This is another excerpt from my wip, Platinum Diary. In this scene, Sayra is sitting in her car, feeling bad about the way she looks, about the fact that she's never read one of her mother's novels and about a boy--of course. She's talking to one of her best friends, Penny.
“Do you think I’m weird because I never snuck and read any of my mom’s books? I mean, she wasn’t even your mother and when you were told they were off limits, you went right out and read them.”
“Well, I have a sneaky streak," Penny said. "But I don’t think it’s weird. No weirder than me not really liking my father’s rap music. I mean, I listen to his latest song, pretend I’m all into rap and then go to my room and listen to Colbie Caillat.” She shrugged. “Mechanics interests you, reading romance interests me.”
“My mom was hurt because I never asked to read any of her books.” I couldn’t hide the shame in my voice. Penny stayed quiet as a Taylor Swift song played through the car speakers, filling the silence. “Maybe I should try to be more girly.” I lifted a shoulder, thinking back on my issue with Chaz. “Maybe I should start wearing makeup and stuff like that. Get the dirt from under my nails and soften my hands.”
Penny twisted in the seat to face me. “Okay, so let me tell you what’s not going to happen. We’re not going to have a makeover party straight out of a teen movie, where I do your hair and buy you new clothes and you walk through school like the new hot girl. No. Not gonna happen. And while we’re at it, stop trying to make yourself look shorter. News flash—it ain’t workin’! I know you think you walk around proud of your height, but you don’t. You sit in the back in class just 'cos you think people can’t see around you—so what if they can’t? You never wear heels and whether you know it or not, you don’t stand at your full height.”
Wow, I didn’t know that.
Penny took a breath and continued. “If you want softer hands and less dirt under your nails then wear gloves when you work on cars. You don’t blend at West Nottingham, but neither do I. I’m one of the only black people at that school. I mean, it’s bad enough I’m a black girl named Penelope, but—”
“Yeah, what were your parent’s thinking?” I chuckled.
“Somebody's aunt's aunt had the name, whatever, I’m stuck with it. My point is, I stand out at our school just like you, but you don’t see me trying to make my skin lighter.”
“How would you do that anyway?”
"Can I finish, please?"
I zipped my lips.
"I like most of the people at our school, but I can’t make myself into a clone of Hillary, who, in my opinion, is the epitome of the sunny California girl, just so I could blend in better. I have to be me—brown skin, braids, sexy curves.” She lifted a shoulder with a big smile.
“Yeah, but look at you.”
Penny sighed. “Okay then, let’s take Ivan. He doesn’t lift weights to improve on that birdcage he calls a chest.” She talked over my laughter. “Does he cut off his ja-fro so people will stop talking about his hair? No. He could do things to make himself fit more comfortably into the West Nottingham world, but he doesn’t. He’s a skinny, bushy-haired geek and he’s proud of—”
“You’d better not be talking about me.”
Penny and I screamed as Ivan’s face appeared at the passenger window. He crouched, folding his arms over the car window, and waited patiently while we caught our breaths.