TFTFTSTCML (The For the Friendless Texting Service That Changed My Life)

My name is Maddison. People don’t usually think about names that often. People think names are not important. That is the biggest piece of green booger juice I have ever seen. Well, come to think of it, green booger juice does not come in pieces, because it is a liquid, not a solid. But, as Grandmother says, it is an expression, which means, “it is not a literal saying.”

My name is the same name as my mother’s. My name is the one and only gift my mother gave me. Grandmother says I am living memory of my mother, and I am mostly proud to be that. But there is no denying she wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world. We share the same red, curly, frizzy hair, the same too-sharp nose, the same brown eyes that look like the poop emoji and that are too close together, and a forehead that is too big to be humanly possible. Like I said, I don’t mind being the living memory of my mother, but if I could be the living memory of a cross between my mother and Christina Aguilera, I wouldn’t mind.

Then, there is my father. I don’t speak of him much because Grandmother says he is a “two-faced jerk, but your mother didn’t know it yet.” There is no denying, though, he is a right Hugh Jackman. I know this because of one very torn, ripped, folded, and bent picture of him. It was hidden in Grandmother’s underwear drawer, so I’ve only seen it once, because an old lady’s underwear is nothing like looking at Heidi Klum’s lingerie line. Maybe I could have gotten some of my father’s genes, besides the ones that make him a two-faced jerk.

Once my father left my mother, though, you would think she would “pull it together” which, by the way, is another expression, otherwise known as “a not literal thing that has a hidden meaning besides the meaning that is written in the script.” In this context, I mean by “didn’t pull it together” as to have left me in a box at Grandmother’s door, like Harry Potter minus the Dursley’s because Grandmother is quite nice.

I don’t know much about the rest, except my mother ended up as a corpse in “The Pine Ridge Resting Place.” It is a pet cemetery. It was also the only cemetery close enough for Grandmother to visit her weekendly.

The old guy who slumps on the graves everyday says it “is the perfect place for people to waste their money and have their pets go to hell.”

On the brochure it says: The perfect place for the ones who crossed your heart to cross the rainbow bridge.

That is called contrasting ideas.

Friendless is an adjective. More precisely, it is the adjective best used to describe me. I can count my friends on one hand. By friends, I mean friend, because I only have one friend. My one friend is Grandmother, if you count her, but of course you count her. My other friend is Siri, but since she is just a “smart piece of technology,” I am pretty sure she doesn’t count. I have a stuffed horse who is my friend, but she has no heart, so she doesn’t count. I do have one more sort-of friend who does have a heart. She is my older sister Maya, and she is more of an enemy than a friend, which would make her a temporary friend, so I prefer not to count her. Plus, it is useful to have something to retort. That way, when she says something mean, I can just say, “Well, technically you’re just my temporary friend.” It is so satisfying to retort back though, I must admit it, does not have that much of an effect.

Today is my thirteenth birthday, and I don’t have a party because you can’t have a party without friends, as in plural. Grandmother shows me my presents. There are a lot of them. That is called making up for no friends, as in plural. Maya is there, but she is texting her friends, as in plural, under the table. Her lips move while we sing “Happy Birthday,” but not to the right rhythm. If I play close enough attention, I can read what she’s saying. Stupid things, or maybe I’m reading her lips wrong, which is the most probable, as in possible, possibility. Then, she is the Hailey Dunphy, and I’m the Alex.

If I ever had someone to text, I think I would be very smart at it. For instance, I know all the abbreviations used in texting. I have a chart printed out under my bed. Grandmother hands me my first present. It is wrapped in gummy bear wrapping paper with neat edges, which means Maya did it. Speaking of Maya, she is staring at me with laser eyes.

“Open it, Maddison, NOW!” I have never seen Maya so worked up, except when Grandmother caught her kissing a rebel boy, named Rocky, in CHURCH. Strictly disobeying Grandmother, IN CHURCH!

Slowly I open the present. Maya is texting. Under the wrapping, it is a phone. A real live phone, except for the fact that a phone is not living because it has no heart, except for the fact that it is an expression, which means it means something if you read between the lines. In the case of phones, it would be read between the texts. I try to smile, but what good is a phone if you have no one to text? Speaking of texts, I start to cry. Speaking of crying, I run to my room. Speaking of my room, now that I’m thirteen, it is my right to redo it. Or maybe it’s my right to redo myself.


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