Every night she imagined Smooth. Smooth, like the cheek of her baby sister lying under the rough soil outside. Smooth, like the coats of the ladies on the train, the ladies with Smooth lives who looked down their noses at the tangled girl far below them. Her Smooth was the color of peaches soft and perfectly round. She remembered a Smooth day, when a man held a peach out to her. It was summer and she took it from his hand, grateful for the refreshing fruit. She brushed his finger tips as he released it, his fingers were short and used, not Smooth, but well worn. That peach was her piece of Smooth, like a taste, of what surely had to come later. Not Smooth like the glass of the beer bottles that made her loving mother ragged. Not Smooth like the bumpers of her father’s car as he drove away. To find a better life, her mother said, to abandon his family the women at the corner said. Her life would be Smooth, like the inside of her mother’s locket, gold and shiny and new. Not smooth like the crisscrossed tights that the women outside her house wore, and that reminded the girl of a chain link fence, sharp and knotted.
At school the girl tried to draw Smooth, but it wasn’t right.
“What are you drawing?”
The girl sat alone, dreaming. She dreamed of a tall building, her tall building that reached to the sky, with a big bed that fit whole families, all together, happily. The shiny granite floors covered in the fancy rugs that were not handed down through generations of yard sales until they were nothing but rags. Walking home, the girl collected the cigarette butts, trash, soda tops, and bits of glass off the street, leaving a small trail of Smooth behind her.
Someday, she promised herself, she would be even, level, polished.
Age 14, Grade 8
Brooklyn Friends School