What everyday is like is this. I hear an ambulance and I think it’s coming for somebody I love. Babette called me “old soul,” and she called Tatiana Eleanor Cruz “little punk bullet.” What that meant for me was I was in a perpetual state of stress and it showed on my face. Tatiana, she was smart and sassy, but one day she’d have a temper. There’s a fun way of being beside yourself with the riffraff of hating another girl, but when she invited me to her fourteenth birthday party, things blew up.
How it started was this. My dad made me go and buy her a present with my allowance and said I had to spend the day. He said unless I got the stomach flu (which I wouldn’t, not this time of year, dad said so), I had to get happy about it and zip my trap. So what she was getting from me was a mood ring I bought at Kmart. How us girls knew each other was just one of those things. I was an ugly girl but Tatiana wasn’t, she had full-pouted red lips and luminous brown hair like a fresh coat of paint. The boys looked, and Babette called her eyes sultry, and that meant she was looking good for twenty-five, way too good for fourteen.