to be pretty | 2018

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II

HER skin was like velvet as the sweat mattered her hair against her forehead. It looked smooth, and she bet that if she were to ever touch her skin, it would be.

Her stomach was flat, her body perfection portrayed. She had perfect curves, everything just sat right.

Alene watched from afar, her own body hidden by cloth and insecurity. Her jumper was loose fitting, hiding the school shirt she found too tight and a sports bra she’d had for far too long.

Her legs, however, were mostly uncovered, only clad in short sports shorts. Her hair was tied in two plaits, while the other girl’s hair was up in a messy bun that Alene had never been able to perfect.

She could feel jealousy rising in her throat, the envy burning in her chest. Her heart beat was rapid as her eyes stayed fixated on the beautiful girl who stared at herself in the mirror.

Embers hands pushed back the few strands that had fallen from her up-do, attempting to fix her image. Her reflection was fake, in her eyes, a false representation of who she was. It was a façade. She hoped it was a façade.

Otherwise, she knew, she would never be happy.

“Ember, come on” A girl called from the outside of the changeroom, where both girls had hidden - one to read, and one to take a breath from more than just the field.

“Yeah, just a minute” Ember slipped the allocated sport shirt over her head, heading back towards the field.

Alene’s fascination of the girl was almost painful as her words continued to attack once gentle thoughts.

She persuaded herself each day that perfection was not something a person like her was meant for - that mediocrity was her greatest virtue.

Her anxiety bitten nails would clench into her palms in an attempt to silence the harsh musings, but were unsuccessful in their battle.

Mind over matter was her unravelling, her mind beating the matter with false images and cruel taunts.

As the girl stood, looking at herself in the mirror that Ember had stared at not five minutes ago, she wondered what could pass the mind of someone who would be staring at the envy of every woman who saw her.

She couldn’t imagine anyone being jealous of her.

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