P.S. I Like You(6)

By: Kasie West



Two minutes later, there was a knock and then my mom appeared. “Your turn to unload the dishwasher.”

“Can I just finish this?” I ask, nodding down toward my guitar.

“I can’t start dinner until the sink is empty and the sink can’t be empty until the dishwasher is.”

I considered fighting for five more minutes but then I glanced up at my mom. She looked even more tired than usual.

“Okay, I’ll be right there.” I closed my eyes and played one more strum, letting the notes vibrate through my arms. My whole body relaxed.

“Hurry up, Lily!” my mom called.

Ugh.



The next morning before school, I stopped in the kitchen to grab some cereal. Mom had already dropped off Jonah and Wyatt, and was folding laundry in the den. Ashley was still getting ready (it took her hours) and my dad was at the kitchen table, reading a newspaper.

I took a box of cereal from the pantry and was pouring some into a bowl when I saw something on the counter that made me shake my head. Two necklaces lay on the beige granite, a piece of paper beneath each one. The necklace on the right had two checkmarks on the paper. The one on the left had two checkmarks.

“No,” I said.

My dad peeked over the top of his newspaper. “Just vote. It’s not a big deal.”

“You say it’s no big deal but then you make it a big deal. Whose friend did you rope into voting this time?” I asked, noting there were already four votes without mine.

“Voting is a privilege. There is no rope involved. It’s all in good fun.”

“Then they’re both equally pretty. I vote for both of them.”

“Nope. You have to choose.”

“You and Mom are weirdos. There is no hope for any of us when you two do weird things like this.” I poured myself some milk and sat down at the table. Dad’s newspaper was still in front of him as though he were reading. He was just trying to lull me into a false sense of security. Pretend like the competition didn’t matter.

“You know Mom is not going to leave you alone until you vote,” he said.

“Sure. It’s Mom that cares. Just tell me which one is yours and I’ll vote for it.”

“That would be cheating, Lil.”

“Why did you start this tradition? Mom doesn’t take over your job and try to outdo your fancy carved furniture.”

Dad chuckled. “She’d win for sure.”

I took a bite of cereal. To get his mind on a different track, I asked, “Why do we still get the newspaper? You know you can find these same stories on the Internet … yesterday?”

“I like to hold my words.”

I laughed, then stopped when I saw something on the page he held in front of him that changed my mind about newspapers.

Suddenly, I loved newspapers.

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“You ready to go?” Ashley asked, coming into the kitchen. She was yawning, but, as usual, she was perfectly put together, in skinny jeans, a pink scoop-neck T-shirt, and platform shoes, with her hair in a ponytail and her makeup flawless. Although we looked alike—same long, auburn hair, hazel eyes, and freckles—our style was totally opposite. Ashley would have fit in well with Lauren and Sasha at school.

“What?” I blinked at my sister, confused. “I mean, yes. I mean, Dad, can I have that?”

Dad looked at his plate, which had a half-eaten bagel on it, shrugged, and pushed it my way.

“Gross. No, the newspaper.”

“The paper? You want to read the paper?”

“Yes.”

Ashley came over and snatched the bagel off his plate.

“Hey, that was for Lily.”

“No, it wasn’t,” I said. “I want the paper, not the bagel.”

He grunted. “Nope, it still didn’t sound believable the second time I heard it either.”

“Funny, Dad.”

“You can have the paper if you go vote.”

I rolled my eyes, pushed my chair away from the table, and went back to examine the necklaces. The one on the right had feathers. My mom was going through a feather phase. I was normally a fan of my mom’s jewelry but the feather thing was a little too hippie for my tastes. Other people seemed to like it though. I lifted the one on the left. “This is your winner.”

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