Writing prompt from my last writers’ group meeting*: Write a poem or story about opposites. You have ten minutes.
I’ve got this dead girl who follows me around. I keep her inside me like a secret, and she doesn’t like that. Sometimes she swells up like when you smack your shin with a Razor scooter and a bump appears there with a bruise. My mom always puts a cold pack on it, to keep the swelling down, she says. Maybe it works, because when she’s not home and I get that bump, it’s usually bigger. So when the dead girl swells up inside me, I try to put a mental cold pack on her, to keep her down. Otherwise, like when it first started and I didn’t know what was happening, she takes over my face and my body. She makes me sleep or cry. She makes me search up sad music videos on YouTube, and take selfies where I’m not smiling. My mom says I have a beautiful smile.
The dead girl doesn’t smile at all. I don’t know why she follows me but I have to protect myself so I imagine that I’m eating her The first time I saw her was when I walked to 7-11 all by myself to get milk for our breakfast and a donut for me. My mom gave me $5 and I bought the organic milk by accident so I didn’t have enough money for the donut. But some policemen were there buying coffee, and donuts too, so they paid for my donut for me. That made me happy, but when I came outside I looked up and saw the girl sitting on the brick wall that borders the parking lot. She looks like me kind of but her skin is so white and like I said, she never smiles. I don’t know why but seeing her made me feel sad and I forgot about my happy feeling and I just thought about not having enough money and I felt scared and sad the whole way home.
After that I saw her sometimes behind me in the mirror, and sometimes at school, and more often over the summer when I got bored. So now I just bring her with me. As long as she doesn’t take over, everything is fine. Like when we have Math Honor Society, which makes me happy, I play loud happy music before school and I dance around. That’s the cold pack. That keeps her from swelling so she won’t ruin my tutoring sessions.
I wonder if other kids have dead kids follow them, too, or if I’m the only one. I’m too scared to ask because what if nobody else does but me?
*I was also inspired by a song that my friend Sam Pocker wrote, whose chorus is “I’ve got this dead girl, she follows me around.”