Thursday, November 5, 2009


Nancy,originally from Crosses, was my first outsider girl.  Now Nancy is grown-up, with an outsider girl of her own -- daughter, Casey, fifteen.  Fifteen… the age when Nancy met Katie, the age when Nancy began cutting herself in earnest, when she started drugs, dating.  Will Casey follow the same path her mother did, or will she find her own?

Nancy:  With everything I’ve done, I still have no problem at all saying to Casey, “Promise me you will not ever, no matter who gives them to you, no matter what they’re for, you will not ever take a pill.  Not from me, not from a stranger, not from your best friend.  Whatever you do—“
“I know Mom!  I won’t ever take a pill!  I won’t shoot heroin either—“
“I know you think I’m saying this just because I watched that Intervention—“
“I know you’re just saying it because you don’t want me to go out with Kayla this weekend.”  Casey lights a cigarette, and I want to cry, because it's my fault.  She took the smoke from my pack after all.  
I never made her promise not to smoke.  You have to choose your battles -- “If you want to try drinking or pot, we can talk about that—“
“If it’ll make you happy, I’ll talk to you before I take a sh—“
“What’s that on your arm?  Have you been biting yourself?”
“Mom, it’s not like that—“
“I can’t believe after all we’ve been through in this house—“
Mom!  I’m not trying to hurt myself!”
“Don’t you think I would—“
“You don’t know everything, Mom.  It’s just a hickey.”
“Oh Casey, don’t you know it’s not cool to be branded, who’s the guy—“
“There’s no guy—“
“The girl?”
“Mom, I did it to myself!”
“Isn’t that what we were just talking about!  Casey, sometimes you drive me crazy!  Please, let’s talk about this.”
“Mom, no one needs to drive you crazy, you’re already there.”
I rush to the freezer to get two ice cubes, which I grip hard, one in each hand, while I breathe deeply, cooling-down breaths.  Casey sighs, comes closer, and wraps her arms around my waist.  “Kidding, Mom, kidding!  I love you!”
I smile.  I breathe.  “And another thing,” I say, “Never, ever get in a car—“
“With someone who’s been drinking.  I know, Mom, but holy crap, I’m only fifteen!  It’s just a party.  It’s no big deal, Mom.”
OhmiGod.  Fifteen.  “When I was fifteen—“ 
“I know! I know all about you and Katie, you’ve told me a thousand times—“
My face tightens, and ice water streams from my hands as I squeeze the cubes, a trick I learned, a trick Katie and could’ve used.
“Mommy, I’m so sorry!  I shouldn’t have said—“
“It’s okay, Case.  I’m sorry I’m such a basket case. I just love you so much.”
“I know, Mom. I’ll be home by midnight.  Jonas will drive me home.”
And there it is.  And now it begins.  


  1. And you should see me there, jumping up and down in my skin, trying to tell Nancy that she needs to back off...

  2. ur so right. Nancy is more like me than any of my other characters, and by writing how she acts with her daughter, I learn about my own shortcomings! Thanks for you thoughtful comments each week.