GENRE: YA (SFF/Contemporary)
You don't know me. If you knew me, you wouldn't like me, and maybe I'd hate you. Maybe as much as I hate myself.
"Helen," My mother yells, "you're going to be late for school."
I move around my room, tidying the curtains and smoothing the bedspread. I arrange three decorative pillows into side-by-side diamonds. I survey the bed, smooth it one more time. On my desk, a metallic blue pen sits next to my laptop. I return it to the first small slot of the pen holder. I adjust the pad of paper that I use for my lists so that it's no longer crooked. I shut my laptop.
"Helen! We have to leave now."
After double checking that my EpiPen is in the front compartment of my backpack, I grab my lint remover and do a quick roll of the bag, my pants and my jacket. I turn off the lights and click the door shut behind me.
I take a deep breath and run through a mental checklist to make sure I didn't forget anything. When my mom yells again, I force myself to head downstairs.
Mom and I don't speak for most of the drive to school. Invisible waves of fury flow from her, crashing against me as if I'm a lone rock on the edge of the Pacific.
"I'd appreciate it if just once you would answer me when I speak to you," she says.
I close my eyes and hold fast as a fresh wave breaks over me. God.