Kelly Seiz – Pluck

Pluck

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A fire, a separation, and a new house atop a New York mountain occur in that order over the next four years. Kelly is now seven years old.
The eyelashes have grown back. She’s constantly engaged by the new surrounding forest and there, she plays, instead of hiding beneath tables like a trapped animal chewing its leg off.

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Life is good on the mountain. Kelly hasn’t seen a psychologist in two years and feels comfortable, if not beautiful.

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The divorce is finalized and her mother wins primary custody. Kelly turns ten and they move off of her beloved mountain and down into the village. Soon after, the edges of Kelly’s eyelids grow bare. By now, she’s strategized that if she only plucks gradually, the main body of lashes will be enough to keep her secret hidden.

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Middle school proves horrendous with her pudgy body and creepy eyes. The other children are starting to become opinionated, but remain unstructured enough to ask inappropriate questions and draw insensitive conclusions.

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“Why do you only have some eyelashes?” Kelsey asks in the bathroom, her gaggle of mini-bitches eagerly waiting a response.

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“I’ve always been like this,” Kelly responds flatly.
“But in elementary school you had eyelashes,” she asks undeterred. Their curiosity radiates like heat. Kelly’s cheeks grow hot.

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“I know. I don’t know,” she answers lamely. She stands downcast and silent until one by one, they flock off.

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Anxiety, depression, and obsessive compulsive disorder are commonly diagnosed in trichotillomaniacs. Kelly is diagnosed with all three by a new doctor that she drops in a week. Her mother tells her it’s a waste of money, that only she can stop plucking.

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She swears to herself that she’ll get her eyelashes back. By the end of eighth grade, she does.

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She stars on the modified soccer team. She wins third in the state with her All-Star softball team. The weight floats away and she’s suddenly in the elite.

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Still, she doesn’t look anyone in the eye despite the mascara she painstakingly brushes on her brittle lashes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Kelly Seiz is a freelance writer and journalism student at SUNY New Paltz. She has previously written hard news stories for the Legislative Gazette and this is her first published creative nonfiction piece. She lives in Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. with her family and a bunch of misfits.

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One thought on “Kelly Seiz – Pluck

  1. Pingback: Journalism Student Publishes Creative Nonfiction | College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

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