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Just Something I Found in the Back of My Closet

A short story about the struggles of a teenage girl.

Nina’s car horn woke me from my slumber. I slid open my window to find my friends motioning for me to come on already. I’d fallen asleep, and now I’m late.

The clock reads a little past 10pm.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit.”

I dart around my room, thrusting my hand into the pile of clothes. My fist closes around a piece of clothing and I hope for the best. When I yank it out, it’s a pair of cupcake pajama pants. Perfect. My shoulders slump.

“Shit, shit, shit, shit,” I repeat.

I slip into a dirty pair of jeans, do a couple of squats, hop around like a bunny, and do just one, actually it was more like ten, karate kicks. It doesn’t matter that I’ve had these jeans since I was thirteen — they still fit!

Nina beeps again and I throw a glare out my window. Her eyes meet mine, and she honks… again. I proudly hold up my middle finger, meaning both that I need a minute and the other, well, you know.

I slide into an old pair of combat boots, jumping around my room on one leg, trying to get them on. When I do, I plant my hands on my hips, staring into my body mirror.

And I’m wearing a Hello Kitty t-shirt.

My head falls back. I strip it off and physically dive into the pile of clothes. Face down, I sniff, and realize that whatever I’m sniffing doesn’t smell too bad. I raise my head and pick it up. A sweater. The corners of my lips pull down into consideration.

“Hm.”

Back in front of my mirror, I push it over my head and remember that this is the sweater I only wear when I really, really want to because I can never get it over my head. I only wear it in a life-or-death situation. My arms drop.

I tug it off, but it’s stuck by my mouth. Every pull I attempt is for naught. I struggle and I struggle, teetering from side to side and knocking into my dresser. My perfumes, I assume, fall over. I drop to my knees and claw at the sweater, and begin to fight it.

“Get off me!”

I slump on my heels and give up for a moment.

“I’m not going.”

Then, with a sudden spark of determination, I battle my sweater with a few hard pulls until it finally lets me go.

“HAH!” I yell, and ball it up and throw it. “Bitch.”

Nina beeps. My iPhone is beside me on the carpet and I pick it up to check if she sent me any threats yet. A second after I press the home button, the little dead battery guy shows up. My eyes close briefly.

Then I chuck my phone at my pile of monster clothes.

Under my dresser, something peeks out. It’s black and looks like a shirt. Eyebrows cinched, I reach over and tug it out to hold it up. The fabric is soft under my touch, not from quality, but from age. One corner of my lips lifts.

I leave it on the floor and leave my room. Just then does my little brother leave his. I’m supposed to be watching him.

“Why aren’t you wearing a shirt?” he asks, disgusted.

“Shhh, shut up,” I tell him distractedly, placing my hand straight over his face and shoving him back into his room. “Go to bed.”

I march right for my parents’ room. It’s a good thing my dad is my size. It’ll definitely fit. The box on the top shelf of his closet is screaming at me. Opening the lid and picking up the piece of clothing, I smile at it like it’s my crush.

I’m back in my room and slip on the vintage David Bowie t-shirt and Dad’s leather jacket.

Perfect.

I grab my raggedy grey cross-body bag and decide to leave my phone. We have neighbors just in case my brother needs anything. It isn’t until I’m halfway out the window where he opens my bedroom door.

“Where are you going?”

“Out. To get food,” I lie. I’ve gotten pretty good at lying by now.

He sees through it, his brow raising and his lips curling in both disgust and annoyance. “Whatever. Bring me a slice of pizza and five dollars or else I rat.”

I wink. “You got it, little brother. Call the Bakers next door if you light the house on fire.” I kiss my fingers and wave before disappearing into the night.

With a smirk, I saunter toward Nina’s jam-packed car as if I’m not twenty minutes late. Bradley in the front seat sees me and scurries to the back, toppling across our four other friends.

Nina curses at me the moment I slide into the passenger’s seat.

“And where did you get that from?” she asks, gesturing to the jacket.

“Oh, this old thing? Just something I found in the back of my closet. It’s a gem, right?”

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Written by Marie Isabela

I'm a novelist and poet who drinks way too much coffee and reads way too many books.

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