We recently published Sabrina Hicks’s evocative “My Drugstore Queen.”
Here, we ask her two questions about her story:
1) This is such a great moment, one of those small freedoms that teenage girls find in places like drugstores. Do you think the narrator will ever experience that kind of freedom again, without Maeve?
The freedom the narrator experiences is so specifically tied to Maeve that I don’t imagine so, or at least not at the same level. For her, Maeve encompasses the drugstore: a world of possibilities, shrink-wrapped and waiting, the make-up still sealed below pictures of models with impossibly long eyelashes, where teenage girls can roam and make-believe. Without Maeve, drugstores will never be the same for the narrator, just like that tube of mascara won’t make her lashes impossibly long. When the seal is broken, so too is the fantasy.
2) That flash forward moment is so heartbreaking but also somehow completely expected. In this moment, before her end, Maeve is so beautiful. Do you think people other than the narrator recognized her beauty? Or did they just use and dismiss it?
The idea of beauty here is fraught with currency. With Maeve, I saw her beauty as something wild and weaponized. Young girls, in their desire to be more beautiful, don’t fully understand the cost of that beauty, how they can become objectified as a result, or that the game of manipulation can backfire, especially in Maeve’s unprotected and vulnerable circumstances. I’d like to believe the narrator was the only one who saw Maeve’s beauty as skin deep, but even she idolized her in a way that dehumanized her to some degree. In the end, she sees her as a saint, as an impossibly beautiful being not made for this world.