He cradled my face into the curve of his neck, filling my nose with his Escape cologne. Our bodies swayed in sync to the slow jams being played in Houlihan Middle School’s gym. This had to be the most perfect night of my life. He casually lifted my chin.
My girls, Arisha, Kemba, and Nia eyed me with so much jealousy. I smirked with my signature half-grin because I had it like that. Kendall always dealt with the finest in everything.
The guy brushed my hair back behind my ears and moved his lips closer and closer. I remained calm, even though inside, I was mentally checking to see if those breath mints kicked halitosis to sleep and if my cherry-flavored lip gloss still painted my thin lips.
Goosebumps scaled my spine. I couldn’t believe it. My first kiss. And it would be from my favorite hip hop singer. My mind screamed with anticipation. My arms wrapped tightly around his neck and my face as cool as a cucumber because I had to represent myself as a sophisticated young lady.
Okay, it was about to happen. I braced myself for the impact. My girls told me that kissing a boy made the earth shake. The bile in my stomach was the only thing moving.
He slipped further and further away from me as blood curdling wails erupted from Jamila’s mouth, awakening me from my deep slumber. It’s amazing how her two-year old lungs could expel so much air and noise. I threw back the covers and grimaced.
That little twerp interrupted my dream. Her cries pierced the air again. “No go, Mama!”
My fists clenched against my waist. Cyan must be packing her overnight bags for one of her weekend trips. It figures. We do not see eye-to-eye on everything. I wondered if the same guy I met last month would accompany her this weekend. It’s always a different one.
Don’t get me wrong. My mom was not one of those chicken heads with a sparse head of hair brushed up in one ponytail with gold teeth in her mouth and four-inch fingernails. She did work double shifts at Walmart during the week and took pride in her looks.
Cyan just didn’t have her priorities straight. She always came first, leaving me behind to serve as a surrogate mother to my younger sister and brother. I cooked their meals, wiped their noses, washed everyone’s clothes, and nursed cuts.
It’s bad enough that she travels so frequently, but it broke the little ones’ hearts because they needed their mom. Even though I’m growing up, I needed her, too.
I stormed into my mama’s bedroom and saw Jamila’s arms locked around my mama’s legs. Tears streamed down her face and landed on her nightgown.
Cyan, oblivious to her pleading, gazed in front of the mirror and applied her makeup. “Jamila, get off me. No need to cry because I ain’t staying.”
She lined her eyes and smacked her lips as she winked with approval. She could at least comfort the girl. That was what normal mothers do, for crying out loud.
I said, “Why don’t you stay home sometimes?”
My mama angled her body in front of mine. The scent of nicotine tickled my lungs. “A little ‘me’ time. Can I get that, Kendall?”
A burst of adrenalin robbed me of my common sense. I straightened my back and matched my mom’s gaze with one of my own. “Can I get a little time to be a thirteen-year-old, Cyan?”
My mother said, “I see we are on a first-name basis, now. When did you become grown?”
Judging by her response, I knew I had crossed the line of respect with her. Part of me prayed that I could make it through the rest of the night with my life. The other part didn’t care.
Copyrighted and All Rights Reserved to Alexandra Caselle. This is an original young adult story.