Name: Deborah Maroulis (@yaddathree)Genre: Contemporary
Sixteen-year-old Wren believes her bulimia helped attract her long-time crush. But when he pushes her into a physical relationship she’s not ready for, she must decide if the illusion of love is worth her health.
Hair twisted into a bun and ear buds in, I pushed play on Death Cab for Cutie and shoved my phone into my pocket, ready to take on the closet door one more time. Gripping the handle, I tugged. With my entire body weight, I pulled. But instead of the door sliding open, it broke free from the track, sending me reeling and my phone tumbling. Boxes of Home Shopping Network’s finest spilling after, and my collection of band t-shirts and headphones tangled in between Fed-Ex and first class mail. My borrowed suitcase taking up the rest of what little floor room existed.
I wiggled myself from under the door, attempting to ignore the pinch of my jeans in all the wrong places. With my foot, I slid the phone toward my outstretched hand and hoped the glass hadn’t shattered. It was the one connection I had to the outside world until school started.
As I flipped the phone over to check the screen’s lifespan, I muttered the first prayer I could think of. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. When my playlist stared back at me unharmed, I sighed in relief. The only mantra I could remember was now the patron prayer of cell phones.
I pushed myself from the floor only to crash into one of the million shelves lining my new room, each one holding Granny’s precious dolls that looked too much like my mom for comfort. My arm shot up to defend against another whacking and sent one of Granny’s prized dolls careening toward the floor.
I gasped, eyes wide. One hand propped me up and the other held my phone. And I couldn’t hold it and save the Mini-Mom plummeting to instant death.
Tossing my phone toward the pile of boxes and shirts, I prayed it’d land on its back. My hand closed around stiff fabric just in time to save Ms. Porcelain from her ultimate demise.
Granny’s forced smile and disappointed eyes had flashed before me like one of those near death experiences all over late night TV. She would’ve nodded and told me it was an accident, all the while picking up shards of its ceramic face like discarded tissues at a funeral. I’d been here all of five minutes, and creepy or not, these dolls meant the world to her.
I placed the Mini-Mom back on the shelf smoothing her hair and lace frock as best as I could, hoping she looked all right. I tried tucking the tag that bragged, “Made by Marie Osmond” under the stand, only making it slump sideways. Exhaling a snort, I shook my head.
Seriously, who buys dolls designed by a weight-loss spokesperson?
I backed away, parkouring the closet fallout to avoid another disaster and looked for my phone. This time, when I reached for it, tiny fissures threatened my fingertips as I slid my hand over the screen. I closed my eyes and hung my head. Once my mom saw the cracks, I’d be laid to sleep. No prayer needed.
I stacked the boxes back in the closet Tetris-style. Somehow there were three left-overs, not to mention all my stuff I was supposed to be unpacking to make myself comfortable, as Granny insisted.