Growing Up

Chapter 1

I sat, watching the sunset with Beetle. 

Two hours earlier I’d read her a story that I’d written, where a girl’s mom dies and she’s found by the queen and becomes a princess, but then the queen almost gets assasinated, but they flee and live happily ever after. When I’d said, “The End,” and asked if she liked it, she’d squirmed.

“What?” I asked her.

“Well, don’t you think… that we’re — well, too old for stories about princesses, talking animals, and happy endings? Maybe we should read about more grown-up things, like kidnappings, or murder mysteries,” Beetle said. 

I didn’t think so. I liked to write about princesses and talking animals. I liked knowing there would be a happily ever after. But I didn’t want to lose Beetle as a friend. I noticed that she’d been growing up faster. She told me to drop that nickname and just call her Beatrice, like her real name was. But she was lodged in my mind as Beetle. 

“I guess,” I responded. “I’ll revise it so the queen dies because the mom turns into a zombie.”

Beetle smiled. “Now that’s a good ending.”

I studied her face to see if she was joking. She was wearing the usual: blush, lip gloss, pink eyeliner. She’d brought her quilt, but I knew underneath she was wearing something maturer than me. I just had on a wool sweater over a t-shirt and some jeans, along with no makeup. My unbrushed hair whipped into my face.

“It’s getting late. And windy. And I need to revise this story,” I said, getting up. 

Beetle waved goodbye as we got to the fork in the road that separated our houses. As I walked in my house, which was a quiet lavender with a yellow door and trim, I alerted my mom that I was there, and then ate my very cold meatloaf. After I finished, I went to my room, got out a piece of paper, and wrote the incredibly morbid, apparently ‘mature’ story I promised Beetle. After an hour or two of writing, my eyelids started to droop. I slowly changed into some pajamas, brushed my teeth, and pulled the black ringlets of my hair into a bun. 

“Eira! Bedtime!” My mom called out. But I didn’t answer. I was already in a deep sleep.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *