Click here to Download The Way I Used to Be PDF Book by Amber Smith Language English having PDF Size 4 MB and No of Pages274.
He catches me staring at him, trying to figure out what kind of game he’s playing. I don’t know what expression I must be wearing, but his smile fades a little, and his eyes look at me hard too, like he might be trying to figure out why I’m trying to figure him out. Somewhere, my brain tells me I should be listening as the two other girls introduce themselves, but I can’t. “Thank you for the introductions—this is great.
The Way I Used to Be PDF Book r Smithby Ambe
|Name of Book||The Way I Used to Be|
|PDF Size||4 MB|
|No of Pages||274|
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So, I think the thing to do at this meeting is establish some logistics,” Miss Sullivan says through the fog of my brain. Cameron redirects his attention to her, and I follow. “What sounds reasonable to you? Two books a month? One? Three? I don’t know. We can vote on which books we would like to read together—we’ll do the reading on our own time, and then these lunch sessions will be for discussion. Thoughts?”
“This is just the beginning—me and Cameron. We can only get closer from here on out, right?” She trails off, looking into the distance. And I know I’ve lost her; she’s gone into her obsessive fantasizing state: “Yeah,” she continues, finally looking at me again, her eyes wide. “We’ll get to know him now that we’re all doing this book thing. We’ll become friends first. They always say that’s better, anyway.
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It will be—” I have to tune her out, though, because she could go on like this for hours, planning out how things will be. “You noticed the way he was looking at me, right, like, looking at me?” I hear her say. Sometimes I wonder if she gets it, like Miss Sullivan and Stephen—how they just get it. Most of the time I think so, but then sometimes it seems like we’re on different planets. Like now. “Maybe I should dye my hair blue?”
she concludes, after a monologue that’s lasted almost the entire walk home from school. “What? No, Mara.” “I was just making sure you’re listening.” She smirks. “Sorry, I’m listening,” I lie. We stand at the stop sign at the corner of my street. This is where we part. I go straight. She goes left. Except I can’t force my feet to move in that direction. It’s like I’m in quicksand. She stands there looking at me like maybe she really does get it. Like she knows something is wrong.
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“Wanna come over?” she asks. “My mom won’t be home until later.” I nod my head yes and we start walking toward her street. “Okay, so I won’t dye my hair blue”—she grins—“but I am getting contacts. I already guilted my dad into it. We’re going to the eye doctor next weekend.” “Sweet,” I tell her as I push my own glasses back up over the bridge of my nose. We have no choice but to walk past his house to get to Mara’s. Kevin’s house.
It hardly matters that he’s not there. I can feel my legs weakening the closer we get. I suddenly hate this neighborhood, loathe it, despise the way we’re all so close that we can’t get untangled from each other’s lives. I already see Amanda in the front yard as we approach their house. His sister. She always seemed so much younger than me—I always thought of her as this little kid, but as I’m looking at her right now she doesn’t seem so little.
She’s only one year behind us in school. We used to play together a lot when we were little, before Mara moved here in the sixth grade and took her place as my best friend. Their youngest sister is with her, along with another little kid—probably a neighbor—bundled up in layers, playing in the snow. It looks like they’re trying to assemble a snowman, but it’s really just a big blob of cold white. The Way I Used to Be PDF Book
Amanda stands next to it, winding a scarf around and around the place where the top blob and the middle blob meet, while the two little kids scream and throw snowballs at each other. The kids are oblivious to us, but Amanda sees us coming. She ties the scarf in a final knot and then places her mittened hands in her coat pockets; she stands there watching us. She doesn’t say anything, which is strange.
Even though we weren’t technically friends, not like we used to be, we still talked, still got along at the occasional family get-together. When I don’t say anything either, Mara fills in the blanks: “Hey, Mandy!” Mandy. It’s what we all called her after they first moved here. It didn’t stick. I remember that’s how they introduced her the first time we met.
It was at my eighth birthday party, back when our two families started celebrating everything as one, because Kevin and Caelin were inseparable from the very beginning. Kevin was always included, and his family by extension. But I guess that was a million years ago. I don’t know how much time goes by before I snap out of it. I push open the stall door and walk up to the wall in absolute disbelief. I touch the black, inky, hateful words with my fingers. I hear a voice in the hall. The Way I Used to Be PDF Book
And a locker slams shut. People are getting here. I quickly pull a whole armful of paper towels out of the dispenser and soak them in soap and water. Then I go to the wall and scrub, scrub, scrub against those words, using the strength of my whole body, until I can’t even catch my breath, until I’m crying. I look at the wall. The words still stare back at me. Unchanged. I let the sopping wad of paper towels fall to the floor.
I clench my fists, digging my fingernails into my palms, wanting to punch the wall, wanting to punch anything. Just then these three pretty, popular senior girls push through the door, midconversation. ey assemble in front of the mirror. I turn my back to them as I wipe my eyes dry. en I walk to the sink to wash the wet paper towel crumbs off my hands.
“Beautiful.” Mom chimes in, smiling, even though I’m pretty sure she’s still as freaked out as I am about that slap, which neither of us has mentioned again. He folds his arms around me stiffly, like he doesn’t want to get too close to my breasts. “You just look so grown up. I mean, how long have I been gone, right?” he says with a laugh, pulling away uncomfortably. He looks at me like he wants to say more, but he just walks off, carrying his bags into his bedroom. The Way I Used to Be PDF Book
And now Kevin stands before me, five feet away maybe, staring me down. Giving me the secret look he must’ve been perfecting over the past year. The look that is clearly supposed to deflate me—make me shrivel and wilt and retreat. And even though my legs feel flimsy and boneless, like they might give out at any moment, and my heart is racing and my skin feels like it’s on fire, I don’t flinch, I don’t run, don’t back away this time.
I want to believe that somewhere beneath that knifelike stare he can see just how much I’ve changed, how different I am from that girl he once knew. I don’t move a muscle, not until he walks away first. “Okay, Edy!” My mom claps her hands together twice. “We have to get to work here. Grandma and Grandpa will be here in the morning so there won’t be any time tomorrow. We have to get everything that can possibly be done ahead of time, done ahead of time.”
I follow her into the kitchen, dreading the next eight hours of my life. She’s in her manic, deceptively chipper, but just on the verge of a nervous breakdown mode—there’s something about Grandma and Grandpa coming over that always sets her on edge. I watch as she slips into the laundry room and neatly unfolds the stepladder into an A at the front of the junk closet. I know what’s next. The Way I Used to Be PDF Book Download
She pulls her ancient radio/cassette/CD player out by its handle and sets it on the kitchen counter. “Oh, Mom, do we have to?” I moan. I can’t take it—cooking all day while listening to Christmas music. “Yes, we do. It’ll put us in the spirit!” I get started chopping up insane amounts of celery, onions, and garlic. Next, the butternut squash. Just as I’m in the middle of struggling to cut it into little cubes like Mom wants, the rhythm of her chopping is interrupted.
“Oh my God!” she shouts. I nearly cut the tip of my middle finger off. “What?” “Goddamn it!” she gasps, “Silent Night” playing softly in the background. “I knew I forgot something. The goddamn cream of tartar—I always forget it! The last thing I want to do right now is fight my way through the grocery store the day before Christmas!” “Do we really need it?” “Yes.” She braces herself against the counter and breathes deeply, closing her eyes. “Yes, we do.
Okay, new plan. I’m going to run to the store. You keep chopping. And when you’re done with the squash, put it in the big bowl in the cabinet above the fridge. en, will you do these dishes so they’re not piling up while we’re trying to work?” I stand outside the food court, sure to be early—a peace offering for Mara— proof that I’m not above going to the mall if it truly means that much to her. I sit on the edge of a big concrete planter near the drop-off area and light a cigarette. The Way I Used to Be PDF Book Download
I notice my hand shaking as I bring it to my lips. I feel on edge. Nervous. I’m dreading this entire night. It’s just too wholesome and purposeless. I switch my cigarette to my other hand, but this one shakes so frantically, it slips right through my fingers. I have to jump to my feet so it doesn’t fall into my lap and burn me. Just as I’m brushing the ashes from my coat sleeve, Mara’s voice startles me: “You all right, there?” “Oh!” I gasp. “Hey.
Yeah, I just dropped my—whatever, never mind—hi.” “Hey.” Cameron raises the hand that’s conjoined with Mara’s, black nail polish peeling from his fingernails. “Glad you could come with,” he lies. The streetlight glints off a metal ball inside his mouth as he talks, off the rings curled around his bottom lip and left eyebrow. “Steve’s parking.” As we stand there waiting, Mara grimaces through a smile, as if to tell me to play nice.
Then I see Steve power walking through the parking lot in his sweater-vest—his wallet chain all shiny, dangling from his back pocket, his Converse sneakers too clean. Like he’s dressed for a date. He hasn’t even arrived and already he’s trying too hard. “Hi, Eden!” He waves as he approaches us, smiling so hugely. “Hey.” I try not to sigh too loudly. During the movie Mara and Cameron hold hands. The Way I Used to Be PDF Book Free
She leans her head on his shoulder. He kisses her forehead, then gives me an awkward smile when he catches me staring. I turn to look at Steve next to me. He smiles shyly and focuses intently on the movie screen. There are few things in this world that will make you feel like more of a loser than this. The movie’s in French, with subtitles. I guess Mara forgot to mention that part. After the first five minutes I’ve stopped reading them altogether. At some point I shut my eyes instead.
And right in that space between being asleep and being awake, I hear my own voice, whining: “No, I wanna be the dog—I’m always the dog, Kevin.” And it’s like I’m back there, but not as myself. I’m there as someone else, like a bystander sitting at the table with them, watching her slide into the seat opposite him. It’s like I’m watching it in a movie—looking for signs of what’s going to happen in only a few hours. He reaches his arm across the kitchen table and places the little metal dog in front of her with a smile. “ank you,” the girl sings. She can feel her face turning pink, blushing for him.