An Excerpt From
I, Amber Brown
We just sit in Dad's car for awhile.
I, Amber Brown, have to think about what I am going to do, what I'm going to tell my Dad.
I am so angry at my mom right now.
She won't let me get my ears pierced.
She's so mean when my dad is around.
She's not acting like the Mom I've always known.
But if I say all of that to my dad, then he's going to act all proud that he's the best parent . . . and he does stuff too that drives me nuts.
I take a deep breath. "I'm just upset because Brandi called, and she and Kelly are going to the mall to get their ears pierced and I couldn't go??"
My dad interrupts. "Is that because you had to go with me?"
All of a sudden, a light flashes inside my head.
Well, not a light . . . . . an idea . . . . . and I'm not sure that this is a good idea . . . . but I, Amber Brown, am going to go for it. I, Amber Brown, am getting tired of the way that they are both acting. I'm tired of being in the middle?.and I want to do something for ME.
I sniffle and nod.
And then I sniffle again. "That's one of the reasons. But don't feel bad, Daddy, because I can get them pierced some time in the future."
I don't mention that the time in the future, according to my mom, is two years away.
My dad sits for a minute, thinking. "Honey, I don't want you to feel bad because we have plans and you can't do that with your friends."
"It's okay." I say, "even though they are probably on their way to the mall right now, I don't feel bad . . . not that bad anyway."
My dad turns the key in the ignition and says, "Well . . . you don't have to be upset, my wonderful daughter. I will take you to the mall . . . . and you can meet up with your friends and get your ears pierced."
"Oh, Daddy." I pat him on his hand. "Thank you soooooo much. You are so wonderful . . . . the best dad in the entire world."
"As your Aunt Pam says, wagons ho," my dad says, as he pulls the car out of the parking space.
I, Amber Brown, wonder about that.
Aunt Pam is my mom's sister, and now that my parents are divorced, is my dad supposed to be quoting my mom's sister, his ex-sister-in-law?
I, Amber Brown, am also wondering about what I've done. . . . . I haven't actually lied to my dad . . . but I haven't told him the whole truth. . . . . . But I really, really want to get my ears pierced . . . . and he doesn't say no . . . . and I'm his daughter too . . . . so that means that I should be able to get at least one of my ears pierced . . . . and my mom should only get half as mad because with joint custody, they share me and they each think that they own me. . . . . So really I'll have only pierced one ear that she has custody of . . .
"Vrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooooooom," my dad says as we drive.
That's something he used to say when I was little.
He turns his head to me and smiles.
"Vrrrrrrrrooooooooooooooooooom," I say and then sing, "Off we go into the wild blue yonder."
It's part of a song that my dad used to sing to me when I was little . . . . when he used to lift me up over his head and I'd pretend that I was an airplane.
We both sing it together.
It's something that is ours . . . . to remember and to do now.
We finish singing.
My dad asks, "When we get to the mall, where should I park? Where are you all going to get your ears pierced?"
I bite my lip.
I, Amber Brown, never found out where Brandi and Kelly are going.
I close my eyes and try to figure out how to handle this.
Maybe I should tell him the truth now.
If I do, I'll probably be the only fourth-grade girl in the world who doesn't have pierced ears.
If I don't, I'll have pierced ears and one angry mom . . . and probably one angry dad . . . . but in this case, one plus one equals two . . . . two pierced ears.
I, Amber Brown, decide to go for it. "They're getting them done at Jamison's Jewelry Store . . . . but because they didn't think I could go, they may have already gotten them done. . . . If they're not there, do you think I should wait?"
I hope that he says the word that I want to hear.
Instead, as he parks the car, he says, "Amber, are they really getting their ears pierced?"
"I promise," I say and wait for him to ask what Mom thinks.
He doesn't ask.
He nods. "Then you can get yours done. I trust you."
Something tells me that I am going to feel really bad about what I am going to do, but I would feel worse if my ears don't get pierced.
I, Amber Brown, am going to get my ears pierced.
I'm very excited . . . . . and very nervous . . . and not just because my ears are going to get pierced.
(Copyright ? 1999 by Paula Danziger. Published by G. P. Putnam's Sons. All rights reserved)