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A Teenage Novel Diet

CHAPTER ONE

"Hey, Edie, where you headed? Aren't you going to choir practice this afternoon?" Kat shouted over the din of after-school noises. Before Edie could utter a response, Kat found herself on the floor, gasping for air.

"Darnell, that was so messed up. I saw what you did!" Edie yelled.

Darnell smiled, showing his beautiful white teeth against his very black skin and mockingly bowing toward Kat as he continued down the hallway backward.

"Sorry, Katherine, didn't mean to bump into you, sorry." As he passed Edie, he half-whispered, "Whaddya expect with you two whales blocking the hallway?" Edie swung her book bag at him, but missed and nearly fell as a result of the centrifugal force of the bag missing its mark.

She tossed her bag on the floor and knelt beside Kat, who was bleeding from the mouth. "God, are you OK? Do you need to go to the nurse? Gross! There's blood all over your hand. What's bleeding?"

"It's nothing really. I think my braces just cut the inside of my lip a little. It seems to be stopping already. I think I have some napkins in my locker. Could you get them for me?"

Edie managed to get herself up off the floor, which was no easy task at five foot four and just under 200 pounds. She found the napkins and handed them to Kat, still sprawled on the floor. Students were walking all around them, pretending they weren't there, which was really hard to do as Kat was pretty much the same size as Edie. But both Kat and Edie were fairly accustomed to being ignored. It was an interesting phenomenon. It seemed the bigger they got, the more invisible they became, except when someone like Darnell wanted to make some point of embarrassing them.

"Why do people do things like that?" Kat asked rhetorically. "It's so mean. Does he really get pleasure out of making other people feel bad?"

"It beats me," Edie responded. Though she was quite sure that Darnell did take pleasure in hurting people. She knew the type. Her father was like that, charming on the outside and mean as hell on the inside. Edie shivered, thinking about her father, happy that her mother had finally managed to extricate them from his life. It wasn't easy, but her mom had figured out how to finally accomplish that feat. Edie was extremely proud of her mother, and fully understood why her mother was so strict with her. She didn't always like it, but she understood.

"Here, let me help you up." Edie put out her hand to Kat. She grabbed on and managed to lumber up, grunting with effort in the process.

"So where are you headed with your coat on already?" Kat asked again.

"I have a dentist appointment this afternoon. Believe me, I'd much rather be going to choir practice."

"Well, OK then. Thanks for your help. I'll see you tomorrow." Kat liked choir practice better when Edie was there. She liked having Edie's strong voice next to her so the altos nearby didn't throw her off. Kat didn't have a particularly good voice, but she had a wonderful music sense. In fact, she played the piano amazingly well, but it just didn't translate well to her vocal cords. Maybe one day she'd take singing lessons.

She enjoyed choir practice as they were doing Gershwin's Porgy & Bess. She much preferred jazz to the classical music she was being forced to learn during her piano lessons. Her mom thought she should be more cultured. Her mom had divorced her father because he wasn't good enough for her-too crass and ignorant about the "arts." He had made a lot of money in construction, so they lived in a really nice house in Society Hill, but her mom made him leave. If Kat had had a choice, she would have chosen to live with her dad. He was much more fun to be with. Her mother was always trying to move up the social scale. She'd go to the concerts and operas and all kinds of charity benefits. Kat knew her mom was bored as hell most of the time, because she didn't really know or understand anything about music, but just figured it was a good way to meet a wealthy guy that was "someone." Kat thought it was really stupid to spend all kinds of time doing stuff that bored you just to impress someone. And besides, what was the point of meeting someone who liked to do things that bored you? For a smart lady, her mother could be really dumb sometimes!

Kat came home after choir practice to an empty house for a change. There was a note on the fridge that her mom had a date-so what else was new-and that she could heat up some leftovers that were in the fridge for dinner.

She turned on the TV to keep herself company and then stuck her head in the fridge to see what the leftovers were. Her mother was into all kinds of health food, so she doubted she'd be very interested in the leftovers. Her mom was very slender. It was no wonder since all she seemed to eat was horrible stuff that was supposed to be healthy. As far as Kat was concerned though, it all tasted like cardboard. If that's what it took to be slim, then forget it. She'd rather be fat.

As she suspected, there was a dish of vegetables with what she thought was probably tofu, but looked more like vomit. Ugh! No way was she going to eat that crap. Her mother never kept anything "decent" to eat in the house, because she figured it would help her lose weight. She was constantly nagging her and giving her dirty looks whenever she ate anything that wasn't on her mother's OK list.

Fortunately for Kat, she had a generous allowance, so she decided to go get a Jim's cheesesteak with extra cheese to go. She stopped off on her way home from Jim's and got one of those fabulous double chocolate-chip cookies from Famous. God, they were to die for. Her mouth was watering for the cookie so badly she almost ate it on the way home, but managed to exert enough self-control to save it for dessert.

She ate her dinner in the living room, watching MTV. If someone had been in the next room, he or she might have thought she was making out rather than eating, as Kat groaned with pleasure with each morsel of chocolate-chip cookie that she put in her mouth. Kat just couldn't imagine eating the way her mother did. It wouldn't be a life worth living.

When Kat was finished eating, she took all the telltale wrappers and carefully buried them deep into the bowels of the trash masher, where her mother was sure not to notice. Then she took the vegetables and tofu, and sent them down the garbage disposal, but purposefully left the dirty dish in the sink.

Her mom was pretty easy to keep in the dark about things. Kat was sure it was because her mom didn't really like her, so she didn't much care what Kat did. Her mom never hugged her except when it was for show in front of other people, and even then Kat could sense her discomfort doing it. She never said anything complimentary or nice to Kat, mostly she just nagged her. Kat was kind of glad her mom was rarely home.

Kat's dad, Mark, though made her feel very special. Whenever they were together, she always came first. He touched and hugged her a lot, like he really cared. He made her feel good about herself. He didn't lie or anything, but when it was deserved, he always complimented her. She loved her father so much. She wished she could spend more time with him. She vowed that when she was old enough, she would live with her dad and leave her mother to her own devices. She was sure it would make her mother happy anyway. The only reason her mother kept her around, Katherine was convinced, was because it would be too embarrassing to explain why she was living with her father.

Chapter 2 >