I was playing Candy Crush on my phone when Kylie texted me and asked if I wanted to go to the mall with her and her mom. I said yes and Kylie said they’d come get me in half an hour, so I went downstairs to get some money from my mom. She was with a client.
“Mom?” I said, standing outside the curtain.
My mom’s a massage therapist and an aesthetician. She gives people backrubs and facials. She’s a workaholic. When she’s not with a client, she’s mopping the floor or doing laundry. We hardly ever go to the mall. She says I don’t need anything from there. So when Kylie or somebody wants to take me out, I always go. But I have to bring my own money.
“Can I have twenty dollars?” I asked.
“I thought I just gave you twenty dollars yesterday,” my mom said calmly. My mom doesn’t show her true colors when she’s with a client. If she had been mopping, she would have really given it to me. I knew I had her pinned.
“Yeah, but I spent that at the movie. I’m going to the mall with Kylie. Her mom is picking me up.”
“Look in my wallet,” my mom replied. “Take one twenty dollar bill. No more.”
I got into my mom’s purse, took the money and stood at the door waiting for Kylie and her mom to pull up.
At the mall, Kylie’s mom told us to meet her at the food court after an hour and we would all eat lunch together. Kylie and I went in Hollister and tried on jeans.
“You should get a pair,” Kylie said.
“I don’t have enough,” I told her. “I only have twenty and I need that for food.”
“You can’t keep wearing those jeans from J.C. Penney,” Kylie said. “Not cool. Boot-cuts are so last year. You need skinnies.”
Kylie always wears cool clothes. Sometimes I try to copy her outfits and then she gets mad at me so I don’t know why she gives me hassles about my jeans. I’m fourteen, but my mom buys my clothes. I can’t wait until I turn sixteen. I’m going to get a job so I can buy my own clothes.
I told my mom that’s what I was going to do and she said it would be a waste and that I should focus on school. She said she got a job when she was in high school and then she spent all her money on clothes and food and her car and she didn’t get really good grades and she didn’t go to a good college. Actually, she didn’t finish college.
But I don’t see how it hurt her in the long run. We live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood and my dad runs a building supply company. They met when she was working in sales, but she became a massage therapist after she had me. She also sells essential oils. She says if I want, I can sell the oils when I’m sixteen and old enough to be a rep. But she doesn’t want me to work at the mall.
My mom says she still does what she did in high school – works all the time to pay for food and clothes. She thinks if she had studied harder, things would be different and we would take vacations at the beach every year. I hope we can go next summer.
My grandma is taking my cousin Stella to Disney World for her Sweet Sixteen. Stella doesn’t even want to go. Stella and I look a little bit alike, but she’s taller and bigger than me. She’s tall and plain with brown hair and brown eyes. I’m small and plain with brown hair and green eyes. If I put on mascara and do my hair, I can look pretty. Stella doesn’t like makeup and purses and stuff like that. She reads all the time. When she comes to my house, she just picks up a magazine. She won’t talk. She doesn’t like me. She thinks I’m dumb.
When I asked my grandma if she’s going to take me to Disney World when I turn sixteen, she said my mom and dad can probably take me. She says they can do it if they really want to. Stella doesn’t have a dad because he left when my Aunt Krista was pregnant. My Aunt Krista lives in an apartment with Stella and she works as a nurse’s aide. Sometimes Aunt Krista asks my mom for money and my mom tries to give it to her on the sly. But when my dad finds out about it, he yells at my mom and says that’s why she has to work all the time and she shouldn’t complain if she’s just going to give all her money away.
I think my mom just likes to complain. She loves making money. She loves rubbing people’s feet and talking to them about their pores. Most of all, she loves the gossip, attention, and her Coach purse. When I asked her to get me one, she said when I’m older. She complains so no one thinks she’s having too much fun.
Once she got into a fight with my grandma because she was going to hire a housekeeper. My grandma told her she was spoiled and she ought to clean her own house. My mom said she didn’t have time. My grandma said, “You have plenty.”
But I’m not going to be like my mom. That’s what Kylie doesn’t understand. One time last year I wore a pair of skinny jeans from Hollister with a flannel shirt, a scarf, ballet flats and big sunglasses just like Maya Kenning and her crew wear every day. Maya didn’t like my new “look” and she got one of her friends to write “poser” on my locker. I don’t want attention. I’m not like my mom. I’m like Stella. And I don’t want to go to Disney World, either.