Chapter Excerpt

American Airlines Flight 161

I'm not that depressed,

considering that this

gigantic silver bullet with wings

is blasting me away from my whole entire life,

away from Lizzie Brody,

my best friend in the world,

away from Ray Johnston,

my first real boyfriend.

Not that depressed,

considering I've been kidnapped

by this monstrous steel pterodactyl

and it's flying me all the way to L.A.

to live with my father

who I've never even met

because he's such a scumbag

that he divorced my mother

before I was even born.

I'd say I'm doing reasonably well,

considering I'm being dragged

three thousand miles away from all my friends

and my school and my aunt Duffy

and the house I've lived in ever since I was born,

three thousand miles away from my mother,

and my mother's grave,

where she lies in a cold wooden box

under six feet of dirt,

just beginning to rot.

I'm not that depressed

considering that I'm trapped

on this jumbo poison dart

shooting me away from everything I love,

and there's this real weird guy

sitting in the seat right behind mine,

who keeps picking his nose

and eating it.

Depressed?

Who? Me?

Aunt Duffy Drove Me to the Airport

And there was a second there

when I actually considered

getting down on my hands and knees

and begging her not to put me on this plane,

begging her not to send me away,

pleading with her to let me stay in Boston

and live with her instead.

But Duffy's so nice that I knew she'd say yes

and I knew that that would make me feel

like crawling under a boulder,

because her apartment just has

this one microscopic bedroom

and now that she's finally

got herself a new boyfriend,

the last thing she needs

is to have her fifteen-year-old niece

permanently camped out in her living room,

which is barely even big enough

to fit her couch.

So I contained my urge to grovel.

My Mother Hated Flying

Especially after September 11th.

She used to squeeze my hand so hard

during takeoffs and landings

that she'd cut off my circulation.

She'd screw her eyes closed and whisper this silly prayer someone taught her once.Something about manifold divine blessingsbeing unto the plane or the universeor some hippie-dippy thing like that.

And if there was even

a teensy bit of turbulence -- forget it.

She'd start apologizing to me

for every mean thing she'd ever said

or done or even thought about doing.

This morning,

when the plane was lurching down the runway

and I didn't have Mom's hand to hold,

my heart flung itself up into my throat.

And for a minute there,

I couldn't even breathe.

I didn't know how much

I depended on

being depended on

by her.

Peach Fuzz

When the flight attendant

leans in to ask me

if I'd like something to drink,

and the sun splashes across her face,

I notice

all these tiny little

blond hairs on her cheeks,

and tears rush into my eyes.

My mother had them, too.

I used to tease her about them.

Called it her peach fuzz.

It used to make her laugh.

If I could reach out

and stroke those little hairs

on the flight attendant's face,

without totally freaking her out,

I'd close my eyes

and I'd do it right now.

I'd touch my mother's cheek

one more time.

Maybe You're Wondering About It

But that's just tough.

Because I'm not even going to go in

to how she died.

Let's just say she knew that she was sick,

that she felt it burrowing,

felt it gnawing at her insides.

But the doctors wouldn't listen.

And when they finally found it,

there was nothing they could do.

Nothing she could do.

Nothing I could do.

Nothing.

Let's just say

she wasted away into a toothpick,

and leave it at that, okay?

That after a while

she was just a shadow

lying there on her bed.

Oh.

And I guess we can say

that I was holding her hand

when it finally happened.

I Love to Read

But my life better not turn out

to be like one of those hideous books

where the mother dies

and so the girl has to

go live with her absentee father

and he turns out to be

an alcoholic heroin addict

who brutally beats her

and sexually molests her

thereby causing her to become

a bulimic ax murderer.

I love to read,

but I can't stand books like that.

And I flat out refuse

to have one of those lives

that I wouldn't even want

to read about.

And Speaking of Fathers

As soon as I was old enough

to notice that I didn't have one,

I started asking questions.

Like, "Where's my daddy?"

And, "How come Lizzie has a daddy,

but I don't?"

Mom's face would sort of slam shut

and all she'd say was,

"He divorced me before you were born."

If it wasn't for my aunt Duffy

I'd never have even found out

who my father was.

Copyrights & © 2004 by Sonya Sones


Excerpted from One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
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