She looked at him through her thick glasses. His hair seemed to glow. He turned around with a smile on his lips, her heart leapt. But his laugh surpassed her, landing on the girl behind her. A sock
in the stomach, she asked the teacher to use the restroom. Stumbling out of the classroom, she took a lurching step towards the bathroom. A rush of nausea for perfection overwhelmed her fragile
body, and her fist automatically slipped to the back of her throat just as she reached the toilet. Vomit sprang from her, as she regurgitated her breakfast. Finally when she felt she could return
to that room where the perfect boy sat, she got up off of her shaking knees and stood. Looking at herself in the mirror, she saw a small, scrawny, imperfect thing, with eyes magnified largely
because of her coke-bottle glasses.
She stepped quietly back into the classroom, no one noticing her return. She sat down, hands still shaking. The boy turned around again, and gave the girl behind her a soft smile, hand reached out.
The girl took his hand, and her heart died disintegrating to ash. After class her friend walked up to her, and frowned.
“I saw you go to the bathroom today. You need to stop.” She looked up at her tall, shapely beautiful friend
“Says you.” She mumbled.
“Exactly. One more time and I’m telling the counselor.”
“She knows, but she doesn’t do anything.” She turned her back on her gorgeous friend, looking behind them, to where the perfect boy walked, holding his girlfriends hand, laughing with her. “I
wonder why me sometimes.” Her friend looked at her curiously.
“You wonder what? Why you throw up? Why you think you are fat even though you weigh eighty-five pounds? That one is easy; it’s because you care too much what other people think. You just need to
let loose.” She didn’t say anything to her naïve friend, who still didn’t know her long-standing crush of five years, was the reason why she thought- no, knew- she was not perfect.
A boy nearby bumped into her, sending her coke-bottle glasses flying. Her hands snatched at the air feebly for them, before they landing on the linoleum floor with a resounding smash. She just
stood there, watching the boy who had knocked into her jog off unknowingly to his next class. She couldn’t do much but stare; she was clinically blind without her glasses. People bumped into her,
as her friend cursed the boy, picking up the remaining shards of her glasses.
“What a dick! I mean, he couldn’t even stay to apologize!” Her friend looked up at her, worried. “Can you see very well?”
“I…” she was embarrassed. “I’m technically blind with out them.”
“Jesus. C’mon.” her friend grabbed her elbow, glass in one hand, and led her to the nurse. There was nothing the nurse could do, so she just sat in her office until her mother came to pick her up,
leading her away from the school where her non-existent life lived.
Her mom returned home from the doctors office with two boxes.
“These are your new contacts!” she said, placing a box in to her hands tat she could not see.
“Um, Why not glasses?” She looked up, searching the blurred landscape for her mothers face.
“Well, I thought, you’re in your junior year! You need a new look.” Her mother took her hand, leading her into the bathroom. “Here. I’ll put them in for you.” Her eyes were wrenched open, and two
plastic things a bit like clear sheet protectors slid into place. She looked at the room around her. It was all normal, she could see as well as with her glasses. Looking in the mirror, she was
afraid of what she would find. Instead of a small, scrawny, imperfect thing, with eyes magnified largely because of her coke-bottle glasses, she saw a small, scrawny, imperfect thing without
coke-bottle glasses. Not much of an improvement.
“Hmm…” her mother contemplated thoughtfully. “Maybe you need a makeover?”
“Please, no mom. I don’t need anything.” Her mother’s Italian, dark-skinned and gorgeous side shone out of the woman. Her father’s
pale, red knotted hair Irish side shone out of her.
“Oh, well, I just thoug-“
“I don’t need anything! I’m just going to be a stupid ugly freckled girl who will never get anything forever! I plan on being a
cat lady and owning a yarn shop when I’m older because it’s the best I can damn well hope for! I’m not pretty, or smart like you, mom! I can never be! Not all of us will graduate from Oxford
looking like a super model!”
“Oh.” She ran crying form the bathroom, and out to the garage. She was tired of this life; she had lived it for sixteen years,
only one friend, and only one parent. A mediocre life in a mediocre town. The one thing she had so desperately thrived on for five years was disintegrating before her dull green eyes. She checked
her wallet which was in her pocket. She had the five thousand she had saved up for a car, which she had earned at her various jobs.
She pulled a set of keys off of the key rack and started one of her mom’s BMW’s she wasn’t allowed to drive, and pulled out of the
driveway leaving the house for the first of her weekend excursions. She parked in front of the town’s train station, and scanned the lists of places to go. Washington D.C.
She bought the ticket and boarded the train in track eight. It would leave in ten minutes. Was that enough time for her mother to
find out she had left for three days? Ditching her two jobs and her friend, her homework and her mother’s car, to go out on her own in a huge capitol city? Clearly not, as the train pulled
out of the station. She sat there for the first hour, thinking about what she had done. No clothes, no phone or way of contacting. All she had was her debt card with now 4,912 dollars. She might
not even use one thousand. She would stay in a cheap hotel, and buy clothes from a shop in the city. Or she might stay in the Ritz Carlton and not buy any more clothes. Or she might stay in a suite
at a Holiday in and buy only one other outfit, giving her old clothes to a maid to wash? It was all very different, very indecisive.
The train ride was six hours, and when she got off onto the platform in Alexandria, she decided to go to her third and last
choice. Hailing a taxi, she asked if they took debit. When the answer was yes, she hopped in and asked for the holiday inn and suites that was closest to the city. The man looked at her puzzled,
but then nodded and said “ok-e”, driving off.
“A young teenage girl and a taxi cab driver were pronounced both dead on Friday when the car was pushed off of a high bridge in
the Mixing Bowl” the reporter sat at her neat desk, shuffling papers in her hands. “The girl was not identified, but the police are tracking her home and name by ways of her Debit card she had in
her pocket. The cab driver was known as Samuel Ivan, and had no family that the police could track down.”
Back in Williamsburg, a mother called the police in search of her daughter.
© Copyright 2016 Elinor Roswood. All rights reserved.