Excerpts for What My Mother Doesn't Know


Nicknames

Most people just call me Sophie

(which is the name

on my birth certificate),

or Sof,

or sometimes Sofa.

Zak and Danny think it's cute

to call me Couch,

as in:

"How're your cushions doing today, Couch?"

Or sometimes they call me Syphilis,

which I don't find one bit funny.

My parents usually call me

Sophie Dophie or Soso.

And Rachel and Grace call me Fifi,

or sometimes just Fee.

But Dylan calls me Sapphire.

He says it's because of my eyes.

I love the way his voice sounds

when he says it.

Sapphire.

I like whispering it to myself.

His name for me.

Sapphire.

It's like the secret password

to my heart.

Sixth Sense

Sometimes I just know things.

Like when Lou asked me to go on that walk

down by the reservoir last year

on the last day of eighth grade.

I knew he was going to say

he wanted to break up with me.

And I knew my heart

would shatter

when he did.

I just know things.

I can feel them coming.

Like a couple of weeks ago

when I went to the Labor Day party at Zak's.

Something perfect was going to happen.

I just knew it.

That was the night I met Dylan.

How It Happened

After Zak's party,

Rachel's big sister

came to drive a bunch of us home,

with her friend

and her friend's younger brother.

I was the last one to get in the car

and it turned out

all the other laps were taken,

so I had to sit on

Rachel's sister's friend's brother's lap.

It was

Dylan's lap,

but even though he goes to my school

I'd never seen him before.

And he had such smoldery dark eyes

that I felt like I'd been zapped

smack into the middle

of some R-rated movie

and everyone else in the car

was just going to fade away

and this guy and I

were going to start making out,

right then and there,

without ever having said

one word to each other.

But what really happened

was that he blushed and said,

"Hi. I'm Dylan."

And I blushed back and said,

"I'm Sophie."

And he said, "Nice name."

And I said, "Thanks."

After that we didn't say anything else

but our bodies seemed to be

carrying on a conversation of their own,

leaning together

into every curve of the road,

sharing skin secrets.

And just before we got to my house,

I thought I felt him

give my waist an almost squeeze.

Then the car rolled to a stop

and I climbed out

with my whole body buzzing.

I said good night,

headed up the front walk,

and when I heard the car pulling away,

I looked back over my shoulder

and saw Dylan looking over his shoulder

at me.

When our eyes connected,

this miracle smile lit up his face

and I practically had

a religious experience.

Then I went upstairs to bed

and tried to fall asleep,

but I felt permanently wide awake.

And I kept on seeing that smile of his

and feeling that almost squeeze.

Distracted in Math Class

All I have to do

is close my eyes

and I can feel his lips,

the way they felt

that very first time.

I can feel the heat of them,

parting just slightly,

brushing across my cheek,

moving closer

and closer still

to my mouth,

till I can hardly breathe,

hardly bear to wait

for them to press onto mine.

All I have to do

is close my eyes.

Between Classes with Dylan

We fall into step

in the crowded hall

without even glancing

at each other,

but his little finger

finds mine,

hooking us

together,

and all the clatter

of the corridor fades away

till the only sound I can hear

is the whispering of our fingers.

In the Cafeteria

Sitting alone

with Dylan.

Eating my sandwich,

but not

tasting it.

I'm only aware of

the sparks in his eyes,

the sun in his hair

and the spot where his knee's

touching mine.

Then, over his shoulder,

I see Rachel and Grace waving at me,

grinning like pumpkins,

holding up this little sign

with "Remember us?" written on it.

In the Girls' Bathroom

"Is he a good kisser?"

Rachel asks.

"Unbelievable," I say.

And it's true.

Dylan's kisses

seem like something

much better than kissing.

It's like

I can feel them

with my whole body.

That never used to happen

when Lou kissed me.

And he's the only other boy

I've ever made out with.

"Has he tried to get to second base?"

Grace wants to know.

But the bell rings just in time.

It's Been Rachel, Grace and Me

Ever Since

That September afternoon,

when third grade had barely begun

and we were just getting

to know each other,

we skipped through

the first fallen leaves,

weaving our way through

the quiet neighborhood

to Sage Market for Häagen-Dazs bars.

That September afternoon,

when we saw the four older girls

pedaling towards us,

we didn't expect them to stop

or to leap off their bikes

and suddenly surround us.

But they did.

And we had no idea that the biggest one,

Mary Beth Butler,

who had these glinting slits for eyes,

would ask Rachel

what church she belonged to.

That September afternoon,

after Rachel mumbled, "Saint James's,"

we didn't know that Mary Beth

would ask Grace the same question,

or that Grace would squeak out,

"North-Prospect.

And it's none of your business."

But she did.

And when Mary Beth asked me the question

and I said I didn't go to church

because I was Jewish,

I didn't think she'd start shouting

at Rachel and Grace,

"Don't you know you aren't supposed

to play with anyone

who doesn't go to church?"

while her friends glared

and tightened their circle around us.

That September afternoon,

when Rachel kicked Mary Beth in the shin

and the three of us

crashed through the cage of bikes,

racing off together

across the nearest lawn,

scrambling through the hedge

and into the alley,

not stopping till we

were locked safely behind

the heavy oak of Rachel's front door,

we didn't know that we'd just become

best friends.

But we had.

Text copyright © 2001 by Sonya Sones



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