The ages of 12-15 are pretty horrible years. You're hitting puberty, probably have braces, shitty hair and skin, horrible clothes, and hate everything in the world. I am no exception to the above. I think I have three pictures that are solid documentary evidence that I did, in fact, exist.
When I was 14, I thought I was the toughest bitch around. I shaved the back of my head, wore flannel shirts, baggy pants, and a choker (it was the '90s; don't judge me). One day, I was sneakily smoking a cigarette out my bedroom window, when my mother called me downstairs. She wanted to take me clothes shopping! This was relatively unheard of because it was well past back to school shopping, not Christmas or my birthday. Cautiously, I agreed to go. Into the car we go, just me and mom. We lived pretty close to the mall, so I didn't understand why she was getting on the highway. As we drove, I realized that she wasn't taking the exit to the mall. Panic struck. "Where are you taking me?" Nothing. No answer, just driving. Now I'm losing my mind; I had been duped and my mother has lost her mind. After several minutes of screaming my head off, she finally told me: we were going to a church to go see a visiting statute of Mary. Oh, and I was getting blessed. I blacked out from rage. I'm being held hostage for Jesus.
We got to the church and I refused to leave the car. I made a huge scene, mortifying my mother. Like many desperate parents do in those situations, she offered a deal: she would get me whatever I wanted if I just went inside.
I had the upper hand! What would any badass teen want that they can't get on their own? Cigarettes. I made the offer, never thinking she would agree. But... she did. She promised she would buy them for me on the way home.
Into the church we went. There I was, this sort of lesbian-looking, miserable teen, standing in front of a church full of old women and Mary. But I did it and didn't burn, surprisingly.
We left and didn't talk much. I felt like I had been victimized. My mother looked dejected and sad. But! A deal was a deal, which I reminded her of frequently the whole ride home.
She pulled into a gas station a few miles from our house, went in and bought my cigarettes. She gave them to me as I sat in the front seat, shocked. Because I was a complete and total asshole, I decided to smoke one. I lit the cigarette. Then, the unexpected happened. I felt guilty. Overwhelmingly guilty. Angry, I threw it out after only a few drags.
When we got home, I went to my room and couldn't wait to tell my friends what a sucker my mom was! But those phone calls never happened. I couldn't bring myself to do it. I kept thinking about how disappointed my mother looked when she walked out of that gas station, over and over. Then, I did the unthinkable: I gave the pack back to my mother. I literally could not smoke another one.
We never really discussed what happened. We didn't have to; she won. All those years of Catholic guilt paid off. I did the right thing.
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