[more fiction/story ideas slowly coming to fruition]
So, my life changed on a Saturday morning at my friend Keely’s house. Her parents are the kind of parents who like to get up early on weekends and show up in the kitchen wearing sweatsuits and those watches that gauge all of the steps you take in a day. They eat grapefruit and her dad sneaks decaf coffee, I’m told. I stayed with Keely because, well, my folks are fucking insane and I couldn’t handle another Friday Fiasco while huddled in my room with my shitty PS2 and VCR—yes, they actually still exist–and listen to their bullshit about bills and childcare and cleaning responsibilities. Nope. Had to go. Keely is quickly becoming my best friend, but I’m not a hundred percent she’s feeling the same way. We have geometry and band together. She likes football players and I listen to music she’s never heard of. But we’re getting there.
They had like three opened boxes of brand-name cereal–the stuff my mom never buys because the store brand, she says, tastes just the same for a lot less. I’ll understand when I’m older, she says every time we go–most of the time I don’t even say anything. Maybe I’m rolling my eyes or something, but she feels she has to defend every purchase every week while my kid sister Bailey and I stand there avoiding embarrassment. Mom hates that I’m a teenager, but I try not to make shopping too challenging. We’ve been going without dad my whole life. At least, I don’t remember him ever being around us while she’s ripping up expired coupons or asking some poor bastard kid if they have any more of the nearly expired meat in the back.
Keely’s parents are the anti-myparents. They kiss in front of us. They exercise at the same time–together. Before I really knew Keely, I used to see these two out running around our neighborhood at like crazy hours. 6 in the morning when I still hadn’t fallen asleep and at dusk when Mom’s struggling with Bailey to stay in her day-bed. They never yell. Not at each other. Definitely not at Keely. The have a cat that shits everywhere except the litter box but they’re never pissed about it. One or the other just takes care of it and zips up for a brisk morning walk, I guess.
But that morning, I learned something that was almost devastating. I mean, it was devastating to me, but I kept my cool and didn’t say anything about it in front of Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence. I sat at the table and was scrolling through the same stuff I’d seen just hours earlier before I actually fell asleep, when I tasted something different. I know there’s probably no way to back this up medically, but you’ll have to trust me. Trust and teenage girl don’t usually coincide, I know, but hear me out. I detected a different taste. The cereal really did taste similar to the crap Mom buys, but it wasn’t just that knock-off flavor I missed. It was more of how I felt about an hour later.
I felt kinda shitty and pissed off. Keely’s cat seemed to be all up in my face everywhere I sat. Her parents stupid-ass sweaty workout gear was annoying me because it was piled on the floor by the hallway closet. Keely herself kept asking me what I wanted to do and I just wanted to fucking rip her head off and tell her to leave me alone.
It was her cereal.
Really, it was because her cereal hadn’t been laced with whatever the fuck my mom’s been sneaking into my food for who knows how long.
At least, that’s what my school therapist figured out a few weeks ago. I’ve been an ADHD kid for years, but I just fucking found out at my pseudo-best-friend’s house last month.