First loves. Last chances. Street Fighter II.
Daisy is a Sylvia Plath reading, Robert Smith devotee, planning on a summer of Australian beaches with or without her two favourite boys. Obsessed gamer and jealous boyfriend Greg needs the prize money from the Scottish Street Fighter II championships to join Daisy in Oz. She wouldn’t really go without him. Would she?
Scottish-born, English-accented Junaid is the couple’s best friend. Haunted by that school dance and terrified of the future, he finds himself falling for his best friend’s girl. When a disastrous event at the video game tournament brings Daisy and J closer together, Greg attempts the ultimate redemption.
Each makes decisions which alter the course of their friendship, and their lives, forever. But do the answers to life’s biggest questions truly lie in kissing Daisy Parker?
DAISY: First, they snap your jaw. Then they shave your bones and bolt metal plates into your face. Your head puffs up to three times its normal size, and the bruises make you look like you’ve boxed twelve rounds with Iron Mike Tyson. It hurts. You scream when the packing comes out of your nose. Oh, and there’s the chance that the snapping, shaving and bolting of surgery won’t work. Psychological support? Zero. Nobody to help you process looking in the mirror at a totally different person. You were on a waiting list for months, in braces for two and a half years, and knew all along that this was coming. But nothing can prepare you. After seventeen years of looking at it in the mirror, the face on that person called “you” is gone.
Would I recommend it?
My profile’s no longer a waning crescent moon, my thin nose has widened, and my bottom teeth finally sit behind the top. My new jawline means no more:
“Daisy’s chin is so big it has its own postcode.”
“When Daisy entered the Big Chin Olympics they said ‘sorry, no professionals’.”
“When Daisy fell and her chin hit the ground, I didn’t laugh, but the pavement cracked up.”
Double jaw surgery for a class three underbite is no fairytale. But it’s better than going through life hearing every “yo momma” joke turned into a “Daisy’s chin” joke. I do look better; pretty, even. I never thought I cared about that stuff. Turns out I do.
Eight months on and my face is still adjusting to its new shape, going through subtle changes week to week. People focus on the aesthetics, but I’m still retraining my jaw muscles. I thought that once my bottom teeth sat behind the top, I’d be able to indulge my sense of taste. Nope. I’ve actually lost a chunk of weight ‘cause I can’t be bothered chewing food. I can crunch into an apple for the first time in my life, but don’t expect me to finish the thing. It’s too much work. Another side effect is a permanent numbness in the lower left part of my face (heightening my ever-so-ladylike habit of sleep-drooling). You wouldn’t notice it though, even now I’ve told you it’s there.
Is it weird?
I suppose so, but my entire head’s a different shape, so everything feels weird. I’ve got used to the numbness the same way I’ve got used to everything else. To eating and drinking and brushing my teeth.
Well, that’s flipped on its head. To be honest, the new Daisy isn’t used to kissing the old Greg, but between you and me, that’s got nothing to do with my jawline.
Thank you, Michael Milton and Love Books Group
About the author
Michael Milton spent the first 25 years of his life pretending to be other people. After switching drama school for university, he travelled the world as an English teacher and returned home to complete his MA in Creative Writing.
His stories have been long and short listed for the Fish Prize, the Bath Short Story Award, the Mogford Prize and the Emerge Impact Creative Writing Prize. Kissing Daisy Parker is his first novel, and yes, he can beat you at Street Fighter.