Put your hand down.
Because you might get the answer wrong. And that is assuming Miss Garcia picks you out of everyone else that has got their hand up.
But I know what the answer is.
Is that so? What is it, then?
It’s… um… forty nine.
Are you sure?
Uh huh. I finished memorizing my seven times tables last week, and seven times seven makes forty nine.
Really? Are you sure seven times seven doesn’t make fifty six? Or was it forty two?
No, it’s forty nine. I think. Um… I’m not so sure now.
Of course you’re not. You never were sure to begin with. Wouldn’t it be embarrassing if you got the answer wrong?
Yeah, I guess it would.
Precisely. You would be a laughing stock for a long long time—the silly girl that doesn’t know the answer to something as simple as seven times seven. You don’t want that, do you?
No, I don’t.
Go on, then, put your hand down. We’ll let someone smart answer the question.
That’s a good girl.
Why did you make me put my hand down? The answer really was forty nine.
Why risk it? Better safe than sorry.
Now Noah Evans got a cookie when it could’ve been me.
So what? You can get a cookie anytime you like. Is it worth the risk of looking like an idiot in front of everyone?
That’s what I thought. It’s all in the past, anyway. Nothing you can do about it.
Yeah, I… I guess you’re right.
You know I’m right.
Don’t think I didn’t notice the way you were looking at Lily Cartwright today. You have a crush on her, don’t you?
I do not!
Come now, it’s normal for someone to have these feelings at your age. You’re thirteen now, for goodness sake. We’ve come so far together, and you’re going to stop listening to me now?
No, of course not. You’ve been… helpful, I guess. So, what should I do about… about these feelings?
You’re not thinking of asking Lily Cartwright out, are you?
I mean… I suppose I do want to get to know her better.
And what makes you think SHE wants to get to know YOU better?
Precisely. Do not bother with someone way out of your league. Save yourself the embarrassment and forget about her.
It wouldn’t hurt to at least ask, right?
It would, actually. Rejection is unimaginably painful. Be glad you have me to warn you before it’s too late.
But I like her.
And I LOVE you, dear girl. Why else would I be giving you such thoughtful advice? My job is to protect you from having your feelings hurt, or worse. Think about how self-conscious you’ll feel for months after getting rejected. You will see yourself as ugly, undesirable and foolish, when I know you are none of these things. Oh, and everyone at school will laugh at you for thinking you ever had a chance.
I… I suppose you have a point.
Finally. You can be unreasonable at times, dear girl.
Stop crying, dear girl. You’re seventeen; much too old to be making a fool out of yourself, and on prom night, no less.
I couldn’t bear it any longer, okay? Watching Lily hold someone else’s hips. It could’ve been me!
She would not have liked you.
Stop acting like you weren’t there when she asked me to prom! She was upset after the break up, remember? I was so excited. It should’ve been the happiest day of my life. But instead of saying “yes” like any other girl lucky enough to get close to Lily would, you made up an excuse for me.
If you had accepted, you would soon realize just how unsuitable you are. How small, weak, and pathetic you are compared to Lily. And once SHE notices this about you, the pain will be unbearable. Beautiful people are like that.
She’s not like that. Not Lily.
Perhaps. But why risk it? There is the pain of a breakup to consider. Not to mention—
SHUT UP. Please, for once, just shut up.
I am only trying to help, dear girl.
No, you’re not. I don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s not helping.
Come now, you don’t mean that. You’re simply exhausted from all that sobbing.
You’re right. I am exhausted. And I’m going home.
See, what did I tell you? You can’t live without me.
No, I chose this myself because I don’t want to let Mother down.
Did you, really? Are you quite certain that wasn’t me whispering for you to ditch your foolish creative writing endeavors? Are you quite certain that wasn’t me giving you a pat on the back for finally sending the application letter?
I’m good at maths. Chemical engineering is exactly my style.
But do you LIKE it?
Answer me, girl. Was this not all my doing, saving your future from an unsustainable career?
I don’t know. I don’t know anymore.
Good evening, dear girl. It’s been a while. Must you shut me out so often?
I’m a grownup now, you know. I don’t need you.
Just because there are longer gaps between my… visits, doesn’t mean you don’t need me. You still do, as you always have, and always will. We are one and can only function as one, a perfect symbiosis.
That’s what you want me to think. So that you have a reason for staying.
The facts speak for themselves. Remember that party you went to during freshman year? You wanted to show off that tiny dress of yours oh so badly. After those guys touched you, you were THIS close to reporting them. I saved you the embarrassment. The world must never know how much of a slut you are.
What is this? No objections? I thought you hated me so. Perhaps you have finally realized how much we need one another.
You can’t exist without me. That’s true. But I think it’s time we found out how well I do on my own. Without you.
A ridiculous notion.
College does things to you. It’s a fresh start, a new leaf. I’ve made so many friends, found new hobbies, and they’ve showed me that the world can be bigger than… this.
What on earth are you talking about?
It’s time for you to go. I’m going to close my eyes and count to three. When I’m done, you’ll be gone. Forever.
You think all those therapy sessions can hurt me? It’s a scam, and you know it.
Come now, let’s be sensible. You still need me.
You need me. Are you even listening? YOU NEED ME YOU NEED ME YOU NEED ME YOU NEED ME YOU NEED—
Finally. Oh god, finally.