Things Are Gonna Get Ugly

Things Are Gonna Get Ugly by Hillary Homzie Read Free Book Online

Book: Things Are Gonna Get Ugly by Hillary Homzie Read Free Book Online
Authors: Hillary Homzie
    Mom laughs and snaps on her helmet, then hands me mine. It’s pink and sparkly. “You know, the truth is I was really looking forward to today’s session, but I did reschedule.”
    Reluctantly, I edge into the seat behind her and put on the helmet. Do I have a choice? I have to get away from school. Soon we are far away. We bike down El Camino Real past Kepler’s Books, and, naturally, it’s pouring down rain. Even though cold water lashes against my cheeks, I don’t worry about my mascara running because I’m not wearingmascara—or any makeup, for that matter!
    As the rain lets up, we pull up to an apartment complex, the Sierra Garden. Not that there’s a garden in sight. It’s the sort of run-down place where you’d expect some artistic type who didn’t have a steady income to live. “Why are we going here?” I say. “Let’s go home.”
    Mom stares at me as if I was abducted, taken into Area 51 and reprogrammed. “This is our home. Did you forget it was moving day? Paying for them to unpack and pack us was worth every penny. Even if it means the two of us tightening the belt a little for the next few months. The moving company did a wonderful job. Even the clothes are back in the drawers.”
    â€œI guess I forgot,” I mumble. “About the move.”
    Mom squints at me. “Are you okay?”
    No, I’m not okay. I’m less than myself. A ghost of me. “Since we didn’t do any packing I guess I sort of made it—the move—not happen in my mind or something.”
    â€œI could see that,” said Mom. “I know it’s not easy.”
    Understatement, Mom. Über understatement. Oh no, it has happened. We’ve really moved to the Sierra Garden apartments. Whenever Mom would be SOmad at Dad after he’d come home super late from a meeting and then tell her that he had to go out again and train for his triathlon, she’d be the one to get on to the phone with her sister Megan and fume, “If things get really bad, I can always move with Taffeta to the Sierra Garden apartments.”
    At the time I thought it was a sort of fun, downsizing-your-life daydream. Why would she really want to give up our amazing home in Menlo Park for some apartment complex? I stare at the mission-style building with its red tiled roof and naked, statue-boy fountain that doesn’t work in the center of the courtyard. Little kids run around in the front parking lot, totally unsupervised, from what I can tell, which is probably typical of poor people who live in apartments like Sierra Garden. If I had been a baby here I could see me now, barefoot, in a soggy diaper, heading into traffic. Why can’t we have our old house back? Why? I guess the fact that we’ve moved into an apartment is NOTHING compared to the fact that, somehow, I’m like a TOTALLY different version of myself.
    A New Day, Unfortunately
    I jump out of bed and glimpse my face in the mirrorabove a scratched-up chest of drawers plastered with Lord of the Rings stickers. Only everything’s out of focus and fuzzy. I think I spot a pair of purple plastic glasses next to a stack of fantasy books on the nightstand.
    I squint and instinctively push the glasses onto my face. No chintz bedspread bought with last year’s birthday money at Pottery Barn. Nasty-looking clothes, such as socks with images of little dragons, litter the floor. Posters cover the walls—posters with creatures from Star Wars and UNICORNS!
    On the walls, I see posters of MORE unicorns and a green dragon winging over a lavender volcano. I gaze at the face of the dragon and once again look at my face in the mirror that’s over my bureau.
    The dragon and I have a lot in common. We are both depressingly similar-looking.
    I see a girl with frizzy hair, like a halo of fire. Round cheeks dotted with whiteheads. I am not looking at my mother’s middle

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