Thursday, November 18, 2010


Karen, 19, remembers when she was twelve, and she and best friend Rose weren’t really trying to hurt themselves… right?  Karen isn’t so sure about Rose’s intentions, even back then.

Karen: When we were twelve, Rose and I decided to become blood sisters.  Okay, it was Rose’s idea, and Rose’s razor blade, but I was willing.  I was usually willing to do what Rose wanted, at least back then, before we grew up, and things changed -- our needs changed, our desires intensified and morphed, and well… things were different then, they just were.
     We – or I, anyway -- had no idea the damage a new razor blade could do.  One swipe didn’t only elicit the few drops of blood we needed for our ceremony -- it opened a deep gash in my wrist, that flowed a red river and wouldn’t be stopped even when I clamped my hand over it.
     Of course, Rose wouldn’t let me bleed-out alone, and anyway the ritual was already begun, so she slashed her wrist as well, and we pressed the wide wounds -- gaping like mouths -- together, said a quick, “Sisters forever, ‘til death do us part,” and then ran home to my house before we bled out for real.
     My mother screamed when she saw us.  She dropped the roasting pan, and chicken fat that would’ve become gravy splattered the walls and floor and then all of us screamed, from the hot fat speckling our faces and arms.  I remember thinking, as my mother wrapped our wrists in towels and made us apply pressure -- thinking not that Rose and I were idiots for what we did, but rather that my mother was a crazy witch who should stop screaming at us, and my father wouldn’t have freaked out like that, but he was sure going to go nuts with worry when he came home and saw all the blood and chicken on the kitchen floor, and no one home.
     “We should wait for Dad,” I said.
     “Get in the car fools,” was all she said to that.  “You idiotic... what were you thinking?  Get in the car!  Was this one of those suicide pacts I’ve heard about?  What did I do to deserve this?  Get in the car now!”
     Soon, we were speeding down New Haven Avenue at about five times the speed limit.  My mother continued, “Haven’t I loved you enough?”  Then she was on her cell, trying to reach Rose’s mother, but we could’ve told her it was no use.  It was four o’clock, and Mrs. Ramos would be at Last Stop Bar by now, on her third Bay Breeze, chatting it up with some fat guy or fireman or carpenter or out-of-work Karate instructor or divorced biker or someone... it didn’t really matter, so long as they bought her drinks and later took her home for a quickie, or sometimes even longer -- sometimes they stayed for a week or a month -- and generally they didn’t bother Rose, but anyway...
     It was a big deal, our becoming blood sisters.  We got stitches but no lollipops, and had to talk to three different social workers.  No one got what we were trying to do, or that we didn’t mean to hurt ourselves.
     At least I didn’t.  As time went on, I wondered about Rose.  I wondered how much she was willing to do to try and get her mother’s attention.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


New Outsider Girl, Sonny, is only thirteen.  She’s beginning to get her teenaged personality, is beginning to get annoyed with her mother’s interference in her life, but… in some ways, she’s still a kid, and wants her mother to continue to take charge.

Sunny:  My mother makes schedules:
     Tells me “it’s 7:45, time to get dressed.” (seriously!), “it’s 5:00, time for homework”, “it’s 5:45, time to put on your karate uniform”, “it’s 6:15, time for dinner,” and worst of all, “It’s 10:00, time for bed,” like I can’t tell when I’m tired!  She says if I don’t go to bed by ten I’ll be a bitch in the morning and she has to work and she doesn’t have time to deal with that so “Lights out now Molly!”

My mother hates messes:
     Comes into my room to watch iCarly with me, looks around and grimaces and I have to say, “Why do you always do this, you always say you’re coming in to hang out with me and then you look around and think about how messy I am!”  She says, “I didn’t say anything,” which to be fair, is true, but I know what she’s thinking.  

My mother hates messes and makes schedules and it drives me crazy, but sometimes, it’s not so bad.  Sometimes I’m so glad she does these things for me:
     After Justin Hollister whispered in my ear, “Could you find out if Hannah likes me,” when I liked him, my mother stepped over mismatched shoes and scraps of fashion, around a giant stuffed dog, and squished between books and clothes and dolls to get to me, bawling on my bed, to hold me tight, and it was like she was never going to let go, and she cried with me, and she said, “What a mess we are.  It’ll be okay,” until it was.

My mother has probably scheduled when it’ll be time for me to grow up, but she’s not in a hurry for that.  Sometimes I think, I’m not either.