Picture Perfect



Picture Perfect

“Prom is approaching, and I’m not ready,” I think to myself. “I haven’t bought my dress yet, my shoes, or made any appointments. I don’t even have a date! I can’t say I blame the guys around here,” I mumble while feeling very sorry for myself. “I’m very predictable. I do the same things every day! I wake up, get ready for school, walk outside to my freezing cold car and scrape off the windows, and head off to school. I wish Dad would let me park in the garage. I’m the one that has to leave the house at 7:00 a.m. It is more work for me, though. I don’t think anyone really notices, or cares. I only see Dad about twice a week when he comes home from work earlier than normal.” I roll out of bed, and stare at my beeping alarm clock with glowing red numbers. Stretching up to the sky, I think, “I can’t be late for school anymore or the teachers will give me detention. Father would not be pleased.”
While exploring my closet, the only outfit that is hanging is a white turtleneck, with a green vest, and dark green jeans. I pull it out of the closet and hang it up next to the shower. A warm shower actually seems like a good idea. After I’m finished with my shower, I put the out-of-style turtleneck and vest on, and squeeze into the size 5 jeans. “I’m just lying to myself by thinking these things fit. I’d be much better off with a size 8 or 9. Maybe if Mom was still here, I would have some sense of fashion. I really don’t know how I’m supposed to dress. I don’t think Dad would even consider helping me out. He’s too busy with his more important patients.”
I scrape off the dirty windows of my old, rusty car and begin to drive to school like any other day. I pass the cheerleaders giggling in their pretty skirts to the right, and the cute guys following them, as usual. “I bet they all live normal lives,” I whisper to myself before turning on the radio to my favorite station.
After sitting through my first four hours of classes, I realize that almost every girl is looking through a prom magazine, or gossiping about other people. “I can’t take this anymore. I need to go home,” I guess. “Tuxedos, prom dresses, appointments… I think I’m going nuts.”
I tear out a piece of college ruled paper and write myself a note, excusing me from my last three boring classes.
Holly has a doctor’s appointment today at 12:00 p.m. She will not be returning to school for the rest of the day. Sorry if we have caused any inconvenience.
Thank you,
Don McDowell

“That looks good! I keep getting better at forging things! Dad will never notice. He has never really written me a note. The offices don’t know that I’m actually writing all of them. I could probably write a letter using Mom’s name, too. They might catch on to that, though. She died of cancer a little more than three years ago.” The usual pangs of sad memories shoot through my stomach. I quickly fold up the note and shove it into my back pocket and rush out of the classroom.
Throwing my note into the attendance office’s excuse box on the way, I frantically run out to my car. After a couple of false starts, my old 1988 Chevy Nova finally turns over. It roars and smokes, but it still moves when I step on the gas. That’s all I care about. Driving faster than usual, I swerve around the hot, paved road trying to find my favorite tape and hoping no cops will pull me over.
“Safe and sound,” I say as I roll into my driveway listening to my 1990 Enigma tape. I slam my door and run up to my room crying because I’m so frustrated with school, and prom, and my dad. Shuffling around in my dark room, I find the phone and dial my grandma’s phone number. “Oh good, it’s ringing,” I say, short of breath.
“Hello?”
“Hi Grandma. It’s Holly! How are you?”
“I’m tired. Mack and I played Bingo until