0 1. d a m a g e d
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Plain. Boring. Simple. Beige.
The four main words any criticist would plan to spew from their lips once they studied my lifestyle.
By criticists, I meant my ‘fellow’ bullies. But they don’t matter to me; fighting back would scrape off my good old reputation. Or worse, my scholarship.
A day so ordinary and unembellished- such as this one- involves me waking as soon as the sun peeks through the dark clouds known as yesterday.
On a normal day. we’d wear uniforms, but on the others, we’d wear our own clothing.
Whenever I did my hair, I couldn’t help but remember her fingers, and the way she braided my hair- not too tight or loose. For someone who didn’t even have my hair texture, I was always proud to speak about her.
However, her death took an enormous toll on me. No crazy nightmares, sleeping pills, or extreme mental disorders. Just memories and a mild form of PTSD after what was viewed. I missed her so much, but what happened wasn’t my fault. At least, that’s what the therapist managed to drill into my mind.
But, at the back of my mind, the sore prick of guilt taught me there was something more I could’ve done. So since then, I lived the exact lifestyle of my deceased mother. An unadorned, quiet lifestyles without any trouble.
I put my uniform on, piece by piece. From the white shirt to the wine tie and matching blazer. Our grey skirts were close to our kneecaps.
We also put on thigh- high socks and -compulsory- black shoes of any kind. You could only imagine what the popular students looked like.
I was never one to hate or rant about how much I hated my body and face, but that didn’t stop me from feeling insecure whenever I saw them. They didn’t have thighs as big as mine. They didn’t have skin as dark-shaded as mine. They didn’t have hair as wild, thick, curly and unkept as mine. Why didn’t I just look like my mother?
I picked my previously packed bag, laced up my boots, and set off for the corner shop café.
Ever since we -my dad and I- moved to Shropshire, I’d been coming here. Usually, I’d study at school, but something here intrigues me. Not just because of their great breakfasts and drinks, but something which reminds me of my mother’s presence.
Thankfully, they served traditional, herbal teas. This was what probably sparked my current habit of placing letters in a handmade letter box for her and her alone.
Today, I actually had an exam paper to study for.
I began dragging my feet slightly, so as to inhale the scent at its door for longer. It was fresh, like the smell of thick, strong coffee grounds.
However, something interrupted my little moment. From the corner of my eye, I realized it was a boy, with his knees ridden up to his chin level, feet at the edge of the seat, his fingers and hands concentrated on what he seemed to be sketching.
Sketching on an empty sheet.
He looked up before I could say anything, possibly previously acknowledging me.
He looked at me with dark brown, elegant monolids, surrounded with dark eyebags. He looked like he hadn’t slept in days. His hair was scruffy, and an absolute mess on his head, falling down to cover his neck and (part of) his shoulders, also approaching the tip of his pointed nose. His pale skin was crawling with tattoos on his neck -which I didn’t think was allowed since he was in our school uniform.
He gave me a slight glare, as if I’d agitated him.
“I apologize, but I believe you are in my seat.”
He didn’t answer. Instead, he eyed me slowly, before resuming his sketching.
That was just plain rude.
I cleared my throat, proceeding to repeat my statement louder. “I think you are in my sea-”
“There are more seats here than you could count.” I heard him deadpan, not looking up. “No reason to be so proud.”
It somehow upset me how he wasn’t giving me the attention I desired, at this moment. Of course, to him at least, I was being petty. But if he knew about my mother, he would understand me better.
All of a sudden, as if he’d read my mind, he slowly, but surely, arose from his seat. He was hunched over slightly, hands pocketed immediately. His trousers sagged at his waist, I noticed, when he stretched with his arms above his head. Unusually, his trousers also bunched up at his feet.
Other than that, his uniform fitted him perfectly.
He picked his materials and headed for the door, just as heavy British rain began to fall. I watched as his shaggy hair billowed in the wind, setting me with beguile.
I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him, so isolated and alone. With no umbrella either, poor guy was trekking to school under heavy rain. But what was he to me? Definitely not a friend.
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