Do you ever feel like you’re just really bad at being young?

Illustration by Allegra

Illustration by Allegra

It is 12:30 AM and Glory Anderson and I are standing on the corner of my street, waiting for her neighbor Trey to pick us up in his mother’s green station wagon and whisk us away for a night of who-knows-what. My parents are sleeping in their bed seven houses up the road, and even if they wake up in the middle of the night I’m sure they won’t even think twice about the whereabouts of Glory and me, because Glory and I are Good Kids, capital G, capital K, and we’ve never given anyone any reason to believe that we’d sneak out of my bedroom window, run down to the corner, and put our faith Trey McCarthy of all people, better known in our school as “the kid with the purple pants” on account of the fact that he wears this awful pair of purple corduroy pants like every single day.

Oh god. Am I rambling? I’m rambling. I’m just nervous, you know? I’ve never snuck out before, and though I love Glory to death—she’s my best friend—I can’t shake the feeling that her plan is going to end up like the French Revolution: good intentions with terrible executions.

We hear Trey before we see him, all squealing wheels and crappy sound system. He pulls up on the corner at 12:42 and pops open the passenger-side door from his seat. He is wearing his purple pants, of course.

“You’re late,” Glory says.

“Guess we should stop and get a pregnancy test at Walgreens, then,” Trey says. I laugh and Glory shoots me a look.

Glory and Trey have been neighbors since birth. Their mothers are best friends, and Glory’s father stepped in to do dad-type stuff with Trey when his dad split about 10 years ago. They act like they don’t know each other at school, even though they spend every holiday together and took baths together as babies.

“Do you even own another pair of pants?” Glory says as she climbs into the car. As soon as she’s seated she flips down the visor mirror to apply a deep red shade of lipstick.

“Do you have another ride to this party?” says Trey. “Oh, that’s right—you don’t. So shut your face.” He turns to me in the backseat. “Hey, Callie.”

“Hi, Trey.” Trey and I haven’t had a conversation that’s lasted beyond “Hey” since seventh grade, when he accidentally walked in on me changing in Glory’s room after a pool party and accidentally saw me in my training bra. Our relationship is based on mutual mortification.

“This is a really fascinating conversation,” says Glory, “but we need to leave, like now.”

Trey pulls out and speeds up the street, past my house, past my sleeping parents, past the bedroom of a girl who was now officially a liar, a rule-breaker, and, in a way that I’ve never felt before, an actual human being.


The party is at Hayley Martin’s house. Her parents are away for the weekend, and though none of us has ever risen above acquaintance status with her, we’re not worried about getting in, really. Trey gets in to every party because he always has weed, even though he barely smokes it anymore, and Glory was invited in that noncommittal “Are you going to Hayley’s party? You should go” kind of way by Bert, this kid she’s been in love with for at least six weeks. I guess love will make you do crazy things, like socialize.

Trey and Glory fight over the music in the car as I stare out the window picturing the various scenarios that may be playing out at my home: my mother frantically searching my room for ransom notes or signs of foul play; Glory’s mother standing on the steps of my house, putting the pieces together after noticing that her station wagon has gone missing; and the most likely, and somehow most unsettling, scenario: my parents, sound asleep, totally unaware that I’m not where I’m supposed to be.

We park where we’ve been told to: in an old industrial lot three blocks from Hayley’s house. Glory checks her makeup one last time and shakes out her hair. I notice that Trey is watching her, but in a nervous way, the way my mother used to watch me get on the bus for school in the morning: wistful and resigned. I don’t bother checking my makeup because I’m not wearing any. I tried once and ended up with an eye infection from stabbing myself with a mascara wand. Maybe I’ll pick it up again when I stop having nightmares where I’m a rabbit in a cosmetics-testing laboratory. I straighten my shirt and stick my hair behind my ears. That’s about as glamorous as it gets.

Trey lights a cigarette and offers me the pack.

“She doesn’t smoke, dipshit,” says Glory, stealing one for herself and stuffing it in her bag.

“Good for you,” he says.

“Well, thanks for the ride,” she says abruptly. “I guess we’ll meet you back here at five-ish? We all need to get home before our parents wake up.” She starts off down the road, calling my name, telling me to hurry up.

“You’re not going in?” I ask.

“No,” says Trey, “I’m going in. We’re just not supposed to acknowledge each other at these sorts of functions.”

“Callie!” Glory calls. “Come on!” Bert waits for no one, I guess.

“I’ll meet you in there,” I say, and she throws up her hands dramatically and stomps toward Hayley’s house, toward Bert’s arms, toward her destiny, toward an entire bottle of cologne, if the stench that trails Bert down the hallways follows him off school property as well.

“I didn’t think you were a party person,” says Trey. He drops his cigarette in the street and smears it across the concrete with his sneaker.

“I’m not, really.” I don’t mention that I’m also not a sneaking-out-of-the-house person, and that I’m currently considering vomiting in the bushes in order to get the image of my parents calling 911 out of my mind.

“These things are always the same, just so you know,” he warns. “Someone pukes, someone makes out, someone cries, and then on Monday morning everyone makes it seem way more fun than it actually was to make the other kids feel bad about not being there. Same dumb shit every time.” He sounds tired, and I can’t tell if it’s a lack of sleep or an overload of living that’s worn him down.

“We’re only here for Bert,” I say, because I can’t think of anything else to say.

“That guy,” says Trey, lighting another cigarette. “He smells like a walking Hollister store.”

“That got attacked by an Abercrombie and six cans of Axe,” I add.

Trey laughs and coughs at the same time. “I have to quit smoking,” he says.

“My dad quit by using that gum,” I tell him. My dad, I think. My poor dad! He’s probably searching the backyard with a flashlight right this minute, screaming my name. My feet are walking toward Hayley’s house but my mind is back at my own.

We arrive at the front door and are greeted by Mal Peters, who yells, “Yo, Purple Pants!” and ushers us through. I see Glory in the corner, holding a red plastic cup and having what looks to be an intense conversation with Bert. I can smell Bert from 50 feet away. I have no idea how Glory can stand that close to him without her eyes melting out of her head, but maybe love gives you magical powers. I wouldn’t know.

Hayley semi-recognizes me and asks Trey if he has any weed, which he does, “free for the hostess.” She kisses him on the cheek and he looks down at his shoes. She looks at me and grins. “Your boyfriend always delivers,” she says a little too loudly, half-drunk on vodka, half-drunk on popularity.

“He’s not my boyfriend,” I say, but she’s gone, down the hall, in the bathroom with a select few and a pack of rolling papers.


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  • soviet_kitsch April 5th, 2013 3:11 PM

    “Like you were born an 85-year-old woman and you’re just waiting for everyone else to catch up? ”


    • love_soup April 5th, 2013 6:48 PM

      1st- ikr ikr ikr ikr
      2nd- i love regina spektor

    • diniada13 April 7th, 2013 7:35 AM

      and I never thought I’d meet Regina Spektor fans on Rookie. She needs more recognition here.

      • Ella W April 8th, 2013 6:36 PM

        Have just googled/youtubed Regina Spektor. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for helping me find her. She is amazing, and I am already in love with her music.

  • finnfloats April 5th, 2013 3:19 PM

    “…we, uh, declare our love at a reasonable hour in this family.

    This is brilliant! Pixie, you are wonderful. <3

  • RhiaSnape April 5th, 2013 4:19 PM

    So good! Trey is the kind of character that I tend to fall in love with a bit haha.

    • Lacenailsmermaidtails April 8th, 2013 5:43 PM

      I know. I would love to meet a ‘Trey’ and be with him.<3

  • Erykaneisha April 5th, 2013 4:20 PM

    I was feeling guilty that I didn’t go to school and got REALLY worried about the stuff I was going to miss, blah blah… but then I read this and I feel way better, haha. I slept through all 6 of my alarms accidentally!

  • Annie at Cher Ami April 5th, 2013 4:22 PM

    This is so rad Pixie! You like, read my mind about the worrying thing, I’m always like that! <3

  • Julliettes Blog April 5th, 2013 4:29 PM

    This was really funny, but also really dramatic and AMAZING!

  • serena05 April 5th, 2013 4:32 PM

    “Do you ever feel like you’re just really bad at being young? Like you were born an 85-year-old woman and you’re just waiting for everyone else to catch up?”

    This is possibly the most accurate thing to ever describe me.

  • stripesrock139 April 5th, 2013 4:39 PM

    This was beautiful (:

  • Wren April 5th, 2013 4:46 PM

    awww this is great ! <3

  • sugarmilz April 5th, 2013 5:35 PM

    I actually love this! Describes me so much!

  • Eryn April 5th, 2013 5:52 PM

    THIS IS SO GREAT. I definitely feel as though I’m not good at being young. Yes, I love this!

  • MoniMonster April 5th, 2013 6:04 PM

    This is basically how I felt during my WHOLE teens and some of my early twenties. Now I’m almost 30 (whoa) and I have to admit, since I’ve been about 22 I’ve been growing younger and younger instead of older in my head. Don’t worry if you feel all too mature and ‘reasonable’ now… you’ll probably have the fun later on- and if you experience it in a similar way that I get to- I feel like Im more aware of what a privilege it is, and how I’m kind of allowing myself to be a bit crazy and less reasonable… it is so much fun and because I have a ‘bit’ more life experience I can channel the letting go and enjoy it even more. So dont be scared, don’t feel like you’re missing out… you will get there. It will be awesome. I promise!

    • sepiawriter April 6th, 2013 12:11 AM

      This actually does make me worry less about missing out.
      Because honestly right now I’m a teenage grandma and that freaks me out a bit.

      • MoniMonster April 6th, 2013 4:02 AM

        I have self-portraits I drew when I was 14-17, and I always looked like a 45-year old high school teacher for history or maybe religious education. I was super precocious, did REALLY well in school and at the same time had almost no friends because I had social anxiety. Part of that I can now ‘blame’ on my parents, (they are both Latin teachers at the high school I went to)… they just raised me in a way that didn’t match the outside world. Moving away for Uni and starting fresh in a new, creative environment helped lots. Now, I still do well but I am also able to feel the connections to the fun stuff out there ;). I learned to let go of the 45 year old inside of me, because I WILL GET THERE SOON ENOUGH!! (aaaah scary) . And it’s not always important to do the absolutely perfect right thing, sometimes the thing right for the moment you’re in NOW turns out waaay more fun. Whilst still being somewhat reasonable :P. And as a teeanger / young person growing up I think one is allowed a certain amount of selfishness that might come with throwing some of the old-lady ways overboard. Otherwise, how can you be grown-up at some point if you don’t actually do any of the growing? It’s all a process and if you allow yourself to just let go sometimes… as I said above. awesomeness awaits. Eyes open. fun.

  • unicornconnect April 5th, 2013 6:09 PM

    I totally totally totally SUCK at being a teenager. I’m like, hey isn’t life supposed like 16 candles?
    Apparently not.
    Excellent story!!!!!

  • sophiethewitch April 5th, 2013 6:12 PM

    “Our relationship is based on mutual mortification.”

    I love this so much.

  • Melissa @ WildFlowerChild April 5th, 2013 6:18 PM

    Stop it! this is amazing!! My college years aren’t even this fun.

    <3 Melissa

  • Maggie April 5th, 2013 7:03 PM

    I’m only here for Bert. JK I’m here for everything, because this story ruled.

  • Kaetlebugg April 5th, 2013 9:27 PM

    a) I love this but b) I wish every non-party-girl could be, like, rewarded with a Trey . . . so to speak.

  • Kaetlebugg April 5th, 2013 9:28 PM

    not that I’m judging people for partying, but in this story it kind of seems like the narrator’s reward or consolation prize or her own version of a happy ending is Trey and I have to say how nice would that be if that was how it worked in real life!

  • Codi Skeet April 5th, 2013 11:19 PM

    adored it. <3 Codi

  • Clairebearscare April 5th, 2013 11:42 PM

    I didn’t want this to end.

  • sepiawriter April 6th, 2013 12:12 AM

    “Do you ever feel like you’re just really bad at being young? Like you were born an 85-year-old woman and you’re just waiting for everyone else to catch up? This is my life.”

    This is also my life.

    I read this just in time, and I loved seeing people in the comments saying they feel like that. Yay for not being alone!

  • Humkat1 April 6th, 2013 7:24 AM

    Thank you so much for this. It left me smiling with the knowledge that it’s not just me like that!

  • NotReallyChristian April 6th, 2013 12:25 PM

    To be continued, right? RIGHT??

    • Maggie April 6th, 2013 1:53 PM


    • Audrey Pfister April 7th, 2013 7:54 AM

      I hope so!!!!

  • Shanti April 7th, 2013 5:39 AM

    asdfghjkl;fnajofiuaswygtdeqihjopuewryuiwbhrn this is REALLY REALLY GREAT pixie you are great I love you this NEEDS TO CONTINUE I am already so in love with all of the characters omg

  • llamalina April 7th, 2013 2:11 PM

    god, this was perfect.

    “Worst party ever,” she groans. She is sober enough to make her way down the sidewalk with minimal help from me and Trey, and together we get her into the house, up the stairs, and into my bedroom, where she gives us both a hug and tells us we’re her “OK best people,” whatever that means.

    i loved this part, i feel like i’ve lived it a thousand times. i love the characters, i love the story, i love this.

  • eireann April 7th, 2013 5:48 PM

    “Do you ever feel like you’re just really bad at being young? Like you were born an 85-year-old woman and you’re just waiting for everyone else to catch up? This is my life.”

    True. <3 Adore this story!

  • Lacenailsmermaidtails April 8th, 2013 5:41 PM

    I am really bad at being young. I’m glad someone understands and feels the same way.

  • Ella W April 8th, 2013 6:23 PM

    This is one of my favourite short stories on Rookie! Callie is literally me, except I have never snuck out for a party.

    Plus Allegra, that is a super good drawing you’ve got going on there!

  • Jolala April 9th, 2013 2:55 PM

    So. Effing. Tute.

  • amy dee April 12th, 2013 9:11 PM

    I just found out about this website today and decided why not make an account, ya know? YOLO. This is the first story I read and it is spectacular! I loved every bit of it, and wanted to read more!! I am definetly looking forward to read much much more!
    I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but…


  • meels April 16th, 2013 9:20 AM

    please follow up this story!!!!

  • Ezgi Celebi April 22nd, 2013 12:52 PM

    why Pixie? wHY.. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT. This is beautiful :’c

  • Ginny Mannox April 29th, 2013 7:49 AM

    All the people in my school drink and party, except me.
    I hate these feeling that I get when I’m on a party.
    And I can’t understand why they like these things.
    But this story is so romantic and I hope there is a “Trey” on my next party.
    And because of reading this wonderful story, I was too late for school.

  • lililavender June 17th, 2013 10:20 PM

    this story is perfection. Lovely, to know that there are so many of us 85-year-old teenagers out there!

  • wpaigej June 22nd, 2013 2:53 PM

    this is cute and funny. totes feel the 85-yr-old mindset.
    “I really like you, Lindsay.” That reminded me of Nick from Freaks and Geeks.

  • Elimy July 9th, 2013 10:00 PM

    This is amazing!!!

  • Posseh July 18th, 2013 10:59 AM

    “Cremation, not burial,” I tell Trey. “Don’t let anyone read any poetry at my funeral.” this part made me laugh sooo hard