A new character knocked on my door. She’s the star of my next mystery story and her name is Brandy. She lives in Brooklyn with her mother and the ghost of her father. In the story she’s kidnapped and we meet her in the back of a van with her hands tied, abducted from school. This is really rough writing but what do you expect, it’s a birth.
Me? I’m an everyday kind of teen with curls so tight on damp days they stick to my scalp and I can feel them winding up. They move like baby snakes ready to pounce. That’s why I don’t always pay attention in History, that and the zits are driving me wild to say nothing of the braces. I’ve had them on for a year and will probably need them for most all of high school, that’s what Dad said before he decided to die.
You’d have loved Dad. He took me to ballgames. We’d walk to Borough Hall and take the subway to 161st Street and when we got to the stadium we’d hold hands, swinging our arms high and fast like taking a ride on a high flying machine, Granny called it. Bought me hot dogs and soda and explained the game. When I was seven, I could name all the pitchers, but now I’ve lost touch.
First Aunt Caroline moved away, then Dad died. The wrong ones went away and now I’m alone with her. Mom. She never thinks of me. She never listens to me, but Mrs. Coltran says that’s not true. She knows my mother loves me. I wish I did. She’s so out of it. I can’t even tell you what she looks like.
But Heather says my mother’s afraid. Whatever. I try to be nice and all, but she doesn’t care what I’m thinking. She never tries to talk to me. I start up with this or that but I can tell she’s not listening. Like tonight, I tried to tell her how boring gym is and could she write me an excuse because of the cramps but she doesn’t get it. Know what she said? She told me there’d be lots of things I wouldn’t like doing and lots of cramp days, I’d get them once a month so I’d better get used to it. I should just buck up. Now what the hey? What does buck up mean? You’ll be happy you took it when you’re older. But, Mom … I begin and watch her wince because she wants to be called Trisha and I keep forgetting. But, Mom … But mighty woman has spoken and now she’s disappearing into her tent, I can see it in her eyes beyond those horrible glasses she wears. Excuse me while I turn off. Whatever. Better just to swallow the food and get dinner over with. Dad used to say I can pretend with the best of them. But I couldn’t with him. He always knew what was on my mind.
And another thing, when I told her about earth day last month, she said it sounded like a communist plot. Her words. Said the school is wonderful and has a rich tradition of academia, barf on that, and I should study as hard as I can and learn everything. “Drink it in,” that’s one of her favorites, but when it comes to philosophy and who to vote for and stuff, the teachers should stay out of it and she didn’t care if I didn’t listen to them. Like, I suppose, you don’t listen to me. That got her. She stopped and did that thing with her lips that I hate. She said a lot of teachers were close to being socialists, and when I looked it up, being a socialist didn’t sound like such a bad thing except about the private property part.
Yesterday Johnny Fulcrum asked me to go with him and his parents to a Yankee game and I had to think fast and not look at his eyes because they were jumpy, but I told him I couldn’t, sorry. I wondered why he chose baseball but then I remembered telling the kids about the Yankees and that they were Dad’s favorite team. That was right after Dad died and Mrs. Coltran asked me to talk about him in class. Johnny must have remembered. It killed me to look at Johnny’s face after I said no, and I almost changed my mind but then I thought, I should let myself be seen with Johnny Fulcrum? Heather would have said yes just to be nice, but I’m just not that good. I didn’t tell her about Johnny.
Mrs. Coltran had a baby girl last Tuesday so now we have a substitute teacher. Old. Has to be at least forty-five with gray hair and dresses like Granny used to. She thinks I should be in advanced reading.
Photo: Sunset In Brooklyn. Credit: Shuggy (Flickr), Creative Commons.