Cigarette Story

by Ruby Sheehan, age 12
Cigarette Story Ruby is a 7th grade girl who enjoys surfing and the beach. She is the founder of her school's feminism club.

“I swear I’m not that bad of a liar. I have to do it quite often. My mom sat me and my sister down at the dining room table as though we had killed someone.”

“It wasn’t me, it was her.”

My mom found cigarettes under my bed and I had to make up an extraordinary lie so she wouldn’t think they were mine. The extraordinary lie I came up with was that they were my sister’s. So great, I know. I swear I’m not that bad of a liar. I have to do it quite often. My mom sat me and my sister down at the dining room table as though we had killed someone.

“Mom, you really think I would do something like that?”

“Yes, actually, I do,” she responded.

“Wow, good to know how you think of me.”

“I didn’t mean it that way.”

“Yeah sure,” I responded sarcastically.

“Mom, you know I would never do something like that,” my sister said emphatically.

“Yes, I do know that honey,”

“Are you serious Mom?!” I shot back at her.

“Yes I am serious. Your sister is the good one in the family,” my mother said slowly, each word stinging a little.

“Why the hell do you think I would have cigarettes when my father died of lung cancer from smoking?! Violet wasn’t nearly as close with him as I was, so it was obviously her,” I snapped, thinking how good of a lie that was.

“Mom, please, how could you believe that?”

“Come on, Violet, you obviously hid them under my bed so I would take the blame because, after all, you are the good one in the family,” I exclaimed, storming off to my room.

“Sage, get back here right now.”

I moved a little bit quicker up the stairs. I began to think that I couldn’t live in this house anymore. I went to search for information about my mysterious older brother. My mom had him way before me and, when my parents got divorced, he moved in with my father before he passed so now we aren’t sure where he is. According to my mom, he has adopted similar habits to my father, including a lot of drugs and alcohol. But screw it, I’d go anywhere rather than staying here.

I searched my mother’s closet and under her bed, where I saw a box with a lock on it. This has got to be where it is, but how to do I get into it? I thought of all the important dates and valuable numbers. I tried everything possible. Then I realized I’d forgotten to try my birth year, and to my surprise that was the code. I felt kind of better, because at least my birth was worth putting on a lock. I found so many interesting things in this box, like pictures of my father and a mug shot of my mother. Wow, that was quite a shock. What could my goody-two-shoes mother have done to get a mug shot?  After a few minutes of searching, I found a letter with his address. I packed up my stuff and planned to leave the next morning at dawn. The night was long and dark and I laid awake, waiting for the sun to rise. I gathered snacks, soda, and candy–all I needed to survive on my journey.  

 

***

It was cloudy and sad outside, which wasn’t helpful for my mood at the moment. My older brother’s house was about a five-day walk away, which I was definitely not doing, so I just needed to walk to the nearest train station. I checked Google Maps. It was a two-day walk.  Crap. That’s a long time. Whatever. I began walking towards the direction of the train station, and what do you know, I ran into my best friend Isabel driving her car to school. Ugh, this is the worst possible time to run into my over-protective best friend. I put my hoodie over my head and walked quickly past her car. She flew by and I think, Phew I’m good, she didn’t see me. Next thing I knew, I heard a car swerve around and Isabel was pulling up on the side of the road next to me. Damnit. My entire run away plan is screwed.  

“Sage, what are you doing? Shouldn’t you be going to school?” she said, intimidatingly.

“No, I don’t have to go if I don’t want to.”

“Oh wow, you’re feeling salty.”

“Yeah I am, so you can leave me alone now.” I said, getting really vexed.

“Okay, but only if you tell me where you’re going,” she responded, acting like my mother.

“The train station. Now I’m not saying anymore.”

“I’m coming with you,” she responded.

“No you’re not.”

“Yes I am.”

“Please Isabel, now is not the time. I’m really not in the mood to be arguing with you. I need to be alone right now.”

“If there is a serious reason, you need to tell me. And I can either help you or come with you.”

After minutes of her pleading for me to tell her, I finally gave in and explained the whole situation with the cigarettes and my running away plan.

“SHE FOUND OUR CIGARETTES?! MY MOM’S GOING TO FIND OUT AND SLAUGHTER ME!”

“It’s fine, I got it under control. I blamed it on Violet. I mean, she didn’t believe me, but still it’s fine.”

“Oh god Sage, we’re screwed. Did they find the weed?”

“Of course not. I hid that a lot better, because if they saw that I would be in a whole lot more trouble.”

“Okay, at least they didn’t find the weed. Cigarettes aren’t that bad.”

“Yeah, I’m not that stupid.”

“Because of the circumstances, the cigarettes and your mom’s bullcrap again, I give you permission to run away,” she confirmed, acting like I cared if she gave me permission.

“Glad to know you approve. I must be on my way now,” I responded with a pretty rude tone that made me feel bad after saying it.

 

***

I finally arrived at my brothers wrecked shack at the end of a long sketchy road. My heart was racing as fast as a subway car as I walked up the creaky, wooden steps. I knocked at the door and took two steps back. A tall, drowsy, drunk guy opened it. My heart sunk to my toes as I realized he was just like my father before he died: a crazy, drunk, guy. He looked at me with a confused face as though I meant nothing to him. I looked back with a longing desire for him to recognize me.

“Sorry, I must have the wrong address.”

“Get out, kid.”

 

***

His harsh words were not helpful to my lingering feeling of neglect. My sister, my mother, and now my brother. I turned around with an aching heart, dreading my upcoming journey back home. I felt tons of different emotions as I walked up to my driveway, nervous for how my mother was going to react, happy that I would be in the comfort of my own home, and just generally confused about how I felt. What do I do now? I never wanted to come back here.  

I pulled out my key and adjusted it to fit into the hole. The tension I felt vanished.

 

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