Copy Cat

Elizabeth meets her friend Marty at their usual spot in the park for some afternoon fun.

Elizabeth likes to hang out in the park with Marty. They’ve been going there together since they were little kids.

I try not to do everything my sister Stacy does. Really. I can’t help it that I like the same music as her. Or that her friends don’t mind hanging out with me when she’s at work. Or that I got the same hoodie she has. Lots of girls have hoodies like this. And it’s not my fault that Mom bought us those shirts that look alike, or that we both like purple.

But, there are some things Stacy does that I swear I’ll never do. Like kissing boys, and piercing my nose, and getting bad grades, and stuff like that.

I was thinking about that while I crossed the street to meet Marty at the park. I like Marty a lot. But I don’t like like him. Not like that. He’s more like my brother, or my cousin or something. I don’t get to see him as much as I used to since his parents split ’cause now he spends some nights with his dad across town. And he’s got some new friends over there he keeps talking about. But they don’t go to our school, so I’ve never met them. Today before math class he nudged me in the hall and told me to meet him after school in the park by his mom’s house ’cause he has a surprise for me. I love surprises.

I didn’t hear him calling ’cause I had my iPod blasting, but I saw him waving from the bench we call base. We’ve been meeting there since we were young. I plunked down next to him and put my headphones on his head so he could hear my new favorite band. He bobbed along for a minute while I zippered my hoodie and rubbed my jeans to keep warm. Then, he reached into his pocket for something. For a minute I was scared that it was a present for me, you know, something mushy, like a ring or bracelet or something. Like I said, I don’t really like like Marty. But sometimes I worry that he likes likes me.

Anyway, it wasn’t a ring or jewelry at all. It was a blunt in aluminum foil. “In case it rained,” he said, looking all proud and clever. I looked over my shoulder, suddenly feeling nervous, thinking about Stacy and how much she and her friends laugh when they’ve been smoking. It sure seems like they’re having fun.

“Wanna puff?” Marty asked.