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Robin Friedman : author and journalist



Eighty-Eight Days Before




My life is puke.


I’m staring at a bunch of puke that used to be one chocolate French silk pie, one blueberry muffin, and two peanut butter cookies, all from Perkins.


My sister, Danielle, bangs on the bathroom door. One fourteen-year-old sister, one seventeen-year-old brother, and one “cooperatively-shared” bathroom.

“I’m almost done,” I call out as casually as possible.

Danielle, grumbling, goes away.

I have to flush twice to get rid of all the puke.

I carefully check my reflection in the mirror. My eyes are red and watery. I meticulously wash my hands and face in the sink, brush and floss my teeth twice, and gargle four times with extra-strength-cinnamon-flavored mouthwash. Then I shove three wintergreen breath mints into my mouth. My pockets hold the world’s record of wintergreen breath mints.

My sister, still grumbling, comes back.

“You’re worse than a girl. It’s time to come out and face your public now.”

I check my reflection again. The eyes are blue-green; the hair’s the color of “orange blossom honey,” says Mom, “like they make in Vermont.”

It fits the name Mom and Dad gave me—except for the dead giveaway of Rabinowitz being my last name.

I open the bathroom door.

“At last,” Danielle sighs. “Time to make the hearts break!”

I ignore this comment, shoot past her, duck into my room, and sweep my car keys off my desk.

It happened today because I hardly ate anything.

I tried, but I just couldn’t resist.

When I saw the Perkins, I jammed on my brakes so hard the UPS truck behind me nearly ended up in my backseat.

I hated myself for it.

But everything’s okay now.

I undid the damage.

I flushed it all away.




My big brother’s
a breaker-of-hearts.
It’s his talent
and hobby.
Ask any girl
at Livingstone High School.

Sometimes I wonder,
if that’s it
or if it’s
something else

I also wonder if
the reason people
like me
is because it’s
the quickest way
to get to him.