal if I had a live person to help me sharpen my skills.  Somebody with two lips and an actual face.  But I can't even go there yet in my mind, let alone in real life.  I am only twelve.

Instead, I mostly practice on the backs of my hands and with the mirror that hangs on the inside door of the bathroom.  I take it right off the hook and disappear behind my bed.  I used to think this mirror was so neat when we first got it.  What with the reflective glass in the middle and the plastic frame around the outside that resembles a ship's wheel.  Being that this quirky accessory is the extent of the bathroom's nautical theme and now that I use it for a purpose other than staring at myself when I brush my teeth, I think it's kinda silly.  It's also difficult to rehang quickly in the event that anybody starts asking questions.

I am certain that no one is attracted to me, and it fills me with a desperate sadness that I have never known before.  This anonymous rejection haunts most of my waking moments, except when I am eating Bomb Pops on the stoop or watching Happy Days on Tuesday nights.  Then I don't really think about it as much.

I have crushes on twenty five boys in my school, four of whom are in my class.  I am constantly smiling and being nice, but it doesn't work.  I am pretty good at art, so I started drawing pictures of all the members in KISS.  That's gotten me some attention.  I also share my cough drops with anyone who pretends they are sick so I will give them one.

Frequently, I steal money from my mother's pocketbook and buy extra school supplies.  Lead pencils, erasers and assignment pads.  I give this stuff away, hoping somebody will care.  Boys always need paper.  Maybe one of them will realize that he needs me.

I wonder how girls get guys to be with them.  To start holding hands and walking with their arms around one another's waists.  Where do they find each other?  I stare whenever I see couples leaning on cars, making out.  I can't help it.  I am consumed with curiosity and longing.

It doesn't matter, though.  My mom is so strict.  She will never let me have a boyfriend.  I'll have to become a nun.  Or a nurse that no one wants to marry.

Can you tell I'm upset?  It's because I'm in love with Angelo, this older boy who works on the Mister Softee truck.  He's so friendly and funny.  Tonight, I saw that he had marks all over his neck.  I'm not sure how he got them.  I mean, I think I know.  I bet it was that ugly girl who lives up the street.  She's always crowding the window while us kids choose our ice cream.  Angelo must think she's pretty.  I think she's disgusting, and I wish I was her.

I want the boys in my class to like me so badly.  I'll do just about anything.  Last week, a few of them stood together in the schoolyard, passing this little card back and forth.

"What do you have?" I asked.

"It's a joke," John said, nudging Walter.

"I wanna see."

It was the Indian lady from the Land o' Lakes butter package.  You know how she's kneeling in front of the water, smiling and holding her beloved butter?  Well, somebody had cut out the extra set of knees from the back of the box and taped them to her chest, so it looked like she had boobies.

I told my mother I needed that butter box for a school project.  We usually buy margarine.  I made my own version, but mine was much better because it had a window.  You could choose if you wanted to view her breasts or not.  All the boys went crazy over it, until the teacher showed up.

I thought for sure Mrs. Flanagan was gonna tell my mother, but she never did. Maybe she knew I'd get my ass beat half to death.  All she said was, "Mary, you know better."

But that's the thing.  I don't know better.  I'm guessing at everything.

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