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Teen Fiction: Unexpected Growth Spurt

Malky Cope

Instead of hanging the skirt back up in the closet where it would continue to tempt me, I crumpled it into a bag

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

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P eer pressure. The pull of the moment. I don’t know how else to explain why I did what I did. What is it about peer pressure that it manages to unravel even the best of intentions?

I had already agreed not to wear it anymore. It was my favorite skirt. You know the type that’s awesomely comfortable and looks great with all your tops. But in recent weeks, I had experienced a growth spurt and as my mother (diplomatically) pointed out to me one day, unfortunately my skirt had not grown along with me. It was time for it to go. And I had assured her that I would get rid of it.

I hadn’t yet actually managed to translate my words into actions, though. Which was how it came to be that as I was riffling through my closet, looking for a skirt to match my top, my eyes fell on that particular skirt. It was still hanging there. I had other skirts, longer ones that fit better, but none of them matched as perfectly with the top I was wearing. I decided to wear the skirt just one more time. My mother was out for the next couple of hours, so she would never know.

Deep down, I knew my reasoning was wrong. Dressing correctly wasn’t just for my mother; it was for myself, for my own benefit. But the pressure of wanting to look trendy for my friends, whom I was going out with, made me deliberately ignore that fact. I put the skirt on, feeling a little guilty, and before I could change my mind there was a knock at the door. Hurriedly I threw on my coat and went to open the door. I tried to suppress my conflicting feelings as I greeted my friend Aliza and followed her out to the car where my other friends were already seated.

Aliza’s mother had kindly volunteered to drive the four of us to the supermarket so we could stock up on food supplies for our upcoming School Shabbos while she did her weekly grocery shopping. She left us at the entrance, warning us that we only had one hour to complete our shopping. Feeling rushed by the time limit, we took our carts and hurried over to the nosh aisle. The next hour was spent deliberating over important teenage decisions like whether to choose fat-free healthy chips versus the good old fattening barbecue ones and filling up our carts with more junk food than we could realistically eat over a single Shabbos. Finally, after being urged by Aliza’s mother that she was ready to pay, we finished and trooped over with her to the checkout.

As we were standing there waiting to pay, I suddenly remembered that my mother had asked me to buy her some good-quality baking chocolate. I asked the friend standing behind me to watch my cart and ran to grab a package, making it back to the line before it was my turn. Once everyone had finished paying, we settled back into the car, each of us clutching our own shopping bags, not wanting to mix up our purchases with anyone else’s. 

Feeling giddy from our successful shopping trip, the return trip was filled with excited chattering about the upcoming event. In fact, I had all but forgotten about the skirt I was wearing until I got home and happened to glance down. I quickly headed to my room to change into something else before my mother returned. Instead of hanging the skirt back up in the closet where it would continue to tempt me, I crumpled it into a bag and threw it under my desk, assuring myself that I really would never wear the skirt again. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 708)

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